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post #1 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Leather question

Why is some leather good leather and some leather crappy leather?

Is it the individual animal it comes from or the processing or a combination of both?

Some saddles are made out of that leather that is better described as a piece of cardboard. Then there are really nice saddles made out of soft lovely leather.

Yes, I realized some is from different types of animals (deer, pig, etc). But for the sake of this question what makes some moo skin lovely soft leather what makes other moo skin cardboard?
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 04:39 PM
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Interesting question, Always.

I'd say it probably has to do with both the health of the animal prior to death, and how the hide is processed after it's rendered.

German leather, mmmmm. Argentinian leather, ptooey!
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 04:44 PM
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it has to do with the techniques that they use to cure the leather I think.

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
it has to do with the techniques that they use to cure the leather I think.
This makes me giggle.
I can just picture the supervisor going 'Hey Billy, put that hide into the 'make it like cardboard' processor.

You are probably right though.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 04:57 PM
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I think you already answered the question. It's the tanning process and the quality of the skin to begin with. Some Asian saddles are made with Water Buffalo rather then cows and the tanning process is poor. Add to that the cut of the leather, meaning full grain, top grain, or the worst cut which actually has to have the "grain" imprinted on it.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #6 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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I was really guessing. I have no clue.

So is the tanning process that makes cardboard leather much cheaper and that is why they make that stuff?

So different parts of the Moo make different quality of leather too?

Water buffalo, hu?
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-20-2010, 06:21 PM
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It's the poor tanning of an inferior hide and the particular cut of the hide that makes it stiff and cheap. And, yeah, water buffalo - got to use what you've got.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #8 of 15 Old 04-21-2010, 05:19 AM
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Hello,
thought i'd chuck my 2p's worth in. There are many reasons why some leathers are better than others. As some have said it can be down to the tanning process, many leathers are 'drum' tanned (rolled in a barrel with solution) whereas the best leathers are 'pit' tanned (hung in a pit of solution.) Pit tanning can take upto 6 months for water buffalo as opposed to about 3 days in a drum. This can make the leather stretchy as the grain is pummelled apart. The 'cardboard' leather is usually made from a 'split' grain leather. Split grain is the back of the leather (the furry bit), that is removed to thin (or skive) the leather to it's correct thickness. This waste product is then rolled and imprinted with a 'grain' to make it look better. The actual hide itself in it's raw form is pretty much the same quality except the best hides have little marking on them (I have seen hides with stitch scars from operations on them). Connelly hides famous for their quality are just the same as other hides except the cows were kept in fields with no barbed wire etc. The quality is all down to selection, processing and solutions used. The best leather is veg tanned. Imprinted leathers are still the same quality as others, they just have an impression embossed on them to suit different tastes. I have visited different tanneries and seen the processes involved (and smelt them!), and quality seems to be all down to the time it takes and how fussy the tanners are! Good quality clothing leathers are pretty much the same as thicker leathers but are simply thinned more (thus leaving more of the split leather that is used in the cheap stuff). Some really cheap leathers are simply split hides that are compressed with other fillers to give a 'leather feel'. Good bridle leather is hand greased and has the stretchy areas of the leather discarded. Cheap bridle leather can be made of any part of the hide or (even worse) made from the split hides. All the areas of the hide have different uses, I personally only use specially selected bridle 'butts' which only leaves me about 24inch by 70inch strips. In car interior work I use the whole hide (excluding scarred areas), these can be as big as 6m squared and are thinned usually impressed with a pattern as it needs a 'uniform' look to it. As they say 'you get what you pay for'. If you need more information I can e-mail you more information about the processes of leather making and history (if you really want :) )
Regards to you all,

Colin. (ikkle pikkles hubby). :)
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-21-2010, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much Colin! I definitely learned something. Very interesting!
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-21-2010, 03:15 PM
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Glad to be of help :)

Colin X
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