Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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smoke tanning

A method of tannage used in combination with an oil tannage, whereby the fat-saturated skins are subjected to the smoke of wood fires. The smoke from the charring wood contains aldehydes, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde, which have tanning properties. The heat also assists in the oxidation of the oil, promoting further aldehyde and polymer production. Some volatile tarry substances also often become included in the skin. Smoke tanning, simply because it involves aldehyde formation from the partial oxidation of woody materials, can be used to tan hides and skins without the need to use fats. Although a minor tannage method, it is still being used in North and South America, as well as in China. (291 )

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