Vellum or parchment is a semi opaque sheet like material made from animal skin. The most commonly used animals are calf, goat and sheep.

All vellums and parchments vary in shade and markings from skin to skin and within each skin. Characteristics of the animal as a unique individual, for example age, sex, diet, stress, and state of health affect the grain pattern and visual appeal. However English Classic Calf and English Creamy White Goat vary least, while English Natural Veiny Calf and English Natural Goat vary most.

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Vellum Types
Goatskin is characterized by a follicle pattern consisting of rows of hair pores, sometimes predominantly parallel. The grain exhibits numerous variations. Goatskins are available in:

Creamy White Goat

Natural Goat

Calfskin is characterized by a smooth surface and a subtlety dense and random folicle pattern. Calfskins are available in:

Classic Calf

Natural Veiny Calf
Size of Vellum / Parchment
Goatskin and calfskin average in size from 6 to 9 sq. ft.  (0.55 sq. M – 0.8 sq. M). The maximum average usable area is 22″ x 30″  (560 mm X 760 mm).

The spine area of the animal can be apparent in the pigmentation of the skin and runs the length of the skin. If you do not want the spine area to be a part of the parchment design then we suggest working in “half skins”.

Panel Specifications
The maximum panel size with no seams is 20″ x 27″ (508 mm X 685 mm). Panels can be larger but multiple skins may have to be joined to cover the surface.

Minimum substrate panel thickness 11/16″ (18 mm), not including hardware.

Distinguishing Vellum / Parchment from Leather
The distinction between parchment and leather is that leather is tanned and parchment is not. It is mechanically processed by stretching the wet pelt while it is drying. During stretching some of the fibers are broken under the tension allowing the remaining fibers to become aligned into layers parallel to the grain and flesh surfaces. While the pelt dries the fibers are set into the stretched alignment by a pelt fluid which acts as an adhesive. Once dry the fibers do not revert to their soft relaxed state but create a highly taught sheet which is smooth, strong and semi-elastic.
Vellum & Parchment Information

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