Volume 26 - Autumn 2008


Product & Company News

Alum Tawed Pigs

We delighted to announce that after a break of nearly 7 years we have found a new source of pigskins suitable for the production of Alum Tawed leather. Our first batch has been finished and skins may now be ordered from us.

Alum Tawed Leathers are produced entirely in our tannery by a method combining the best of old traditions and modern machinery.

The skins used are "wet-salted" stock which means the skin from the animal is fresh but preserved with salt until required. The processes that follow are carried out in a revolving wooden drum which can have the liquors changed without removing the skins until the processing is finished.

The first stage is to wash out the salt, then the skins are limed to remove the hair and grease, this part of the process also swells the fibres and has the effect of separating them. When this process is completed, the skins are partially neutralised and subjected to an enzyme process which removes some of the unwanted proteins between the fibres.

The next stage is to acidify the skin in the presence of a large quantity of salt that prevents any acid damage. When equilibrium is reached this acid pickle is drained away and replaced with a mixture of salt, potash Alum and oil which is drummed into the skins for two days, after which they are removed and piled to drain. The skins are then hung to dry and piled to age for at least three weeks.

The finishing processes start by damping the skins again and straining them on frames to dry so that the product is now flat, the thickness is levelled off by fluffing the flesh side on an emery wheel and finally the skins are back boarded to soften them.

The natural white colour can be tinted if required to simulate the creaminess produced by age and the effect of handling.

Hewit's Alum Tawed Leathers are sold throughout the world and were used in the rebinding of the Domesday Book.

Approximate prices based on average skin sizes for white or cream skins:
Grade I - £234.00 per skin
Grade II - £186.00 per skin

(Prices are subject to shipping and VAT charges where applicable)

The Alum Tawed Pig may be ordered and purchased from our online shop.

Kaskad Paper

We are pleased to advise that we have added two new shades in our Kaskad range plain papers, increasing the selection to 12 colours.

Bunting Yellow
Leafbird Green


Singles - £0.83/sheet
25 to 99 sheets £0.50/sheet
100 to 499 sheets - £0.44/sheet
500 to 999 sheets £0.39/sheet
500+ sheets £0.33/sheet

These plus our plain papers may be ordered online and purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping and VAT charges where applicable)

*** Health Warning ***

Asbestos Finishing Tool Handles

The following message was received from one of our customers, a major institutional library.

"Do you remember that I contacted you earlier in the year about my suspicions of having asbestos handles in our collection? It turned out that they were confirmed and we have recently gone through the fairly expensive (£3,000) process of having 300 of them removed and all of our collection decontaminated. The asbestos involved is Chrysotile and fairly serious stuff to have around if it deteriorates. I thought you might like to put a warning to other binders in Skin Deep. There must be 1000s more out there."

If you suspect that you have Asbestos Tool handles, you should seek professional advice regarding their safe removal.

Further information on Chrysotile, may be found here

10 new designs to our range of JHS Papers

We are delighted to announce that we have added 10 designs to our very popular range of JHS Marble Papers, bringing the total number of designs to 45.


Singles - £2.16/sheet
25 to 49 sheets - £1.96/sheet
50 to 99 sheets £1.81/sheet
100 to 499 sheets - £1.67/sheet
500+ sheets £1.52/sheet

These plus our other marble papers may be ordered and purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping and VAT charges where applicable)

New Bone Folder

By popular request we bring you a new shaped bone folder. This handy 5" long-pointed folder is very useful for getting to those places other folders can't reach.

Only £1.51


The long-pointed bone folder other tools may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping and VAT charges where applicable)




New Budget Spokeshave

We are pleased to offer this low cost, inexpensive cast iron flat-bottomed spokeshave, with blade. This spoke shave has a wider throat than the Stanley 151, and will therefore require little modification.


Only £10.80

The spokeshave and other tools may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping and VAT charges where applicable)


Skin Deep - Volume 26 - Autumn 2008

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