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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 81

post #1201 of 1309

Pat, excellent documentary and very true with the production of leather especially with the chromium in some of these unregulated countries.  If you toss in the exotic animal trade and their treatment you would have a really really sad documentary.

 

I am not sure of the other western countries but i could tell you American tanneries, the few left are well regulated and pollution on this scale does not exist.  Water is recycled.

post #1202 of 1309
I hope the European tanneries have similar regulation as the American ones. I'd think so for the most part.
post #1203 of 1309
Not to put too fine a point on it, chromium salts are not the only way to tan leather...some would say not even the best way, esp. if you want to consider/protect people and the environment.

But the same could be said for topy, rubber heels, dyes, finishes, some waxes and conditioners and a multitude of components that go into manufacturing shoes.
post #1204 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Moral of the story: Don't buy cheap leather products!!!

This. Cheaper leather comes from third world countries and its fair to say its not a nice process for anyone/thing involved. European tanneries simply dont work like this though and I imagine US ones dont either. As an additional upside leather goods made in Europe and the US tend not to be made by children in awful conditions as happens else where. The moral as Patrick says, is dont buy cheap and expect to have a clear conscience

The flip side of the coin. This is Bakers, the last oak bark tannery in the UK where a lot of our leather comes from. The process is very very old, but carried out with respect for the environment and the workers and using local cattle http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-14442109

Charlie
post #1205 of 1309
That's is what I was thinking while watching this. Isn't vegetable tanning a completely natural way for tanning leather that is not in any way harmful? Granted it takes way longer and produces a very specific kind of leather (to my knowledge).

What was going through my mind also is the salt used on roads, that's horrible for water supplies and vegetation that is exposed to it as well.

There's also brain tanning using the brains of dead animals. I am not clear on whether that is actually producing leather, or rather rawhide though.
post #1206 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

That's is what I was thinking while watching this. Isn't vegetable tanning a completely natural way for tanning leather that is not in any way harmful? Granted it takes way longer and produces a very specific kind of leather (to my knowledge).

What was going through my mind also is the salt used on roads, that's horrible for water supplies and vegetation that is exposed to it as well.

There's also brain tanning using the brains of dead animals. I am not clear on whether that is actually producing leather, or rather rawhide though.

Natural doesnt necessarily equal good for people or the environment, plants produce some pretty nasty toxins too. Vegetable tanned leather from a country with environmental legislation is going to be as good as you can get though.

It should be said chrome tanning and its relations arent limited to cheap leather or the third world though, much of the calf leather thats made in France, Germany, Italy etc will be chrome (or similar) tanned. It is a quicker technique but it produces a softer leather then veg tanning so its the right (as well as quicker and therefore cheaper) technique for a lot of leather for leathergoods and shoes. How its done in the EU and US will be a world away from non regulated places and is one of the reasons good leather is so expensive.

Charlie
post #1207 of 1309
Regarding brain tanning; I read somewhere some time ago that Lexol conditioner might be made from such dressing solutions.
post #1208 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

That's is what I was thinking while watching this. Isn't vegetable tanning a completely natural way for tanning leather that is not in any way harmful? Granted it takes way longer and produces a very specific kind of leather (to my knowledge).

That's what I was referring to abve when I said that there were other, perhaps better, ways to tan leather.

Once upon a time...and not so very long ago...chrome tanning was unknown. The whole shoe from outsole to insole to upper was vegetable tanned.

A couple of years ago I started experimenting with using "English lining kips"--a very nice, dense, firm veg. leather that, except for the natural colour, is very well suited for uppers. For uppers you'd have to dye it and dying can be a whole 'nuther ballgame simply because of the "strike." But it can be done. It can even be done with non-alcohol based dyes.
post #1209 of 1309
What is the tanning process for crust leather like, as opposed to chrome tanned leather?
post #1210 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbfn View Post

Regarding brain tanning; I read somewhere some time ago that Lexol conditioner might be made from such dressing solutions.

Lexol is synthetic sperm whale oil emulsified in water. Nothing more, nothing less.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


A couple of years ago I started experimenting with using "English lining kips"--a very nice, dense, firm veg. leather that, except for the natural colour, is very well suited for uppers. For uppers you'd have to dye it and dying can be a whole 'nuther ballgame simply because of the "strike." But it can be done. It can even be done with non-alcohol based dyes.

This sounds awesome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

What is the tanning process for crust leather like, as opposed to chrome tanned leather?

Crust refers to the finishing of the leather for appearance purposes. Tanning is just the process of making the skin not rot and also be a useable material. They aren't really related.
post #1211 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

That's is what I was thinking while watching this. Isn't vegetable tanning a completely natural way for tanning leather that is not in any way harmful? Granted it takes way longer and produces a very specific kind of leather (to my knowledge).

What was going through my mind also is the salt used on roads, that's horrible for water supplies and vegetation that is exposed to it as well.

There's also brain tanning using the brains of dead animals. I am not clear on whether that is actually producing leather, or rather rawhide though.

Not at all.......of the three types of tanning, all have been found to have equal potential of negative environmental impacts. It's all about waste processing and that goes hand-in-hand with regulation.
post #1212 of 1309
Crazy...
post #1213 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Lexol is synthetic sperm whale oil emulsified in water. Nothing more, nothing less.

This guy thinks otherwise. However, I have read more about it being synthetic oil as you're saying.
post #1214 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

Not at all.......of the three types of tanning, all have been found to have equal potential of negative environmental impacts. It's all about waste processing and that goes hand-in-hand with regulation.

I don't think so...it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying that there are no negative impacts but when you base your process on, or start out with, chromium salts, which are highly toxic, it's going to be a far cry from starting out with oak bark. And that's just the start, what is the end like--the effluent? Still chromium sulfate in the case of chrome tanning and only vegetable extracts in veg tans--natural, compostable, non-toxic, etc..

In the case of Baker, and all the other small tanneries that the slideshow alluded to (as well as tanneries in the US in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries most, if not all of which were bark tannages) there were no regulations, and no long term deleterious effects, on people or the environment either.

Salt--sodium chloride--is not part of the tanning process, it is a temporary preservation technique that is effected often before the hides even reach the tannery.

As for chrome tanned leathers being softer than veg. tanned leathers...that's not been my experience. Some...maybe even most are...but that is just as dependent on after tanning processes as what colour the leather will be. I've seen (and used veg tanned sides that were as spongy (moreso), loose and soft as any chrome. And judging by the "hand" softer than anything but leathers like deerskin. Several outfits in Germany...Ecotan comes to mind...produce a entirely veg tanned lining calf that is as soft or softer than any chrome tanned orthopedic "pearl cow." I've used it, I love it...I can't afford the price or the wait.

--
Edited by DWFII - 6/5/14 at 7:34am
post #1215 of 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbfn View Post

This guy thinks otherwise. However, I have read more about it being synthetic oil as you're saying.

There's a lesson to be learned from relying on Internet postings...there must be.

I don't know where that information comes from or how valid it is. I've spoken to Lexol a number of times and been unable to squeeze any real info out of them regarding their ingredients. I also think it would be highly impracticable to source enough, or even use, brains for an ingredient. American Indians did it, but it was "farm to table," as who should say.

As for synthetic sperm whale oil (real sperm oil is different from other whale or fish oils), the only thing that I've run across that comes close is jojoba oil. Its molecular composition is almost indistinguishable from that of sperm whale oil, at least for a layman like me. Somewhere on the 'Net there is a treatise on this very subject along with illustrations of the respective molecules...I can't find it this morning, however there are numerous articles that confirm, even if only by implication, the similarities.

--
Edited by DWFII - 6/5/14 at 7:36am
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