Materials & Information
Materials and process
Leatherworking and leather product creation is a balance between materials, colors, leather weights, process, and functionality. Our materials and process are not new nor our invention, they're time worn methods that we picked up from the collective knowledge of the leatherworking community, but we place an importance on them because they're important to making the highest quality items we can.
What is veg-tan leather?
Vegetable tanned leather is leather made using natural resources, like tree bark, to tan the leather. It's an old method, the oldest method, of leather tanning, and because of that it is a more sustainable, environmentally friendly method of leather tanning. There are other tanning methods that produce good products, such as chrome tanning, which has its own benefits, but we prefer veg-tan because it is easier leather to work with, and has beneficial properties that allow if to be used in more versitile ways, burnishing, for example, which is a method of using friction to seal a leather edge to prevent moisture penetration.
All of our leather is Veg-tan leather, except where noted in the product description.
What is natural leather?
'Natural' leather refers to the post tanning, pre dyed color. It starts as a milky beige that can be deepened with the application of oil and finishes. We use natural leather on some products because it has the potential to darken into a deep, rich brown over time. Handling a piece of natural leather, even sealed natural leather, transfers oils from hands and dye from clothing into the surface. Over time this produces a deep patina that reflects the way the piece has been used and cared for, making it a unique reflection of the owner.
Hand-stitching isn't exactly hard work. It's time-consuming, but worth it. Hand-stitching produces an exaggerated slanted stitch that is extremely difficult to reproduce with a machine. But beyond the aesthetics, its a durable stitch that weaves in and out of the layers, ensuring each piece is rugged and long lasting.
Hand-stitching is also more flexible, so we can design pieces in a way that would be impossible to sew with a machine. Our trucker wallet for instance, has a single piece gusset that allows for wider opening. Partially covered by the pocket front, this would be impossible to replicate cleanly on a machine. Our bi-folds, as well, use a single piece of thread per side. That thread is woven in and out of the various layers to produce hidden pockets, or attach the cover, while the thread chain remains unbroken - something that would be impossible to stitch on a machine.
Leathers we use:
We use the highest quality leather we can find. While we're always searching for new material to work with, we have a few favorites that we've thoroughly tested, and everything is our store is made from that.
Conceria Walpier - Buttero
- Conceria Walpier is an Italian tannery that creates some of the richest colors in the leather industry. We use this Veg-Tan leather because of that depth, but also the glossy surface and smooth finish. It splits easy and because the dye penetrates below the skin surface even the back of the leather carries the color. We use this leather mostly for the exterior of our colored wallets. The green or black face of our Redwoods Bifold, for example.
Wickett&Craig - Bridle leather
- Wickett and Craigs Bridle leather is our favorite leather to work with, hands down. Originally from Canada, now based in the US, they continue to make incredible tanned hides. It comes in a range of traditional earthy leather colors, from tan to black. It splits extremely thin while maintaining its integrity, it lasts forever (with proper care), and its more matte finish responds well to oiling and conditioning. We use this leather everywhere you see a brown or tan earthy color, expecially wallet interiors.
Hermann Oak - Natural
- Where we use natural leather, we are using Hermann Oak. They are a historied company (they supplied settlers on the Lewis and Clark trail with leathers), that produces our favorite 'natural' leather. Natural refers to the color, it is the color leather takes on after tanning, before dying. Natural leather needs to be treated with oils and potentially finishes. We typically use mink oil and finish with sealers that prevent moisture and provide a glossy finish.