This section is from the American Hand Book of the Daguerreotype, by Samuel D. Humphrey. Published S. D. Humphrey, 37 Lispenard Street 1858.
When the operator is compelled to purchase an unprepared buckskin, the following is a good process for cleaning it: There is always in the buckskin leather that is purchased, more or less of an oily matter, which is acquired in its preparation, sometimes even amounting, to a third of its weight. The following is the mode of ridding it of this noxious ingredient: Dissolve, in about six or seven quarts of filtered water, about five ounces of potash; when dissolved, wash with the solution an ordinary buckskin; when it has been well stirred in the liquid, the water becomes very soapy, owing to the combination of the potash with the oily matters contained in the skin. Throw away this solution and use some fresh water without potash and rather tepid; change it several times until it remains quite limpid. Then gently stretch the skin to dry in an airy shaded place. When thoroughly dried, rub it well between the hands. It thus becomes very pliant and velvet-like.