If you are investing in leather, chances are you are looking into unique leather with natural beauty that gets better with age. If you are someone who enjoys durability while wearing something or using accessories, vegetable-tanned leather might be the best choice.
Those who are into the leather industry, know the quality of vegetable-tanned leather and how it can give things new life. Today, in this article, we will discuss vegetable-tanned leather and know whether it is superior to other leather.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
A vegetable tanned leather is referred to as tannage or the method of converting cow hides into leather. The reason why this method uses ‘vegetable’ is because the process uses tree bark for the tanning process.
The vegetable tanning process is one of the oldest processes to treat leather. It has literally been around for centuries. Despite being the oldest method to tan leather, only 10% of leather is tanned this way today.
The reason why this method has won everyone’s hard is that it helps produce thicker leather. In addition, vegetable-tanned leather ages better develop a rich patina over time.
Vegetable Tanning Process
Step 1: Pre-Tanning
The hides used in the leather factory are often the by-product of the meat industry. Once the leather arrives at the tannery, they are infected by bacteria, salt, and other impurities. The hide needs to be cleaned, and wool, hair, and fat are removed.
This is done with the process called ‘liming’. It involves soaking the hide in a large drum where the hide is treated with Milk of lime.
Before the hide can be transferred for the tanning process, the pH value of the hide must be lowered. The rehydration phase de-limes the hide and lowers the pH value.
Step 2: Tanning
Now that the pre-tanning process is completed, the hides are placed in the drum with the tanning agent and water. The exact solution of tanning varies from one tannery to another.
Every tannery has its own secret formula for preparing the best leather. So, the master of the tannery is responsible for this phase, where the tannery master manipulates the tanning blend and mixes it with the water.
Over the period of one month, the hides are regularly rotated. As the hides start to absorb the vegetable tanning, they start showing different physical properties.
Step 3: Dyeing, Hot Stuffing, Drying
After the tanning process is completed, they are simple leather – like a blank canvas all ready to be infused with color and character. Then, finally, the hides are dyed in a large barrel.
Once the dyeing process is completed, the hides are then stuffed with wax and tallows. This allows them to hide their leather-looking traits and make them more durable.
Once the leather is waxed, stretched, trimmed, and measured, it can subtly be refined further if needed.
Step 4: Finishing The Leather
In this stage, you can clearly see that cowhides have been converted into leather. All the leather is layered together and sealed for protection. The entire process is very time and labor-intensive, taking up to six months.
Is Vegetable Tanned Leather Superior?
Yes, they are superior to other leather in every way possible. They are a kind product. You will hardly find any leather superior to vegetable-tanned leather.
Vegetable-tanned leather is not only softer compared to other leather, but also has more leather volume (more than 90%).
One of the cool things about vegetable leather is that they change color and become more dominant as they age over time. Taking everything into consideration, one thing is certain it is a superior form of leather.
It is not hard to see the allure of vegetable-tanned leather from afar. The shiny surface is something that will definitely grab your attention.
Because it is one of the oldest leather tanning techniques used to produce leather sheets, you will find yourself to be a part of historical culture.
What’s more, vegetable-tanned leathers change color as they age, which makes them even more appealing. Every year you get to see a different shade of the same wallet that you have been using for years.
Hopefully, we have converted you into a fan. If that is the case, we would like to know your thoughts. We will be waiting in the comment section.