Baleine! (and dirty fingernails..)

So my father works as an archaeological conservator and he brought me home a

present! But I don’t get to keep it… It’s a sample of baleine that they keep as a reference. I’ve never handled baleine before. It’s a very strange substance! It’s much more brittle than I thought it would be. I wonder if perhaps as strips it would have the flexibility I expected. In any case I decided to post some pictures in case anyone out there was interested.

 

 

Oh yeah and the dirty fingernail thing… I’m working as a conservator this summer (so awesome!) and I’m re-treating a shoe from a ship that sank in 1760, the Machault. I’m really enjoying the challenge of it! I had to make a study of shoes from the period to understand how all the layers fit together since much of the original stitching had rotted away. I had this aha! moment yesterday when I finally understood the purpose of the rand/welt. It’s actually a pretty clever way to make a shoe. Today my repairs started to come together and I began to tighten the stitches, pulling everything together. It’s so exciting to see the difference between the poor flattened thing that is now a shoe!

But a consequence of that is that I get very stubborn leather fibers under my nails!

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