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Where oh where? Anbody Know?

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Horsewright, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Makael

    Makael Leather Craftsman Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Interesting, I was curious why chrome tanned was banned. I'm not familiar with it.
    Pros with vegetable tanned leather:
    • Vegetable tanned leather, using only natural tannins, has no negative environmental impact.
    • The tanning method is ancient and requires skilled craftsmen, making vegetable tanned leather products more prestigious.
    • Due to the careful tanning process and the natural tannins, vegetable tanned leather develops a rich and beautiful patina, and actually gets better with time and use. It doesn’t crack or dry out and thus has a very long lifespan.
    • It has an earthy and natural tone and smell.


    Cons:
    • Vegetable tanned leather is initially a bit stiff and has to be broken in to become fully flexible and functional.
    • The colors from vegetable tanning are not as livid as in chrome tanning and darken over time.
    • Vegetable tanned leather takes 30-60 days to produce, making the products generally more expensive.






    Pros with chrome tanned leather:
    • Chrome tanning is quick and cheap and can be easily automated and achieved in one single day. Chrome tanned products are thus cheaper and more abundant than vegetable tanned leather products.
    • The colors of the leather remain unchanged during the product’s entire lifespan.
    • It is thinner and softer than vegetable tanned leather.



    Cons:
    • The process of chrome tanning creates toxic wastewater that has detrimental environmental impact, (especially in the third world).
    • Chrome tanned products neither wears well nor lasts very long and can crack after a few months of use.
    • Chrome tanned products doesn’t appear very natural and often carries a chemical smell.




    Final verdict
    While vegetable tanned leather does take longer to produce, in a process requiring the care of skilled craftsmen, making for a more expensive product, the tradition and handmade process adds to the richness and the exclusivity of vegetable tanned leather, in stark contrast to the mass produced chrome tanned leather. It also adds to vegetable tanned leather products impressive ageing and longevity, whereas the chrome tanned products will wear badly and crack sooner rather than later
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  2. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Not sure where that came from but can't agree with all of it. We were redoing our Chinks page (chinks are a shorter type of chap or legging) on our website last night. I was going through the sample cards of all the different types of of chrome tan leather that we use in these items. I was looking for some verbiage to help describe the different leathers. The thing that struck me was quality in quality out. So they were talking about large native USA steers on one and German hides on another. These were on some of the premium leathers we use. Noticed on the sample cards that were showing more econo leather they never said where the hides were from. Also important to note they were talking about where the hides were from, not where they were tanned. They never mentioned where they were tanned. But Paul has mentioned many times in these very pages: junk in and junk out. Wellnot exactly what he says but ya get the idea.

    I do know that over the years many tanneries here in the US have shut down for enviromental concerns.

    The idea that chrome tanned leather will crack before veg tan is just not true. I'd go the other way in fact and say cheap veg tan is way more likey to crack than cheap chrome tan. Veg tan is a stiffer leather, chrome tan is more flexible, its their characteristices. This is personal expericence based on seeing, using and making thousands and thousands of items out of both types of leather. I have made many hundreds and hundreds of leggings, honestly probably pushing a thousand pair or more if ya count all the different types. The only pair not made out of chrome tan is the pair of boarhide ones I posted pics of in this thread. All others have been chrome tan. They are gonna get abraded, they are gonna get scratched, they are gonna get rained on, they are gonna get snowed on, they are gonna get used in country so dry a dust devil will choke, they are gonna get used in wind so harsh that the wind turbines shut down. They are gonna get soaked in horse sweat in parts, covered in gucamole, worming medicine, blood and other things and they are not gonna get taken care of. They are gonna get hung off a saddle, forked over a horse, bucked off a horse, run over by a pissed off cow, thrown in the back of a pick up, hung on a wall in an ol dusty barn, but they aren't gonna get taken care. No conditioner, no nothing. Real wet country a guy might put some chap wax on a pair of oiltan shotguns but thats about it. Do they have a lifespan? Yes. Will chrome tan wear out before veg tan? No. Just doesn't Years and years ago I didn't even use the good stuff. I go to a branding and see some pair of chinks I made 20 odd years ago, still in use. I've even tried to buy some of em back. I wanna cut em up and throw em away cause I tell em it looks like Freddy Flintstone made em. But I get No I love em. So they keep on motoring on. Anyhoo just has not been my experience.

