Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather is steer hide that has been tanned with tannin found in tree bark and other vegetable matter, but neither dyed nor oiled (thus explaining its skin-like appearance). It is a top grain leather, meaning the top side has not been sanded, buffed, or otherwise corrected to remove natural patterns and grain. Because of this, the fibers remain intact and strong. The material is greatly influenced by its environment and will initially change color like human skin when exposed to direct sunlight. This leather ages to a beautiful dark caramel brown, and will burnish darker in spots of frequent contact. After years of field testing and observation, vegetable tanned leathers are sourced from tanneries both domestic and abroad for specific weights, tempers, and aging properties.
English Bridle is used in more ways than we can count; drum dyed and hot stuffed, English bridle needs no finishing, unlike the Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather described above. After drum dying, the leather is impregnated with a formula of waxes and oils to create a durable yet flexible leather. The grain and flesh is then finished with a rich, beautiful aniline dye to show off the natural texture. Last, we seal the color in, and then finish it with a wax coat to give it a look like none other!
Chromexcel (CXL) is a steer (and sometimes horse) hide leather made by the Horween® tannery in Chicago. It is the original pull-up leather, made using time honored techniques and formulas developed nearly 100 years ago. Produced in the United States using a bark retannage from a Horween proprietary recipe, it is hand rubbed with dyes and hot stuffed with oils, resulting in beautiful dimensional tones. This leather is characterized by a rich pull-up in full aniline with hand-rubbed finishes. It is regarded by many as one of the finest leathers in the world.
Similar to the Chromexcel is the Essex, Dublin and Derby style leathers also produced by Horween. We occasionally incorporate these into our products as well.
Harness Leather is hot stuffed with a mixture of waxes, oils, and tallows, which gives it a multitude of uses. Primarily used for horse products, the natural finish of this Harness is processed in a traditional manner, using a glazing jack to bring the oils to the surface, which gives it a shine without hiding any of the natural beauty. We adapt this leather for use in our smaller goods and bags by splitting (or thinning) it to lower weights.
We source our English Bridle and Harness Leather from Wicket & Craig of America in Curwensville, PA. They've been producing some of North America's finest leathers since 1867.