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A) The earliest documentation I've found regarding the use of sharkskin as sandpaper goes back to the British Empire in the mid 18th century. Sharkskin was apparently only used to finish very fine work: Cabinet makers would use the more accurate honed edges of planes to get a smooth surface, and the finest work was finished by burnishing with a cow's ...


The practice goes back at least to the early centuries of the common era, since the Mishna (Kelim 16:1) mentions "rubbing with fish skin" as the typical way of finishing wooden utensils. Doesn't say anything about whether it was sharkskin or some other type, though.


One thing I should clear up up-front: While sometimes classified together, Sharks (and the related Rays) are not really fish. They in fact are less related to fish than we humans are. For instance, they don't have bones like we and fish do. There are numerous other physical differences too, but more importantly for your question, their skin is also very ...

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