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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 77

post #1141 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

There is currently more than one "hatchgrain" calf leather around.

As far as I know, an Italian tannery produced a leather some 20-odd years ago, which copied the look of the original Metta Catherina hides.

This is presumably the leather used for those vintage shoes made by Ugolino in Florence:

http://centipede.web.fc2.com/ugolini2.html

For those who haven't seen the site yet "centipede" is a veritable treasure trove of vintage shoes (mainly bespoke).

http://centipede.web.fc2.com/

Maybe three years ago, AA Crack (leather merchants in Northampton) bought a certain amount of that leather as dead-stock from a merchant who was unable to sell it and according to Tony Crack: "sold it so well". That is the leather G&G made popular a few years back. As far as I know, it only came in one colour "Sienna" a red-ish light-mid brown.

When the original stock ran out, Crack approached Horween in Chicago to produce for them a version of that particular leather. (That Horween leather maybe an exclusive for Crack, as I haven't seen it listed on Horween's site)

http://www.aacrack.co.uk/catalogue.asp?product_id=18

The Horween differs from the Italian stuff, that it is veg-tanned (with a chrome re-tan) while the Italian stuff was chrome. Horween is also thicker at 1.5 - 1.8 mm (as opposed to 1.3 - 1.5 mm). The Horween dye is also relatively easily removed, which accounts for some of the problems if the manufacturer of the shoes does not re-dye.

Here is another "Russian" leather, produced in Italy mainly for upholstery:
http://www.edelmanleather.com/products/upholstery-leather/russian-antiqued/

Member "shoefan" used that Edelman leather a few years ago for a pair of shoes. Over the toes, where there is the greatest stretch in the leather, the colour became considerably lighter, again, probably necessitating a re-dye job.

It's fair to presume that the leather currently used by G&G, AS etc is the Horween/Crack stuff. Whether the "hatchgrain" used by Bestetti, Saint Crispin and others comes from Horween/Crack or some other source, I wouldn't know. For all I know, there might be other tanneries producing leather which resembles the historical Metta Catharina leather.

I have had two pairs of shoes made from the Crack/Italian hatchgrain, but I only have samples of the Crack/Horween and Edelman stuff.

Very Illuminating, thank you

Charlie
post #1142 of 1338
I suspect that all the Horween leather is cow. Not calf. All of it has been split. Even at 3-4 ounces, it has been split.

Personally I like a little thicker leather. From what I understand...from a very authoritative source...most leathers being offered and used in men's dress shoes in Europe are in the 2-1/2 ounce range (just received a shipment). A lot of it is coming from Italy and, of course, most of it is from dairy animals as opposed to purely meat breeds. And the raw hides are thinner as a result..

I have used the Edelmann---it is about 2-1/2-3 ounce. It used to come in a chrome tanned version as well as a veg tanned version. The chrome tanned version was a little softer. That said, I had it in navy and the finish held up well and never lightened over any part of the shoe although the hatching did pull out over the toe.

As for the Horween product...this leather might be a candidate for a a good, three part acrylic top coat when the shoe was nearing completion.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/8/14 at 6:35am
post #1143 of 1338
I went to see the 30's fashions exhibit at the FIT Musuem yesterday. They had some bespoke Cleverly shoes from the 1940's as well as many pairs of Fred Astaire's shoes, some where the maker was unknown. The thing that I noticed about them was their calf looked very different then than it does now. It seemed a lot smoother and less porous than a lot of calf we see in shoes today.
post #1144 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I went to see the 30's fashions exhibit at the FIT Musuem yesterday. They had some bespoke Cleverly shoes from the 1940's as well as many pairs of Fred Astaire's shoes, some where the maker was unknown. The thing that I noticed about them was their calf looked very different then than it does now. It seemed a lot smoother and less porous than a lot of calf we see in shoes today.

I think a lot of that is finish although younger animal would undoubtedly have a tighter grain structure. I think it was Thornton who suggested that prime "milk" calf skins (smoothest grain) for women's shoes, would top out at 4-5 square feet. Imagine how small the animal must be to only have a hide 2'x2'.

Thornton also says that the best European calf...suitable for men's work...would usually be 7-10 sq.ft. That's still a very young, very small animal.

But the trend these days is less finish, crust, and older animals. so the grain surface is coarser. Every hair follicle is visible on some leathers.
post #1145 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post


I went to see the 30's fashions exhibit at the FIT Musuem yesterday. They had some bespoke Cleverly shoes from the 1940's.

Are you sure about either Cleverley or the date? George Cleverley worked between the wars as front-of-house-man for Tuczek and it was only in 1956 that he left the firm and started his own shoemaking business in Cork Street.

