I'm reading Halford right now- just for fun. I never really knew much about the old silk lines and gut leaders. The silk was soaked in linseed oil and dried- the process repeated again after a month or two- it took about a year to make the line. The final product wasn't too different from today's dacron and plastic coat. On the gut leaders- I copied this website for anyone interested.
oakenking: Silkworm gut