The use of russet and brown leather for reins necessitates the employment of stains of various shades in the workshop, in order that the reins or other straps may be of a uniform colour after being worked. In most cases rein leather is stained by the currier, but when worked the freshly-cut edges need to be stained to correspond with the grain. The stains used are generally made of Spanish saffron and annatto, or of saffron alone, made up in various ways, the most common and reliable being the following: -

(1) Boil a given amount of saffron in water until the colour is extracted; cut a quantity of annatto in urine and mix the two together, the proportions of each determining the shade. The more annatto used, the darker is the colour.

(2) Another manner of preparing this stain is to boil 1/2 oz. Spanish saffron and 1/4 oz. annatto in water until the dye is extracted, to which must be added some alcohol to set the colour.

(3) To make a stain of saffron alone, boil a quantity in water until the dye is extracted; strain off, and when cold add alcohol in order to set the colour. The shade may be changed by adding oxalic acid in varying quantities, according to the colour required. The proportion cannot be given with any degree of accuracy, as the colour is a matter of taste, and can be regulated by using greater or less proportions of each article.

(4) Another saffron stain is made by boiling saffron in a small quantity of water until the colour is extracted, and reducing with urine.

In using any of these stains apply them with a cloth, and when nearly dry rub with a woollen rag slightly waxed.

(5) A yellow stain is produced by boiling fustic berries in alum water; the shade may be darkened by the addition of a small quantity of powdered Brazil-wood boiled with the berries.

(6) Another yellowish-red stain is made of Brazil-wood and yellow berries in proportion to suit, boiling them in water until the colouring matter is extracted. This can be applied to sides that have not been stained, when intended for flat reins, halters, etc, in the following manner: -

Lay the leather upon a table, and rub the flesh side with a warm stretching iron; turn it over and moisten the grain side with water, and rub with a copper stretching-iron until the leather is nearly dry; then apply the colouring matter to the grain, and rub with a copper slicker. When the leather is perfectly dry, rub the grain with a glass slicker. An edge stain is made by adding a small quantity of alum to the above-mentioned ingredients.

(7) A brown stain is made by boiling equal parts of pine and alder barks in 6 times their bulk of water until all the colouring matter is extracted, and when cold adding a small quantity of alcohol. Saffron boiled for 12 or 15 hours gives a good brown stain, to which alcohol must be added to make it set.

(8) Picric acid and water, in proportions of 1 to 10, heated to a blood heat, make a good yellow stain. Weld boiled in water also makes a yellow stain. An orange-yellow is produced by boiling fustic berries in alum water. This stain may be converted into a rich brown by washing the leather to which it has been applied, before the stain is fairly dry, with an alkali.

(9) A red stain is produced by boiling Brazil-wood in lye. If mixed with weld it produces a brownish yellow, well adapted for use on halters and bridles.

(10) An edge stain for russet leather is made by cutting 11 oz. annatto in 2 qt. urine, allowing it to stand for 24 hours, then adding 3 qt. water, and boiling until reduced to one-half the original quantity.

All stains appear to better advantage, and are rendered more durable, by being covered with a shellac varnish, which should be applied after the reins are all dry, and then finished up. The shellac should be applied with a sponge.

(11) A bright orange stain is made by mixing yellow aniline with alum water.

(12) 1 oz. oxalic acid, 1 oz. spirits of salts, 1 scr. bruised cochineal, and 1 pint boiling water, make a good brown stain.

(13) Another red stain is made by dissolving 1 oz. cochineal in 1/2 pint hot water, and adding 1 gill spirits of hartshorn.

(14) A bright crimson stain is alum or tin salts and a decoction of cochineal.

(15) For sole leather, 185 dr. Paris yellow, 37 dr. chrome yellow, 312 dr. pipeclay, 250 dr. alum, 250 dr. quercitron, 185 dr. sulphuric acid, 1 3/4 pints tragacanth solution, boiled together with 7 pints water, and the mixture, when cold, suitably applied.

(16) Brown. 17.5 oz. dried and powdered nut-shells are boiled for 1 hour in 52.5 oz. milk of lime, and strained through a cloth. This decoction is applied frequently to the leather. 4.2 oz. ground logwood, 4.2 oz. annatto are boiled in 17.5 oz. rain-water, and a solution of 0.52 oz. carbonate of potash in 2.62 oz. vinegar is added to the above decoction.

(17) A brown stain is also obtained by rubbing together upon a marble slab, 4.2 oz. umber, 0.52 oz. finest lampblack, in oil, with 17.5 oz. ox-gall.

