Things You'll Need
Periodish Style of manufacture (Harder Method)
1 pints clean water (more or less, you will keep adding more water as you go on.) If you have Hard water then used distilled water.
2 oz. rawhide scraps, fish bones, etc. (Scale up if using more water) Pigs ears are great and easy to cut up.
Small pot (not used for cooking)
Strainer (not used for cooking)
Optional edible gelatin (From supermarket)
Optional urea (Buy it, I'm not teaching you how to make it from urine.) Better yet use salt....
Pantyhose (best) or Cheesecloth
Disposable Baking tray
Optional paper towels.
- Cut up all your sources of animal collagen, from the size of a Nacho chip to the size of a corn chip or smaller. Smaller is better.
- Put all the sources of animal collagen, it can be rawhide from pet stores, hunting scraps, bit's of fishbone and skin (stinky), or other skin in your pot.
- Cover pot with cold clean water and allow to sit for about an hour.
- After soaking bring solution to a boil, and continue boiling over the next 1-2 (1 1/2) hours replacing water as needed. .When rawhide or hides become translucent it's basically ready and can start being boiled/simmered down, (No longer adding ANY water.)
- Boil down liquid until it's a thick gelatin like substance and remove from heat letting it cool between 5-10 minutes.
- Pour into disposable baking tray through Nylon pantyhose to about 3/8th of an inch thick or less and let it sit overnight in a cool well ventilated room.
- Allow it to dry and cool, until it can be easily handled by dry hands after picking up. If it's not quite firm enough, it will break apart easily and perhaps stick to the hands. If it's still too moist you can evaporate it in the sun until it will be a firmer gel when cool. At room temperature, the gelatin should be easily handled. Let it sit at room temperature overnight, or move to the next step.
- Cut the Gelatin: When the gelatin is firm and cut-able dice it into small cubes before drying further. Small cubes the size of dice are fine.
- Dry the gelatin on a clean cloth in a cool area with good air circulation. Any un-dried gelatin can turn back into liquid if it gets too warm. Using a fan is advised to increase air circulation. This can take a few days to dry out (3-4).
- After its dried put it into mason jar in the refrigerator, frozen or dried further..
When needed it can be reheated. A $5 baby bottle warmer works well for this.
- Increasing Flexibility: You can add glycerine as well in small amounts up to 5%.
- Making it Waterproof: Add 1/2-1% aluminum sulfate to each cup of glue.
- To make liquid "room temperature" glue add approximately 5 table spoons of urea (or 3 tablespoons of salt) for each cup of dry glue., You can substitute salt for Urea at the ratio of 5 tablespoons of urea (or 3 tablespoons of salt) for each cup of dry glue.
- Don't dry during rainstorms as Ozone can affect the glue.
- Dry glue can have an indefinite shelf life if stored in a cool, dry place.
- Mixed glue can last in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.
- Liquid glue (with urea or salt) is good for several months and even longer if refrigerated.
- Mixed glue can be frozen to keep for a very long time.
Useful Link to make a double boiler to reheat glue.
Drying: To dry the glue to a powder I have yet to do myself, so I can't give a qualified method to rendering a dry powder. That said placing a bunch of finely diced but not quite minced bits of the already dried glue on some paper towls in front of a fan in a cool dry room could work. A better but much less period method would be to use a Food Dehydrator with a NO HEAT setting, like those used with mushrooms.
Hide glue is good for all woodworking, from making bows to furniture.
Prior Helmuts "Instant" Hide Glue. (This is lightweight as it has less collagen, due to coming from bones of beef .) Using Pork Gelatin can be "stronger" than hide glue (above).
- Pick up a packet of Gelatin from Albertsons supermarket or Heebs. (It's generally sourced from Beef or Pig.)
- Using 3/4 oz. of cold clean water for each package (1/4 oz.) of plain unflavored gelatin. (Distilled water)
- Heat to almost a boil then remove from heat. Reheat as it cools while using the hot glue (or use a double boiler to keep hot.)
- Use, and discard rest when done...
- For stronger glue don't use Kosher (Bovine) gelatin, use Porcine (pig) gelatin as it's much better quality, using no waste filler or bone being mostly of hide/skin. Elk, Deer, Donkey and Horse are also available online as well.
