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Table of Contents

1. How to make Hide Glue. (Harder and Simple Methods)
2. How to make Egg Tempera paint
3. How to make sealing wax (offsite link)
4. Basic Creation of a Gilded Scroll (offsite link)
5. Making Iron Gall Ink/Oak Gall Ink  (new)
6. Making medieval Carbon Ink
7. Making a period brush
8. How to build medieval tools (From block planes to draw knives and beyond. UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

How to make Hide Glue. (Harder and Simple Methods)

Things You'll Need

Periodish Style of manufacture (Harder Method)File:Animal glue liquid.jpg


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover pot with cold clean water and allow to sit for about an hour.
  4. 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.)
  5. Boil down liquid until it's a thick gelatin like substance and remove from heat letting it cool between 5-10 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 oveFile:Cold glue.jpgrnight, or move to the next step.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.


Shelf Life

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). 

  1. Pick up a packet of Gelatin from Albertsons supermarket or Heebs. (It's generally sourced from Beef or Pig.)
  2. Using 3/4 oz. of cold clean water for each package (1/4 oz.) of plain unflavored gelatin. (Distilled water)
  3. 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.)
  4. Use, and discard rest when done... 

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)File:Madonna71.jpg

What you need


  1. 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.)
  2. Crack that egg open separating the yolk from the white. Put the yolk on a paper towel to absorb excess white.
  3. Roll the yolk carefully on the paper towel getting rid of all the white leaving a dry yolk.
  4. 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. 
  5. Remove any biological material that's not yolk in the egg. (The white clumpy material in some egg yolks.)
  6. Pour yolk into shells
  7. Add powdered pigments stirring them with a clean tool. You can add water to improve the flow.
  8. After paint is mixed you can begin painting.
  9. 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.


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.

Sealing WaxFile:Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts 002.jpg

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.medieval scribe


1. Oak Galls or Acorns you choose..

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.


As the tannins are extracting while seeping in jar over the week, make some 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.

Prior Helmuts Quick and Dirty Iron Gall Ink (Supermarket) method


  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. After tea has become very dark, add a heaping teaspoon of Honey into the mix. Bring liquid to roiling boil.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. When satisfied allow to cool and then filter back into bottle and screw the cap back on or use a cork.
  7. LABEL the ink, and refrigerate when not using.

Making medieval carbon ink.