There are principally two types of leather tanning: Vegetable and chrome.  Chrome is known to be nasty nasty, and here’s why…

 

Vegetable tanning refers to the use of natural tannins to create usable leather from hides. Natural tannins are present in bark, wood, leaves and fruits of chestnut, oak and hemlock trees. This process is time intensive, as it can take up to three weeks for the tannins to fully penetrate a hide. From an ecological perspective, vegetable tanning is preferable, however the leather produced is not stable in water as it shrivels and becomes brittle.

 

 

A little history: In ancient times, vegetable tanning was all that was available – hides were steeped in a bath of vegetable-based extracts like leaves, bark, nuts etc, which release tannins. 

This process was repeated several times, which gradually increased the strength of the mixture. Each time, the tannins penetrated the fibres in the hide deeper and deeper, ultimately creating what we all know as leather.

 

When you see a beautifully aged, 100 year old vintage leather wallet or Gladstone bag, chances are, it was vegetable tanned – the more it’s used, the better it gets.  

 

So What’s So Bad About Chrome Tanned Leather?

 

Chrome tanned leather is made using chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium, it is more supple and pliable than vegetable-tanned leather and does not discolour or lose shape as drastically in water as vegetable-tanned leather. It is also known as wet-blue for its colour derived from the chromium.

 

A selection of vegetable tanned leather :

 

 

 

Vegetable Tanned Leather (Calf) - Tan

 

Type: Calf

 

Materials/Fiber composition

100% Vegetable-tanned Cow Shoulder hide.

 

Dye/print types

Chrome Free

Dimensions

Approx 12-15 ft sq

Thickness

approx 1.85mm

 

Price : £43.00/Hide

Code: BaVEGT-C-TAN

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Tanned Leather (Calf) - Natural

Type: Calf

 

Materials/Fiber composition

100% Vegetable-tanned Cow Shoulder hide.

 

Dye/print types

Chrome Free

Dimensions

Approx 12-15 ft sq

 

Thickness

approx 1.85mm

 

Price : £47.00/Hide

Code: BaVEGT-C-017(NATURAL)

 

 

Vegetable Tanned Leather (Shoulder) - Mercy

 

Type: Cow Shoulder

 

Materials/Fiber composition

100% Vegetable-tanned Cow Shoulder hide.

 

Dye/print types

Chrome Free

Dimensions

Approx 12-15 ft sq

 

Thickness

approx 3.5mm

 

Price : £90.00/Hide

Code: BaVEGT-Sh-008-PLUM

 

Vegetable Tanned Leather (Shoulder) - Vintage Brown

 

Type: Cow Shoulder

 

Materials/Fiber composition

100% Vegetable-tanned Cow Shoulder hide.

 

Dye/print types

Chrome Free

Dimensions

Approx 12-15 ft sq

 

Thickness

approx 3.5mm

 

 

Price : £90.00/Hide

Code: BaVEGT-Sh-004-VINTAGEBROWN

 

 

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