- For much stronger "instant" glue add a few cubes of proper hide glue to melt into the heated glue. (This will improve bovine gelatin and may improve, weaken or make porcine gelatin better.
- For "Brother Elmers glue" mix in some Elmers white glue, and some salt for a lower temperature mix. Great when you realize you don't have enough glue for a project.
Instant glue is for textile, and light woodwork such as attaching linen to the back of a bow.. Mixed with cubes of proper hide glue it becomes stronger and can be used for more projects.. Try different mixes for different effects. Harder glues will often be less bonding, while softer glues will be more adhesive at times...With different additives of antler (never horn or hoof as it's not collagen but unbinding keratin to this blend), bone (with marrow), sinew, gut, and other skins (rabbit, fish,deer, etc) other qualities can be achieved, so be an exploratory archeologist and experiment.
Secret: Using Porcine Gelatin and keeping it just under boiling will render a very strong glue. It can be used much like other hide glues.
Egg Tempera (Medieval Paint)
What you need
- Ground up pigment
- An Egg
- A bunch of seashells/clam shells (or plate)
- Paper towels
- A shot glass
- Mortar and pestle (a metal miners stone testing one is best as you can grind stone pigments in it.)
- Arabic Gum
- Either grind up your own powder (Best), use store bought spices (Worst, makes poor paint) or simply get some non-toxic cheap powdered paint from Michaels (Happy medium, and best for starting painters.)
- Crack that egg open separating the yolk from the white. Put the yolk on a paper towel to absorb excess white.
- Roll the yolk carefully on the paper towel getting rid of all the white leaving a dry yolk.
- Put the yolk onto a fresh paper towel, and pierce the yolk so it's contents, but not the skin,pour into the shot glass.
- Remove any biological material that's not yolk in the egg. (The white clumpy material in some egg yolks.)
- Pour yolk into shells
- Add powdered pigments stirring them with a clean tool. You can add water to improve the flow.
- After paint is mixed you can begin painting.
- Remember the richness comes from the many layers of paint, a single layer will be more like a watercolor so after drying add more layers.
- During the layering you can add gold leafing that will then be covered with a clear wash.
- A clear wash can be made using Tempera by simply not adding pigments.
- Arabic Gum can be used with this paint to thicken it.
- Period paint that uses no egg can use Arabic Gum and water instead. It's not Tempera but it's period.
- Water is not your only additive .One recipe calls for vinegar (1:1 proportion to egg yolk by volume) another white wine (1 part yolk, 2 parts wine).
Stored paints should be in the fridge. For best results keep everything as sterile as possible using distilled water/vinegar and stored in a tightly sealed jar. Paints without egg and using only Arabic Gum can last a while sealed in a dark place and longer if refrigerated.
Honey can also be used in Tempera instead of egg as can milk. Religious works will often have some liquid Myrrh added to improve the smell.
Different preparations use the egg white or the whole egg for different effects.
"Egg tempera is not a flexible paint and requires stiff boards; painting on canvas will cause cracks to form and chips of paint to fall off."
Priors Secret: He sometimes adds soapstone powder from his carvings to his paints to thicken and (mildly) lighten the colors.
As the Preceptor of a Templar city, secure communication is a must. So we must use an rigid wax that will break if tampered with, and no simple beeswax like some silly people use. Shellac first came to Europe (Spain) in the early 13th century, and a bit earlier in the Outremer.
Recipes for Sealing Wax (LINK)
Basic creation of a gilded Scroll
A very simple method that, saves you time and looks as about good as any other depending on the skill of the artist. Using some tricky skills, while not !00% period, it is perfect for awards and props within our society.
How To Create Your Own Gilded Manuscript
Making Oak gall ink/Iron Gall ink
I've been making Oak gall ink locally for years, and it's not a hard process beyond finding the Oak Galls.
1. Oak Galls or Acorns you choose..
- 3-6 oak galls (I freeze them before crushing them to make sure nothing alive is in them, and help dry them out.)
- 15-30 dried crushed acorns mixed with 6-8 teabags of black tea
2. Powdered egg white from 1 egg. (wash and let it dry overnight before powdering)
3. 1/4 teaspoon or less of Gum Arabic.