Quite a few firms which we still know about, Lobb, Tuczek, Maxwell, Peal, Wildsmith, Hellstern, McAffee (and a lot of others we do not know about any more) would have been suitable candidates for the period in question, but not Cleverley.
post #1146 of 1338
I can't be too sure based on the horrible styling and misspellings of the whole installation. Fact is they were really old shoes.
post #1147 of 1338
Fascinating thread, I have just finished reading it end to end. Thank you to all who have contributed.

I have a question about the Metta Catharina leather. There seems to be a lot of this in circulation, with one high-profile brand even selling luggage. Often it is marketed as something like 'Russia Leather'. I am wondering if it is all the genuine article, retrieved from the seabed, or whether there is a supplier(s) who have reproduced the style effectively enough to be indistinguishable from the original?
post #1148 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonC View Post

Fascinating thread, I have just finished reading it end to end. Thank you to all who have contributed.

I have a question about the Metta Catharina leather. There seems to be a lot of this in circulation, with one high-profile brand even selling luggage. Often it is marketed as something like 'Russia Leather'. I am wondering if it is all the genuine article, retrieved from the seabed, or whether there is a supplier(s) who have reproduced the style effectively enough to be indistinguishable from the original?

There are or have been several companies who make a "Russia Leather" that has nothing to do with Reindeers or Russia, such as Horween, we discussed it half a dozen posts or so up from here. Theres no intention on the tanners part to deceive, and the leather certainly isn't a perfect imitation. That said theres always been speculation about whether certain items made using Metta Catherina leather is made only from Metta leather or simply contains enough to justify the description so I would suggest Caveat Emptor is sometimes in order..

Charlie
post #1149 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonC View Post

Fascinating thread, I have just finished reading it end to end. Thank you to all who have contributed.

I have a question about the Metta Catharina leather. There seems to be a lot of this in circulation, with one high-profile brand even selling luggage. Often it is marketed as something like 'Russia Leather'. I am wondering if it is all the genuine article, retrieved from the seabed, or whether there is a supplier(s) who have reproduced the style effectively enough to be indistinguishable from the original?

I think the short answer is "no." It was reindeer to begin with and it was tanned with birch oils, IIRC. It was, according to my sources, highly prized even before it went down with the ship.

It was so unique that a famous cologne--Kolnisch Juchten--was created to smell like Russia Leather. Kolnisch Juchten was formulated around that birch tar basenote.

I only know of one tannery in the world (in Sweden) that is still tanning reindeer and it doesn't really look all that much like the Metta Caterina.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/10/14 at 5:04pm
post #1150 of 1338
With regard to Russian leather, here's a post that I made recently in a thread on Russian leather shoes:

http://www.styleforum.net/t/377221/russian-leather-shoes#post_6979999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

I think that it pays to be very careful when talking about Russian leather, as there are a couple of different kinds.

There's the Russian reindeer leather that was recovered from the sunken Danish brigantine, the Metta Catherina. The supply of that is limited, it is expensive, and is only available (as far as I am aware) as MTO, rather than RTW, at least in regard to shoes and luggage.

Then there's Russian calf leather. This is not old, nor special, nor limited, but is instead calf leather than has been printed in a crosshatch pattern to resemble the famous Russian reindeer leather. I know that Alfred Sargent, for one, sell "Russian calf" shoes - there are a couple of examples here and here.

I've seen plenty of RTW shoes in Russian calf, but no RTW shoes in the Russian reindeer - although I'm very happy to be corrected.

I think that the confusion is intensified by the fact that the Russian reindeer is sometimes referred to as Russian calf (possibly because young reindeer are also referred to as calves).
post #1151 of 1338
Wait, wait, wait, I thought reindeers were just fantasy? Are you saying there is an actual animal that is a reindeer? confused.gif <----Citidiot
post #1152 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Wait, wait, wait, I thought reindeers were just fantasy? Are you saying there is an actual animal that is a reindeer? confused.gif <----Citidiot

I suspect you're thinking of unicorns.

I have a whole reindeer ranch, complete with Santa's sleigh, just down the road from me.
post #1153 of 1338
Spot any jackelopes?
post #1154 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Are you saying there is an actual animal that is a reindeer?

There is! - His name is Rudolph and he has a red nose.

post #1155 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


I suspect you're thinking of unicorns.

I have a whole reindeer ranch, complete with Santa's sleigh, just down the road from me.

 

Its not fantasy.  I am thinking to having a pair made in using the reclaimed 14th century Mongolian unicorn leather washed up by the Indonesian tsunami in 2004.

 

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