Bark Tanning Links

There really isn’t much on the “how-to’s” of bark tanning on the web. I spent many hours going to the 15th page of various search engines (where the links are to petty references like the Encarta Encyclopedia’s description of Oaks: “traditionally used for the bark tanning of leather”) looking for good info. The main sites, besides this one, are dedicated to leatherworking in the middle ages. There are a ton of personal sites about various people’s tooling work on bark tan…but that doesn’t interest me as much so you’ll have to find them on your own….

Leatherworking in the Middle Ages 

This is really excellent. Marc Carlson, Rick Cavasin and Kendra of HollyOak collaborated to put together everything they know about leathers and tanning in the Middle Ages. Of the several sites that cover this topic, this is easily the best. Covers tanning, parchment, cuir bouilli, tooling, leatherworking and has an extensive bibliography. Nothing pretty, but intelligent info. 

Medieval Leather Dying

Put together by the same folks, this covers dying. 

The International Internet Leathercrafter’s Guild

A large website based primarily around “leathercraft” which generally means tooling & carving leather. Includes a photo gallery and a very good collection of links to the sites of its members, leather manufactures and leathercraft oriented sites in general. 

How to Make Cuir Bouilli

An account of “Sir Squeek, the Mighty’s” experiments and successes making cuir bouilli. If you are interested in this stuff, you should also read the cuir bouilli section in Leatherworking in the Middle Ages, which I thought was better.

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Crafts – Leatherwork

A somewhat interesting summary of period bark tanning…

Bark Tanning Seal Skins

This is the Borealis Crafts website. Go here if you want to know more about the folks who are making bark tanned seal-skin boots in Newfoundland.

Medieval Leather Discussion Group 

This is a discussion group on medieval leather practices. They discuss everything from tanning to armour, to their favorite leather suppliers.

American Leather Chemists Association – ALCA

This site has nothing particularly on bark tanning, but it is the very scientific end of the leather world, should you want to explore that. They have a collection of past and current articles from their Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association.

Lotta’s Tannery

Lotta Rahme’s website. She is the author of Leather: Preparation and Tanning by Traditional Methodsreviewed on this site. She’s done more low tech bark tanning than anyone else I know of, learning especially from the Saami in northern Sweden. She teaches classes in Sweden and has her own small tannery. The website is in Swedish except for one page in English, but there are some interesting pictures, and her English is good should you want to contact her.