Sumac is a powdered dyestuff from the bark of the sumac tree, this extract is a great source of catechic tannin.
Tannin or tannic acid is used to assist the mordants of cellulose fibres and fabrics. Alum does not bond with cellulose fibres as well as it does with protein fibres. However, tannin bonds well with cellulose. and once treated with tannin, alum will combine with the tannin-fibre complex. Many dyestuffs contain tannin (black oak, pomegranate, cutch, fustic, etc) and do not need an additional tannin.
Tannins can be clear or they can add colour to the fibre, and this is an important consideration when selecting a tannin.
• Clear Tannins: “Gallic” - Gallnut, Tara, some Sumacs
• Yellow Tannins: “Ellegic” – Myrobalan, Pomegranate,
• Red-Brown Tannins: “Catechic” – Cutch, Quebracho, Tea leaves, and some Sumacs.