Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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oil tanning

A "tannage" which involves the incorporation of fish or marine mammal oils into inner splits or frizzed-grain skins, usually wooled sheepskins. The tanning agent is generally raw cod liver oil, which, subsequent to being incorporated into the skin, is induced to undergo oxidation and other chemical changes while in contact with the fibers, leading to a chemical combination of oil derivatives with the fibers. The liberation of heat accompanies and speeds up these chemical reactions; however, there is the danger of the oiled skins being heated to the point where they may smoulder or even burn. Cod liver oil is not readily taken up by the skins; therefore, for the success of this process, it is essential to bring the oil into the closest possible contact with the fibers; this is accomplished by vigorous mechanical action. Oil tanning is used principally in the manufacture of chamois leather. At one time it was referred to as "chamoising." (248 , 291 ,306 , 363 )

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