parchment

It all starts with an animal, in the insular context it’s believed always to be calf but roe deer makes a very close substitute, most of the books are lost and most of whats left hasn’t been tested.

firstly skin the fresh animal, it’s best done while still warm as this involves minimal knife use and if done correctly results in an undamaged hide
skins then need to be salted and stored, the slaughter most likely took place at one time, my moneys on Martinmass in November when animals are in peak condition and hide damaging parasites such as warble fly aren’t active.
salted skins are soaked in running water for two days before use
the soaked hide is then scraped with a dull blade over a wooden beam to remove residual flesh and membrane
the fleshed hide is then soaked in an alkaline solution, lime or soda ash depending on local topography, see the hearth section for preparation of the various options.
the alkaline along with bacterial action loosen the hair enough for it to be scraped off after a few weeks depending on temperatures
the hide is then rinsed in running water for 2 days to remove the alkalinity and return it to neutral
The hide is then stretched on a herse to dry, when dry the flesh side is dry scraped with a lunellum
this is what happens when you pour boiling water over the grain side of a stretched and dried hide and scrape it with the tiny Tarbat lunellum, a very efficient technique to produce high quality degrained parchment. The archaeology at Tarbat suggests this is the method used.
once its dry your done, cut it out and take it to the scriptorium
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