When the leather is finished in the tanneries it is at the same time provided with the necessary greasy particles to give it the required pliancy and prevent it from cracking. It is claimed that some tanners strive to obtain a greater weight thereby, thus increasing their profit, since a pound of fat is only one-eighth as dear as a pound of leather.

If such leather, so called kips, which are much used for carriage covers and knee caps, is to be prepared for painting purposes, it is above all necessary to close up the pores of the leather, so that the said fat particles cannot strike through. They would combine with the applied paint and prevent the latter from drying, as the grease consists mainly of fish oil. For this reason an elastic spirit leather varnish is employed, which protects the succeeding paint coat sufficiently from the fat.

For further treatment take a good coach varnish to which J of stand oil (linseed oil which has thickened by standing) has been added and allow the mixture to stand for a few days. With this varnish grind the desired colors, thinning them only with turpentine oil. Put on 2 coats. In this manner the most delicate colors may be applied to the leather, only it is needful to put on pale and delicate shades several times. In some countries the legs or tops of boots are painted yellow, red, green, or blue in this manner. Inferior leather, such as sheepskin and goat leather, which is treated with alum by the tanner, may likewise be provided with color in the manner stated. Subsequently it can be painted, gilded, or bronzed.

Stains for Oak Leather


Apply an intimate mixture of 4 ounces of umber (burnt or raw); 1/2 ounce of lampblack, and 17 fluidounces ox gall.


The moistened leather is primed with a solution of 1 part, by weight, of copper acetate in 50 parts of water, slicked out and then painted with solution of yellow prussiate potash in feebly acid water.