I use only superior quality leathers from top U.S. Tanneries. Read on for more information.
"The Horween Leather Company has set the standard for the highest quality leathers since 1905. We offer a wide range of tannages from our vegetable tanned Genuine Shell Cordovan to Sport Leathers and Footwear Leathers, such as Chromexcel. As always, all of our leather is processed at our location on the corner of Elston and Ashland in Chicago, Illinois." - horween.com
"Genuine Shell Cordovan is the art of tanning at its finest. More than just a color, it is a very specific leather, from a particular part of a horsehide. The irregular oval shaped shells are tanned, stuffed, shaved, and then polished – a process taking at least six months. Each shell is slowly steeped in gentle vegetable liquors. The shells are genuine hot stuffed then slicked onto glass frames to dry. Each shell is hand curried and shaved by highly skilled artisans to expose the shell. Dyes are hand rubbed on for a deep aniline finish. Finally, the shells are hand glazed to achieve the rich, glossy look and feel prized by fine craftsmen."
"Chromexcel is the original pull-up leather; using time honored techniques and formulas that were developed nearly 100 years ago. Chromexcel is still produced in the United States using a bark retannage from a proprietary recipe, and then genuine hot stuffed with our secret blend of natural oils and greases. Chromexcel is characterized by a rich pull-up in full aniline, hand rubbed finishes. Made to this day with old world craftsmanship, modern Chromexcel carries on a long history of superior comfort and durability."
"Pull-up" describes the way these leathers lighten in color when you bend them or "pull-up" on them. This is caused by the waxes and oils in the leather and the lightened areas will slowly return to their original darker color.
Others: Cavalier, Dublin, Essex
These leathers are very similar to Chromexcel: waxy and soft with a delicious smell. Cavalier is a vegetable tanned Chromexcel leather that was developed specifically to yield brighter colors than are possible with the original aniline Chromexcel process. Everything Horween tans is truly exceptional, it's hard to go wrong.
WICKETT & CRAIG
"Founded in 1867, Wickett & Craig is a world premiere vegetable tannery. A labor-intensive method that requires skilled workers, veg-tanning is a natural, eco-friendly process that produces durable, exquisite leathers recognized for their depth of color and rich patina. Simply put our leathers not only endure, but get better with age." - wickett-craig.com
This leather is a perfect leather for leather carry goods. It has waxes and oils in it which means it requires very little maintenance. It darkens with the sun and ages beautifully.
I prefer tan harness leather as a substitute to natural veg tooling leather. It has a better feel, a nicer sheen, and it ages much more gracefully, requiring less maintenance but achieving the same stunning results.
HERMANN OAK, ST. LOUIS
Hermann Oak has been tanning since 1881, and it shows.
"We believe pride in one's work is a necessary ingredient in success - as necessary as skill, as necessary as hard work. These attributes, along with a hundred-plus years' experience, have made Hermann Oak Leather the finest leather available today. We strive for excellence." - www.hermannoakleather.com
Also known as natural vegetable tanned leather, this leather is unfinished and will age most dramatically. The leather starts a pale tan color and will darken and just like our skin when exposed to the sun. Treating this leather with a leather oil or balm is recommended (my One Star Leather Balm is the best product I've tried, that's why I started selling it). Oils from treatment and from our hands and the environment also darken it over time. Each piece develops a very unique look based on its use and the habits of the owner.
Bridle leather is stiff with a nice finish on it. They are able to be split thinner than the waxy Horween leathers, so they make better interior pockets when leather layers add up and for exteriors when slimness is paramount. They age beautifully and come in a variety of black and brown colors. Truly exceptional leather.