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fish-skin-tan-msg - 12/15/14


Info on Icelandic fish skin tanning.


NOTE: See also the files: lea-tanning-msg, lea-bladders-msg, Iceland-msg, fd-Iceland-msg, fish-msg, stockfish-msg, fishing-msg, eels-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Nanna_Rognvaldardottir <nannar at ISHOLF.IS>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 13th Century Icelandic Fish Skin Tanning Techniques

Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 02:12:44 -0000


Drakey asked:

> Does anyone have any info on 13th Century Icelandic Fish Skin Tanning

> Techniques?


I might be able to find something but not tonight, as I'm working 15-hour

days at present. Are you just interested in shark skin, or any fish skin?


The shark would have been Greenland shark. The thick skin was used for shoes

but I'm not sure about other uses. Ropes, maybe. It wouldn't slip since it

is so rough - like "h=E1karlsskr=E1pur" (sharkskin) we still say when we want to

describe something that has a really rough and scratchy surface.


The skin of some other types of fish, especially ocean catfish, was used too

for shoes but only when nothing better was available, as these shoes didn't

last long on the rocky Icelandic roads - mountain trails were even measured

or graded by how many pairs of fish skin shoes you were likely to wear out

by walking them. "Sex ro=F0skoa lei=F0" meant you needed at least six pairs of

fish skin shoes if you are going that way and back again, as you were likely

to wear out five pairs. You can see a drawing of such shoes, worn with leg

wrappings of skate skin, here:





Tanned fish skins are currently being made in my old hometown in the north

of Iceland but they are certainly not using traditional methods there. I’ll

try to see if I can find anything. I know how ocean catfish skin was treated

in the 19th century, however. No actual tanning was involved - you tore the

skin off dried fish, ate the fish and soaked the skin until pliable. Then it

was cut and made into shoes. And when the shoes were worn out, you could

wash them, boil them and eat them. I'm not making this up.


Ocean catfish skin was also used for wrapping butter and such.





Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011 23:32:09 +1000

From: Raymond Wickham <insidious565 at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Fish skins and drums

To: <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


An instructive video on stretching fish skins onto ceramic doumbek bases.











Date: Sat, 10 Sep 2011 14:16:49 +1000

From: "Roy Worrall" <royworrall1953 at optusnet.com.au>

Subject: [Lochac] Tanned fish skins

To: <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


It just so happens I have some examples of tanned barramundi skins in my collection. They are dyed the same as cow leather - in whatever colour you wish!


They are fairly hardy, though I wouldn't make shoe soles out of them (no pun intended).


Don't see why you can't make other things like pouches, shirts, hats, etc out of them, they would need a lot of stitching together, that's all.


Robin of Twyford



Date: Sat, 10 Sep 2011 14:31:46 +1000

From: Marie Alessi <madmender at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Tanned fish skins

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


Birdsalls in Sydney sell tanned fish skins. In an absolute plethoral rainbow of colours!




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org