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Subject: Odor in cow hide

Odor in cow hide

From: Susan Lunas <bookbinder>
Date: Monday, April 15, 2002
On behalf of a private owner, Sue Valis <suev [at] austmus__gov__au> writes

>    I have recently purchased an African drum with a cow hide
>    playing surface. It appears that every time there is higher
>    humidity, the drum develops a particularly nasty odour.
>    I have gone back to the place of purchase, only to be advised
>    that I should rub some salt into the skin. Can anyone offer an
>    explanation for the smell and a way of getting rid of it.

I checked with a business up in Portland, African Rhythm Traders,
that sells, almost exclusively, drums made in Africa.  They replied

   "All I know is the skins we sell from Africa are simply dried in
    the sun, without chemicals or anything else.  They smell a bit
    while they are soaking in water, but once they're mounted, it is
    nothing that you notice."

Don't know how these folks get their information, as it contrasts
with the information given before, that the hides are/were prepared
in cow dung/urine.

What about having the skin analyzed to determine the source of the
odor?  Might there be some simple tests that would identify the
odor? Just a thought,

Susan Lunas
Proprietor: Many Moons Book Conservation
    Book Conservation and Bookbinding by Hand
Editor: Binders' Guild Newsletter
2925 Powell Street
Eugene, Oregon

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:70
                  Distributed: Tuesday, April 16, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-70-004
Received on Monday, 15 April, 2002

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