How is Leather Made? (Part 3: Finishing the Leather)

Step1. Soften the leather. A machine called a staker can soften the leather by stretching it and lubricating it with natural oils. This process ensures the leather stays pliable.

Step2. Apply a leather softening oil. Once a hide is about 80% dry, apply the oil to the surface on the skin side. Coat the entire surface evenly. Repeat several times through the drying process.

Step3. Smoke the hide. The hide is soft and pliable, but depending on your purpose you may want to smoke the hide to force the tannin into the fibers. Stitch the hide to form a bag and suspend the opening above a small smoky fire for several hours.

Step4. Apply a finish. The leather can be buffed or polished. You might choose to treat the leather with a coat of acrylic or polyurethane to make patent leather. You can also emboss leather to create permanent shapes or designs in the fabric if desired. Finally, cut the leather based on the end user’s specifications.

leather

How is Leather Made? (Part 2: Tanning the Leather)

Part2.Tanning The Leather

Step 1. Decide on a tanning process. This can be a one to four day process, depending on which method you choose.

Step 2. Load the leathers into a large drum. You will need a large container to hold all your hides and the tanning agent.

leather

Step 3. Add the tanning agent to the drum. The tannin which you select will displace the water and replace it will collagens from the chemicals or substances. You will need to let the leather soak from several hours to 6 days depending on which tanning method you select and the size and quantity of the hides.

dyeing-the-leather

Step 4. Add any dyes to the container. Dyes are what can be used to give the leather a color other than the natural look. If you are going to dye all of your leather the same color, you can add the dye during the tanning process, or you can wait until after the tanning process.

Leather_dyeing_vats_in_Fes_2

Step 5. Rinse the leather. The leather will need a thorough rinse after tanning. This will ensure any chemicals and dyes are removed. Use warm water and some mild soaps that contain natural ingredients.

copper-river-bag-co-tannery

Step 6. Dry the leather. After the skins have gone through the tannage process, they can be considered leather. Hang the leather out to dry. Hang the leather over rods in a cool, semi-moist area. You can use a fan to help speed up the drying process, but leather should dry slowly so be patient.

Igualada-Museu_de_la_Pell_(7)

How is leather made? (Part1)

Leather is a material made from the skin of an animal using tanning or other similar processes. Leather is not susceptible to bacteria and decay because of the altering of the protein structure in the skin. The process of making leather dates back to ancient civilizations and has evolved into a streamlined process.Generally, it can be summarized as 3 parts.

leather

Part 1. Prepping the Hide

  • Remove the skin from the flesh of an animal.Skin the animal by setting it on it’s back, on an incline when possible. Use a good hunting knife for skinning, and a gut hook knife to gut the animal.
  • Pull the flesh off the hide.Manufacturers use a mechanical fleshing machine to remove the flesh from the inside of the skin. Running the inside of the skin over the steel roller of the machine will eliminate any excess flesh. If you don’t have access to a fleshing machine, you can purchase fleshing tools from a hunting store or taxidermy supply store.
  • Salt the skin.Apply a generous layer of salt to the skin, or create a brine and soak the skin.This will act as a preservative to keep the hide from decomposing. Fresh skins need to be salted or frozen within the first few hours, otherwise they may be destroyed.Fold the hide in half so the flesh sides are together. Leave for 24 hours. Scrape away any remaining salt and repeat.
  • Soak the skin in water. Soaking will help remove any dirt or other materials from the skin. Fill a large 35 gallon (132L) or so container with fresh, cool water. Place the hide in the water for at least a day. The longer you let the hide soak, the easier it may make the hair removal process.

soak the skin in water

  • Remove the hair from the skin.This can be done chemically with a solution of calcium oxide (also known as slaked lime, whitewash, or calcium hydroxide) bath. You can also use the same tools for dehairing that were used for fleshing. Remove all the hair and the epidermis, then hang the skin to dry.

remove the skin

  • Give the skin a final lime bath.Add one teaspoon (5mL) of calcium hydroxide per gallon (3.8L) of water to create limewater.This bath is known as bating and will remove any inter-fiber substances and unnecessary proteins. It will also help to soften the skin and loosen any remaining hairs.Remove the skin from the lime bath and rinse it thoroughly until clean.

final bath

How Many Types of Leather Do You Know?

leather-types

The leather has a very wide range of uses , you can see leather products everywhere such as leather bag, leather accessories, leather shoes and so on. However, do you know how many types of leather we came into contact with in our daily life? I’ll give you some introductions in the following paragraph.