(18) Yellow. 0.52 oz. saffron, cut in small pieces, are digested in 2.1 oz. alcohol 80 per cent, strong, for several days at a moderate heat. The solution is filtered, and applied directly to the leather.

(19) Yellow. 17.5 oz. ground yellow wood or 17.5 oz. birch leaves are boiled for 1 hour in 2*2 lb. vinegar, and the fluid is strained. The articles to be stained are first covered with a solution of 1.05 oz. carbonate of potash, with a sponge to the leather, which has first been stretched, and when this has become dry, apply the colouring liquor also with a sponge.

(20) Bright Yellow. 1.05 oz. finely-powdered turmeric and 0.52 oz. gamboge are digested at a gentle heat for a few days in 26.25 oz. alcohol 80 per cent, strong, and the fluid is then filtered. The process is the same as (19), either with or without alum or carbonate of potash.

(21) 17.5 oz. barberries are boiled in 2.2 lb. water, and the decoction is filtered. In this case also a solution of alum or carbonate of potash in water is used before applying the decoction to the article.

(22) Yellow. 17.5 oz. wold are boiled in 3.3 lb. water for 1 hour, and used in the same manner as (21).

(23) Green. 1.57 oz. verdigris and 0.52 oz. sal-ammoniac are dissolved in 8.75 oz. wine vinegar. If a small quantity of saffron extract is added to this, a yellowish-green colour, the so-called parrot-green, is obtained.

(24) Green. If leather is first coated with a solution of Berlin blue, and then with a yellow stain, a beautiful durable green will be obtained.

(25) Violet. 17.5 oz. Brazil-wood are boiled for 1 hour in 0.44 oz. water, and the decoction is then filtered. Another solution of 4.2 oz. copperas in 8.75 oz. water is prepared, and this is mixed with the decoction of Brazil-wood, Violet stains are also obtained by mixing red and blue stains together.

(26) Red. 8.75 oz. shavings of red Brazil-wood are placed in a bottle, 2*2 lb. wine vinegar is poured over them, and they are digested for 8 days, and stirred frequently in the meanwhile. The solution is then filtered through a cloth. Meantime a solution of 1.05 oz. alum free from iron, in 8.75 oz. water, is prepared, and the above preparation of Brazil-wood is added to this under constant stirring. A very beautiful red is obtained in this manner. The shavings of Brazil-wood may also be boiled in rain-water, and this be compounded with a solution of bitartrate of potash.

(27) Cochineal. 1.05 oz. of the finest cochineal is powdered and digested in 17.5 oz. alcohol 80 per cent, strong, until it is dissolved; the solution is then filtered. More or less cochineal is taken according as the colour is required to be darker or lighter.

(28) Scarlet. 1.05 oz. scarlet berries are bruised, and dissolved in 4.2 oz. alcohol, 80 per cent, strong, and the solution is filtered.

(29) Purple. 8.75 oz. Brazil-wood shavings, or 2.1 oz. scarlet berries, are boiled in 2.2 lb. water in an earthen pot or in a bright copper boiler. The decoction is filtered and compounded with a sufficient quantity of fluid chloride of zinc to obtain either a lighter or a darker colour.

(30) Crimson. A solution of 0.14 oz. cochineal, 0.14 oz. cream of tartar, 0.42 oz. solution of zinc, is prepared. The mixture is thoroughly shaken, and the contents of the bottle are exposed to heat for 24 hours. Spirit of sal-ammoniac is then added in drops until the desired colour is obtained.

(31) A rich permanent brown can be imparted to rein-leather by treating the hides, after they are tanned, to a bath in a liquor made from equal parts of pine and alder bark. The hides are spread in a vat, with liquor enough to cover them, where they are allowed to remain one week; they are then removed, and fresh liquor is applied. By repeating this treatment 3 or 4 times a very rich brown can be produced. Orange-brown is produced by scraping the flesh side after the hides have been removed from the vats for the last time, and sprinkling them on the scraped side with pulverized alum. As soon as each one is sprinkled with the alum, it is laid in another vat, one upon the other, and allowed to remain 24 hours; they are then moistened with the alum liquor in the bottom of the vat, and laid upon the beam and well worked, after which they are rubbed with salt and alum, and rolled up and allowed to remain undisturbed for 24 hours. This salting is repeated 3 times, after which the hides are stretched lengthwise and dried; they are then boarded and worked soft, and treated to a coat of hog's lard and train-oil on the flesh side; in about 2 days they are again boarded, and worked off with a glass slicker.

This leather has a fine grain, and retains its softness for a long time.