Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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A kidney-shaped section occurring in the butt area of an equine animal hide which contains the dense mass of fibers known as the glassy layer. The collagen fibers of this area are so dense (perhaps the most dense of any leather) that the leather made from it is nearly air-tight and weatherproof. It is isolated by removing the skin layer above and below it. The remaining part, the shell, is frequently split, both splits being finished on the cut surfaces. Although the butt area of the hide is extreme in its tightness and solidity of structure for a large hide, the remainder of the hide is extremely loose. The shell is used in producing CORDOVAN LEATHER . (363 )

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