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Basic Information

Leatherworker is a very general term, that might refer to a number of different professions. Here's a list of variants common to the Middle Ages:

Leather and Wood were the backbones of most of the technology of the ancient world.

Prior to the 19th Century, there were only a few ways leather could be prepared.

  • The most common was vegetable-tanned leather], which is supple and brown, and easy to decorate, but does not hold up well in water. It discolors, and can sometimes shrink. Frequent oiling helps protect it from water. It is chemically treated with tannin extracts (from oak most commonly, but sometimes from calluna or other plants).
  • Boiled Leather was used in most leather armour, and in some book binding. The boiling process makes the leather much harder, but also less flexible and a little brittle. If also boiled in wax after being boiled in water, it will result in stronger leather.
  • Other methods are available, such as brained leather and rawhide, but vegetable-tanning and boiling are probably what you'll encounter the most in the Middle Ages since it results in the most durable leathers.

See also:



Game and Story Use

  • In a fantasy setting, you may also have specialists in particular types of exotic leather, like dragon scale, medusa hide, or shagreen.
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