Dictionarium polygraphicum. Tawing.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol II.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
TAWING is the art or manner of dressing skins in white; to fit them for use in divers manufactures, particularly gloves, &c. as chiefly those of lamb, sheep, kids, goats, &c.

Having clear'd the skins of wool or hair by the means of lime, &c. (as is describ'd in the article SHAMMY) they are laid in a large vat of wood or stone, set on the ground full of water, in which quick-lime has been stak'd; in this they are let lie for a month or six weeks, as the weather is more or less hot, or as the skins are requir'd to be more or less soft and pliant.

While they are in the vat, the water and lime is chang'd twice, and the skins are taken out and put in again every day.

When they are taken out for the last time, they are laid all night to soak in a running water, to get out the greatest part or the lime; and in the morning are laid together by sixes one upon another, upon the wooden leg, and are scrap'd stoutly one arter another, to get the flesh off from the fleshy side, with a cutting two-handed instrument call'd a knise, and then they cut off the legs, (if they are not cut off before) and other superfluous parts about the extremes.

Then they are laid in a vat or pit with a little water; where they are well full'd with wooden pestles for the space of a quarrer of an hour, and then the vat is fill'd up with water and they are rinsed in it.

In the next place they are thrown on a clean pavement to drain; and afterwards cast into a fresh pit of water, out of which they rinse them well; and are laid again on the wooden leg six at a time with the hair side outermost, over which they rub a kind of whetstone very briskly to soften and fit them to recieve four or five more preparations, given them on the leg, both on the flesh side and the hair side, with the knise, after the manner above mention'd.

After this they are put into a pit of water and wheaten bran, and stirr'd about in it with wooden poles, till the bran is perceiv'd to stick to them; and then they are left: as they rise of themselves to the top of the water by a kind of fermentation, they are plung'd down again to the bottom; and at the same time fire is set to the liquor, which takes as easily as if it were brandy, but goes out the moment the skins are all cover'd.

They repeat this operation as often as the skins rise above the water; and when they have done rifing, they take them out, lay them on the wooden leg, the fleshy side outwards, and pass the knise over them to scrape off the bran.

Having thus clear'd them of the bran, they lay the skins in a large basket, and load them with huge stones to promote their draining; and when they have drain'd sufficiently, they give them their seeding, which is perform'd after the manner following:

For 100 of large sheep skins, and for smaller in proportion, they take eight pounds of water, and three of sea-salt, and melt the whole with water in a vessel over the fire, pouring the dissolution out, while yet lukewarm, into a kind of trough, in which is twenty pound of the finest wheat-flower, with the yolks of eight dozen of eggs; of all which is form'd a kind of a paste, a little thicker than children's pap; which when done, is put into another vessel to be us'd in the following manner:

They pour a quantity of hot water into the trough, in which the paste was prepar'd, mixing two spoonfuls of the paste with it; to do which they use a wooden spoon, which contains just as much as is requir'd for a dozen of skins: and when the whole is well diluted, two dozen of the skins are plunged into it; but they take care that the water be not too hot, which would spoil the paste, and burn the skins.

After they have lain sometime in the trough, they take them out one as cer another with the hand, and stretch them out, this they do twice; and after they have given them all their paste, they put them into tubs, and there full them afresh with wooden pestles.

Then they put them into a vat, where they are suffered to lie for five or six days, or more; then they take them out in fair weather, and hang them out to dry on cords or racks, and the quicker they are dry'd the better it is; for if they be too long a drying, the salt and alum within them are apt to make them rite in a grain, which is an essential fault in this kind of dressing.

When the skins are dry, they are made up into bundles, and just dipt in fair water, and taken out and drain'd, and being tnrown into an empty tub, and after having lain sometime, are taken out, and trampled under foot.

Then they draw them over a flat iron instrument, the top of which is round like a battledore, and the bottom fix'd into a wooden block, to stretch and open them; and having been opened, they are hung in the air upon cords to dry; and being dry, they are opened a second time, by passing them again over the same instrument.

In the last place they are laid on a table, pull'd out, and laid smooth, and are then fit for sale.

After the same manner are dress'd horses, cows, calves skins, &c., for the sadlers, harness-makers, &c. as also those of dogs, wolves, bears, &c., except that in these they omit using the paste, salt and alum water being sufficient.

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