According to purpose leather , it can be divided into : living with leather, leather for defense, industrial leather, leather for culture and sports.

living-with-leather
Living with Leather
industrial-leather
Industrial Leather

According to tanning leather, it can be divided into chrome tanned leather, vegetable leather, chamois leather, aldehyde tanned leather and combination tanned leather. In addition, it can also be divided into light leather and heavy leather. Light leather is measured by area, usually used for surface of shoes, clothing, gloves , etc. Heavy leather is measured by weight, tanned by thick animal skins, usually use for the inner shoes and industrial accessories.

Chrome Tanned Leather
Chrome Tanned Leather
Vegetable Leather
Vegetable Leather
Chamois Leather
Chamois Leather
Aldehyde Tanned Leather
Aldehyde Tanned Leather

According to the animal species, it can be divided into pig leather, cow leather, horse leather, deerskin, sheepskin, etc.

Cattle Leather
Cattle Leather
Horse Leather
Horse Leather
Deerskin
Deerskin
Sheepskin
Sheepskin
Snake Leather
Snake Leather
Crocodile Leather
Crocodile Leather

According to the hierarchy, it can be divided into grain leather and split leather. Besides, grain leather includes top-grain leather and hand buff. Split leather includes pig split and cow split. Cow leather and sheep leather usually used for high-level leather products.

Sheepskin Top Grain Leather
Sheepskin Top Grain Leather
Pig Split Leather
Pig Split Leather

Leather Gloves Cleanning Tips

I love the way a pair of bright leather gloves add a spark of color when I’m wearing a dark winter coat. The only problem is light-colored gloves seem to get dirty much more quickly than dark brown or black gloves do. So when the fingers of my favorite pair of red leather gloves had turned embarrassingly dark, I decided it was time to try to clean them. Here are the steps that what worked for me.

1. With a dampened a paper towel, work a small bit of saddle soap (I used Meltonian Saddle Soap) into a lather.

2. Don one glove and with the sudsy paper towel in the other hand gently work the soap into the soiled areas.

3. After several seconds, use a new damp paper towel to rinse away the soap and grime.

4. Repeat steps 1-3, if needed. And then do the same with the other glove.

5. Allow both gloves to air dry.

Wet leather loses color easily, so don’t over-wet or vigorously rub the gloves. After seeing how well my red gloves turned out, I cleaned a pair of black ones, too. It was difficult to tell if they really looked any cleaner, but the leather certainly felt cleaner and softer, so I was pleased.

How to Make Your Leather Gloves Last Longer?

When you buy a pair of expensive and beautiful leather gloves, you may want to wear them everyday but you’ll worry about the wear and tear of leather gloves. Actually, any leather products will be worn out such as leather bags, leather shoes, leather accessories and so on. Now I’ll give you several damage examples of leather gloves and teach you how to deal with it.

brown leather gloves men

  1. Stain Spots

First, you can use a clean sponge with a mild soap, little white wine or alcohol to wipe dirt.

Second, wipe it again with clean water.

Third, just let the leather dry naturally.

If it still don’t work, you may have to use a detergent solution to deal with the stain, but remember wipe it very carefully to avoid making damage to the surface of leather.

  1. High Temperature and Sunlight

Try not to let leather gloves be directly shined by sunlight for a long time or put them near any heater, otherwise the leather will be more and more dry, the elasticity and softness will slowly disappear too.

Keep these suggestions in your mind and your favorite leather gloves can last longer.