4. A source of iron (we will use 0000 steel wool.)
5. Red wine (optional)
6. Distilled water
7. Cheesecloth or nylon pantyhose to strain.
8. A disposable strainer and funnel.
9. Some mason jars
10. A pot not used for food.
11. Optional Amber beer bottle and cork
12. Optional Everclear or a tablespoon of denatured alcohol
13. A shot-glass.
14. Optional Honey
15. Optional but recommended, Some iron sulfate/ferrous Sulfate from a health food store.
16. Optional (cloves, as an added preservative as used in 19th century inks, but not period.)
Everyone has their own recipe, this is the recipe of Prior Helmut formulated to be like the inks of the Outremer. Oak Galls in America have about 40-50% tannic acid in them where the oak galls in Europe seem to have 60-70% tannic acid in them. Aleppo Oak Galls (Quercus tincturia) from Syria have almost 90% tannic acid in them, and since we are reenacting life in the holy land our ink should be high in tannin like with an Aleppo oak gall. Thus I always add black tea so to have an accurate amount of tannins.
- Take your Oak Galls/Acorn and tea mix and put in a pot, covering with equal amount of distilled water. (or rainwater).
- Bring to a boil, and reduce liquid for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and put into mason jar (s) filling them 3/4 of the way. Don't have the liquid contact with the metal lid.
- Put jars in the garage for a week if it's summer, or a warm shelf indoors if winter. Give it a shake each day as it ferments.
As the tannins are extracting while seeping in jar over the week, make some Iron Oxide.
- You can either take the steel wool and wet it and let it sit out on paper towels for a week. Then crush the rusted bits out, and burn the rest adding the leftovers..
- You can simply burn some steel wool and instantly collect the powder.
- Optional and recommended. Add some capsules of iron sulfate from a health food store to your Iron Oxide.
After your Oak Galls/Acorns have steeped a week, strain the liquid back into a pot and slowly bring to a boil then allow to simmer.
- Pour the warm/hot liquid back into the glass jar and start spooning in your iron oxide stirring it as you go until a rich dark black/brown color is achieved. Stir this until well blended.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon or less of Gum Arabic to the liquid and mix in well.
- Optionally Add half a teaspoon of honey to the liquid while it's still warm.
- Using a shot-glass and the handle of a wooden spoon mash the powdered egg white with some of your iron oxide.
- Optionally add some red wine to the shotglass full of powdered egg-white and iron oxide and macerate with spoon handle.
- Add this shotglass full of powder into you Iron gall ink, stir until mixed.
- Allow to cool (I wait overnight for everything to settle), then strain into a mason jar, or better yet an amber beer bottle as the thin neck will minimize air contact.
- Optionally Add a teaspoon or less to of Everclear to the ink and cork (or cap) your container and store in refrigerator
- Use ink
Prior Helmuts Quick and Dirty Iron Gall Ink (Supermarket) method
- 10-15 Iron supplement pills (ground up)
- 10-12 Black tea bags
- A bottle of cheap beer in an amber bottle of a hoppy beer.
- Old Wine from your fridge or distilled water
- Cheesecloth or disposable rag to filter
- Cheap funnel
- Powdered cloves
- Optional. Fruit stems, crushed walnut shells and instant tea can be added to the boiling mash.
- Fill pot with beer and note the level. This will be the maximum amount of ink you can transfer back to the bottle. (Add any stems,instant tea)
- Add 1 teaspoon of cloves and the teabags to the pot and bring liquid to a simmering boil, add enough old wine or distilled water to maintain the basic level of liguid you started at.
- After tea has become very dark, add a heaping teaspoon of Honey into the mix. Bring liquid to roiling boil.
- Add the Iron supplement pills and turn off the heat stirring mixture until dark. Test the ink, it should be a brown to black and will darken with time.
- If it's not dark enough then continue to reduce or add a few more pills and teabags, Depending on brands the above numbers may need tinkering.
- When satisfied allow to cool and then filter back into bottle and screw the cap back on or use a cork.
- LABEL the ink, and refrigerate when not using.
Making medieval carbon ink.