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Shagreen

Cabinetmakers and casing specialists have been using fish skin for quite a long time. IN Europe, the first proofs of use can be traced to the XVth and XVIth centuries. Bellon, ca. 1550, writes that they were used to case boxes and to cover swords and daggers handles. In the same way, Albrecht Dürer, the famous German engraver, during one of his trips to Netherlands between 1520 and 1521, writes down in his account books the purchase of various objects covered with fish skins from the "Indies".


Left, Dasyatis Sephen skin
Right, "sea angel" skin used as an abrasive

 


Two D. Sephen skins
A. The white skin results from a modern preparation, specifically designed for cabinetmaking.
It is ready to use, flat and stabilized.
B. The grey skin results from an ancient traditional preparation and is more difficult to use.
Being rolled, it tends to retract when glued.


x5 magnification of spicules

The Japanese were the first users of the type of shagreen frequently seen on Art Deco furniture. They used it for sword handles (katana) and armour covering, because of it shardness. The spicules have the same structure as human teeth. They also used it to cover small boxes.

The Art Deco shagreen comes from the skin of Dasyatis Sephen.

We provide skins for cabinet making and bookbinding. Our skins are specifically prepared for their future use. They are semi-tanned, thus more stable than traditional ancient preparations.

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