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Shell Cordovan Pictures

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
As this has been brought up a few times in the past, I thought it might be interesting to post a pic of a Shell Cordovan shell from Horween to show the size.  It's beyond me how anyone can claim to make a one-piece belt out of Shell Cordovan...unless it's smaller than a 22.  Of course, there may be some difference from another hide that is being represented as Genuine Shell Cordovan, but here is a first-hand photo to consider.  Also, I looked at Ben Silvers website and they have there a quote to the effect of 'the shells are not large enough to make one piece belts, so they are always pieced'.  I thought I remember one of their books advertising 'one-piece shell cordovan belts', but I guess I was wrong... The size here, and this is pretty standard, is 24in. x 18in. This is Navy Blue Shell Cordovan from Horween, and is being made into a belt for a customer to match a pair of custom Shell Cordovan shoes from Martegani...
post #2 of 14
I dunno -- Ben Silver has both one piece and multiple piece cordovan belts
post #3 of 14
My question is this: if there is a horse large enough to supply the shell for a one-piece belt, would you want to wrassle with it? I think I'd just leave the damned beast alone until it died of hugeness.
post #4 of 14
There is definitely some kind of joke to be made regarding the cordovan ligament (??) coming from a horse's ass... ...but I'm too much of a gentleman (and not funny enough) to make it.
post #5 of 14
What is the natural color of cordovan?
post #6 of 14
Tanned cordovan looks like so: The School of Veterinary Medicine at Kitasato University, Aomori, Japan has done extensive work on the dermis of horses. A paper they produced in 1995 is summarized thus:
Quote:
We have observed and re-evaluated the histology of the skin of the horse, using samples from four Thoroughbreds. The skin was composed of the usual three components: epidermis, dermis and subcutis. In particular, the dermis was found to have three fibrous components: a papillary layer, a reticular layer and a cordovan-leather tissue layer. The cordovan-leather tissue layer was subdivided into a superficial main layer and a deeper accessory layer. The superficial main layer was thick, and present in all of the skin samples. The deeper accessory layer was found in the dorsal and dorso-lateral parts of the neck and trunk and in the extremities. Hair bulbs and sudoriferous glands did not extend into the cordovan-leather tissue layer and subcutis.
The cordovan shells used to create shoes are what they refer to as the superficial main layer of the cordovan-leather tissue layer of the dermis. Ta Daa.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
I thought I remember one of their books advertising 'one-piece shell cordovan belts', but I guess I was wrong...
I distinctly remember that as well. I don't see how it possibly could have been true. Nice color.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Mystery solved.  Spent some time checking into the possibilities here, in regards to one-pice 'shell' cordovan belts, and, thanks to StagRavens picture, I found another jobber selling Shell Cordovan here in the States.  I had never seen that color before, even from the Italian agent, and had to figure it out.  While finding the picture that was posted of the mahogany type color of the shell, the same guy sells: Well, this leather isn't cordovan (for genuine cordovan see below), but it's from just (drum roll) North of Cordovan.  Guess we could call it horse hips, but it doesn't have the same ring.  It's very nice leather, and we sell it in these strips.  Strips tend to run about 2 to 3 square feet in total area, roughly 5 feet long overall, from a few inches wide to maybe ten inches wide. Seems perfectly legit, but it is NOT 'Genuine Shell Cordovan'.  Might be a small point (I think it is minor), but I am much happier now that I know no one is producing 'one-piece Genuine Shell Cordovan' belts.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
No, this is the natural tanned appearance of Shell Cordovan before color is added...
post #10 of 14
In the past, I had discussed this matter of one-piece shell cordovan belts with my pal Greg Kramer, who is one of the world's most eminent holstermakers. He had assured me that a one-piece belt was an impossibility. (He does most of his work with horsehide, some with shell cordovan.) Some people in this forum claimed based on catalog statements that there were such things as one-piece shell cordovan belts although such claims sounded very fishy to me. Glad to see this confirmed. It seems to me a clear misrepresentation to try to pass off horsehide as "shell cordovan." I am wearing a horsehide belt from Kramer as I type this--it ain't shell cordovan. Back in the old days when giant draft horses were much more common, one-piece belts of shell, at least in the smaller sizes, might have been more feasible.
post #11 of 14
... or one-piece belts for toddlers and infants.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
In the past, I had discussed this matter of one-piece shell cordovan belts with my pal Greg Kramer, who is one of the world's most eminent holstermakers. He had assured me that a one-piece belt was an impossibility. (He does most of his work with horsehide, some with shell cordovan.) Some people in this forum claimed based on catalog statements that there were such things as one-piece shell cordovan belts although such claims sounded very fishy to me. Glad to see this confirmed. It seems to me a clear misrepresentation to try to pass off horsehide as "shell cordovan." I am wearing a horsehide belt from Kramer as I type this--it ain't shell cordovan. Back in the old days when giant draft horses were much more common, one-piece belts of shell, at least in the smaller sizes, might have been more feasible.
isn't the shell cordavan used for shoes from mules? mules didn't get that much bigger.....
post #13 of 14
According to Kramer, there is no real difference between the shells from mules and horses. He tells me that a large percentage of the shells and hides that Horween uses come from France and Italy, largely because hippophagy is still practiced there to some extent.
post #14 of 14
I suspected, but I must admit I had to look it up (philistine that I am): HIPPOPH'AGY, n. [Gr. a horse, and to eat.] The act or practice of feeding on horses.
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