    By the way @Makael thanks for your service! Just saw that in your sig line. My dad was a Capt, Army Air Corp in WW2, Lt in the RAF too but thats another story. Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  3. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    True story about the chrome tan life and longevity there, Dave. I used mostly, if not all, Chrome tanned leather for all my chaps and chinks. Of course, most of mine went into the arena on team penners and rough stock riders, but they also got subjected to little no care after delivery, particularly the rough stock riders. My daughters are still wearing and using chinks that are now 15/20 years old and while they don't look quite new, they are still pretty good looking, and plenty serviceable. They have a few stains but that just adds "mileage character". I'd say they are just "broken in".

    Of course, like any leather of any tannage there's good and bad and I, like you, am/was always careful to choose the good stuff.

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  4. Makael

    Makael Leather Craftsman Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Have you guys looked into it? I can't find one article regarding anything this side of extremely toxic and chrome tanned leather. Just Google chrome tanned leather. I'm far from an expert but evidence suggests it should be banned altogether.
    It's obvious by your outdoor living that you love the healthy lifestyle. The work I've seen from you guys is next to perfect,

    Please don't see this as anything other than sharing information. Veg tanned is the product I'll use due to its environmental friendly nature. Keep up the good work.
     
  5. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Makael, I am not , and I am sure Dave is not trying to refute your findings concerning toxicity. Only letting you know that my/our experience with chrome tanned leathers does not suggest they will degrade, crack or otherwise become useless prematurely.

    Paul
     
  6. Makael

    Makael Leather Craftsman Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    I agree, I am not familiar enough to offer an opinion to be honest. It's all good.
    Thank you
     
  7. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    We all have experience with chrome tanned leather. Maybe not as a maker but we all have experience. Most leather items we come in contact on a daily basis are made out of chrome tanned leather or parts of them are. Ever sat on a leather couch, chair, barstool? Got a leather jacket? Shoes or boots on your feet? Wallet in the back pocket or a purse slung over the shoulder for the ladies, watch bands, belt linings, holster linings etc the list goes on and on. Chrome tanned is good for somethings and veg tan is good for others.

    Some years ago one of our two major veg tan tanneries went through some problems. The product they were producing was sub par. This was all over the internet. Reasons given were the drought, younger cattle being slaughtered because of the drought, tannery getting calf hides instead of full grown steer hides and that the cow herd in the US was the same size as it was in 1950. This discussion even boiled over into these pages getting heated at times. But some of those reasons had the rancher/cattlemen side of me calling bs. So did some research. Now let me tell ya what I'm talking about. At that time I was having my sheath shapes die cut by a major leather supply starting with a W. They shall not be named as they broke the cowboy code, have no honor and shall not be mentioned by name, nuther story there though. I would order a side of this premium leather from them they would die cut it all up with my dies and send it to me. So I receive this box and lots of my sheath shapes have hair on em. Not enough that someone just made a mistake and grabbed a hair on side and cut it up. But here there patches of hair, there was more hair over there. Now think about this. Some tanner at the tannery looked at this side and said good to go. Some QC inspector then said good to go, then somebody loaded it onto the pallet saying good to go. Then somebody at the suppliers received this pallet and said good to go, then somebody from the cutting room grabbed this side and cut it up saying good to go, then somebody from shipping packaged it all up and sent it to me saying good to go. I get the package and say NOT good to go what the heck? Here's a side that never should of left the tannery. Had nothing to do with the drought, size of the cattle herd or anything else simply bad QC all the way down the line. So do some digging on these reasons. Find out two outfits actually track these numbers. The USDA and one of those outfits that try to get ya to send em money by showing you starving rescue dogs on late night TV. Interesting the numbers from the two different sources coincided. But it does make ya wonder why the outfit that's gonna send ya a free t-shirt with your $19.95 a month, you know only thirty five cents a day guys are spending that money not on rescued starving abused dogs and cats but on tracking cattle numbers that are already being tracked? Hmm makes a guy go hmm hidden agenda hmm?

