All leathers, except rawhide, go through a tanning process. The main tanning processes available are chrome tanned, vegetable tanned and alum tanned. Chrome tanned leather is tanned using soluble chromium salts, primarily chromium sulfate. Vegetable tanned leather is tanned using vegetable materials derived from tree bark and various other plants. Alum tanned leather is tanned with a colorless aluminum salt and is primarily used as lace leather. There are also slight variations of the main tannages described above like chrome oil tanned, veg chrome retanned and chrome veg retanned. Chrome oil tanned leather is simply chrome tanned (as described above) but is also treated with an oil that helps preserve the leather. Veg chrome retanned leather is vegetable tanned (as described above) and retanned in chromium salts. Chrome veg retanned leather is chrome tanned (as described above) and then vegetable tanned.
Chrome tanned and alum tanned leathers are generally dyed during the tanning process and are available in a huge variety of colors. Vegetable tanned leather is usually left the natural flesh color to be stained or dyed after carving, tooling, stamping or embossing is complete.
Types of Leather
*Bridle: Vegetable tanned
Firm rich-colored leather with enough oils to withstand weather. Beautiful, great feeling leather, can be oiled for darker hues.
Ideal for:Tack items and fine pet products.
*Bridle, Premium English: Vegetable tanned
Authentic "English" bridle leather. Made from heavy native steer hides and drum dyed for deep, consistent colors with waxes and tallows. Hot stuffed with just the right amount of "spew" on the grain and flesh to have that English feel.
Ideal for: English tack, belts and pet products.
*Chrome Oil Tanned: Chrome tanned
Beautiful, durable leather has just the right amount of oil for a soft, supple feel.
Ideal for: Work chaps, saddle bags and linings.
*Deer: Chrome tanned
Very supple, beautiful quality leather. Perfect for use on any project where softness is needed.
Ideal for: Gloves, pouches and garments.
Garment: Chrome tanned
Beautiful leather is soft and supple and available in many colors.
Ideal for: Garments, chaps and upholstery.
*Harness: Vegetable tanned
Beautiful leather stuffed with heavy tallows for exceptional weight, thickness, ease of cutting and durability. Harness leather is soft and supple, yet holds its shape very well.
Ideal for: Work or show harnesses and saddlery.
*Latigo: Chrome veg tanned
Soft, supple leather great for use on products where strength and flexibility are needed. This is a very supple leather usually with a slightly oily texture. This leather is often referred to as harness leather but there is a distinct difference. See harness leather above.
Ideal for: Tack, saddlery and pet products.
*Natural Strap, Tooling and Molding: Vegetable tanned
Leather for tooling, embossing, moulding, dying and oiling. Dyes and oils are uniformly absorbed by the leather's open grain structure. A different oil content eases moulding around sharp corners. Dries to a firm, long-lasting shape.
Ideal for: Lightweight saddlery goods, personal goods including wallets, purses and holsters.
*Saddle Skirting: Vegetable tanned
Moulds and forms to seat, readily accepts tooling or embossing and oils and dyes evenly for a beautiful, uniform appearance.
Ideal for: Saddles, tooled and embossed products.
Sole Bends: Vegetable tanned
Taken from the best portion of the hide, this extra thick leather features a firm (hard) tannage designed especially for shoe soles.
Ideal for: Shoe soles and weight lifting belts.
Soft, supple leather is very strong and durable. Tanned in whole hides for little waste and for use in automotive and restoration upholstery where large pieces of leather are desirable. Great for all upholstery needs.
Ideal for: Upholstery.