Know your leather
Leather care begins first with our understanding and knowledge of the different types of leathers and their properties. Leather is a natural product so as with any natural product it is in no way perfect. But don’t worry all of the leathers that we use in our products are checked thoroughly to make sure that you get the best and the highest quality leather in our products. Now let’s learn a little about the different natural markings on leather.
Natural leather markings
Leather is a natural product, and like anything natural, it is not always perfect. It is this natural imperfection that attracts the leather fanatic. Leather will have markings that are considered nature’s signatures, and this is what relates to the public that the product truly is leather.
The leather that we select for our bags is a by-product of the farming industry. They will typically be dairy cows that have aged but sometimes larger buffalo and other farmed animals may be used, but we’ll clearly state which animal the leather is from. Typically these dairy animals will gather natural marks on their skin as they are significantly older than animals used purely for meat production.
Typical marks could include:
Stretch Marks; Especially on the hind of the cow as it grows larger. Tick Holes; These are small holes where an insect has pierced the skin to draw blood. Scarring; If the animals have been cut or had an operation then it may have scars and stitch marks. Veining; Larger animals will show veins close to the surface of the skin. Flay Marks; These are where the fatty tissue is removed from the underside of the leather with a flaying knife and the flaying knife has left a small scar.
When leather is prepared it either has the very top layer of the skin sanded (like in our premium leathers), or ‘split off’ (like in our classic range) to remove almost all signs of these natural marks.
Once tanned most of the remaining marks become almost unnoticeable but never completely disappear. They generally do not affect whether a hide is suitable or not. In fact, scarring can actually make a hide even stronger, just not what most people would consider beautiful.
We check all our leather for natural marks and endeavour to cut our pattern pieces from areas of the hide that are not marked, but sometimes we may deem a natural mark to be ‘acceptable’ (especially if it’s on the underside of the hide.)
Natural leather marks cannot be treated in any way to make them appear less visible, and if you have received a bag with natural marks that you personally think is not acceptable, such as an excessively deep flay mark, then we are happy to discuss the issue with you.
Special leather care
Our products are almost always made using the top grain leather. Top grain leather is found just below the very top layer of leather. You might have heard of the term bridal leather, which is made using this top layer. It is a thin layer but is very strong. Since our products are made with a slightly thicker leather we use this top grain leather. We essentially have three types of leather which we refer to as our premium leather, classic leather and waxy spickle leather. There’s not much of a difference between the classic leather and the waxy spickle leather except that the waxy spickle as the name suggests has a wax layer over the pigmented layer to give it added protection.
Taking care of these leathers are quite straightforward and if you follow the instructions of the care guide you wouldn’t have any trouble. Our premium leathers though are a little thicker than our classic or spickle leathers and are dyed rather than pigmented so loses moisture a little faster than the others. So it is a good habit to maintain these a little more often than the others. Regular maintenance will guarantee the longevity of your leather product.
We also carry some special edition leathers such as the 50 year old gold and the metallic blue colours. Now, these leathers are also made with the same top grain leather but with a metallic pigment. Due to the delicate nature of this metallic finish, some surface finishing may be lost with time and abrasion. This cannot be re-applied. So special care needs to be taken when looking after products made with this leather. When applying products always do a spot check to make sure that the products do not have a reaction or remove the colour and that you are always satisfied with the end result.