    Anyhow already knew the drought deal was bs. We sold off about 70 percent of our herd due to the drought. But ya know what they didn't go to slaughter, they took a bus ride. They went to Kansas where they'd had plenty of rain. Couple of years earlier I'd bought some of those same cows. They'd come from Oregon where it was droughty and I bought em here in Cali where we had grass that year. Nobody slaughters cows because of the drought. They are too valuable a commodity. It would be like selling your car but only charging for the tires.

    Ok so because of the drought we're slaughtering cattle younger which produce smaller and less quality hide for the tannery. Nope the slaughter weight has not changed for decades. It was and still is 1100 lbs. So hides are the same size.

    Ok that leaves us with the cow herd in the US being the smallest since 1950. So what does that imply? Fewer good hides for the tannery? Just not like it was in the good old days. Ya know what, they were right the cow herd in the US is the same as 1950. But here's the part they didn't tell ya. We're better cattlemen now then then. Why? Because the same amount of cows are producing far more steers for slaughter. By a lot. There are actually more hides to chose from, of the same size and of the same quality for the tannery as there has always been.

    So what was the problem. QC, as my story related. Also received several sides that were still rawhide in the middle from the same tannery. Glad to say they fixed it and their leather now is as good as it was in the old days. While am I writing all this? Heck don't even remember. See I am old. Hope it was interesting.
     
  8. KingsArmourer

    KingsArmourer

    61
    Nov 21, 2017
    Well, being a quality technician in the real world I can tell you that was fascinating :). Thanks!
     
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  9. ndmiller

    ndmiller Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    Not in leather, but the Apparel business, but probably applies to most consumer goods. QC on quality product is critical to maintaining quality product. And the customer can generally smell the BS coming before the owner leaves the kitchen to serve it.

    Interesting for sure.
     
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  10. darkmatter35

    darkmatter35

    366
    Aug 21, 2011
    Thanks Dave, it is interesting. I enjoy learning about the origin of the material that I work with as well as how to put it all together. I recently bought a couple of #1 grade sides from the tannery, its the nicest leather to work with since I started buying leather. Others I have bought came from suppliers.
    John S.
     
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  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks guys. Good deal John. Its expensive that way but worth it isn't it? How's that folder sheath wearing! @darkmatter35
     
  12. darkmatter35

    darkmatter35

    366
    Aug 21, 2011
    I ware it everyday to and from work. The baked in retention is holding great . I think its a vary underestimated style , almost disappears on the belt and is easily accessible. Easy to make and I like the style.
    The Skirting leather sides I bought were standard grade (#1),what I noticed is the grain is tight and its vary easy to burnish the edges.
    John S.
     
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  13. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Good deal glad that is working out for ya.
     
  14. Trapper336

    Trapper336

    14
    Nov 22, 2008
    30 plus yeares ago my brother went to school at the University in Tuson. My Dad said he would feed the cows if I wanted to visit him in the winter so I went and while there me and another guy went to visit a tannery at Mesa that chrome tanned 1000 heifer hides a day for garment leather. It smelled bad from a couple miles away. They scraped the hides and saved the scrapings in a big stinking vat. I asked what the did with the contents and they said they sold it to cosmetic companys . I couldn't wait to get home to let my Mom know what she was using. Also went to a rodeo up in the Superstition Mountains
    and the horses there had more hair than the horses got here in good old ND.
     

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