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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 82

post #1216 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

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.

--

Ehh....it's all a bunch of hippie hand-wringing, if you ask me.

But - and I can't find the pdf I grabbed years ago right now - here is a link that apparently references the same study.....a study paid for by an Eco group.

http://www.all-about-leather.co.uk/what-is-leather/the-eco-leather-story.htm

As well, and I'm sure you know, most 'veg' leathers sold are really chrome tanned with a veg retan.......true veg tanned will not hold up against the elements without additional processing. Which brings you right back to where you started.

Finally, It's funny that folks will worry about the processing of the material, in general, and then post in another thread about how can they eliminate any signs of a natural material wearing, cover a spot, change the color, etc., etc. Veg tanned leathers will change everyday they see light and more when they see rain.
post #1217 of 1338
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.

That guy is an idiot.

These guys, who actually make Lexol say differently. Draw your own conclusions...

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/hawgwash/Lexol.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


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.

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JOJOBA-SPERM%20WHALE-VEG%20OIL%20copy.jpg
post #1218 of 1338
That was an interesting read......saw it long ago so much has changed, for sure, there.

Also, just for the record.....Saphir does use, in fact, real Mink Oil. Sourced from Finland.

The Creme Universelle uses Jojoba Oil, interestingly enough.

Also, you have to be very careful reading older publications regarding products. Manufacturers in this business change formulas at the drop of a hat.
post #1219 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

That was an interesting read......saw it long ago so much has changed, for sure, there.


Also, you have to be very careful reading older publications regarding products. Manufacturers in this business change formulas at the drop of a hat.

Good to know. I like the Universelle. It seems lighter and less of a polish. It sinks in more.
post #1220 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

Ehh....it's all a bunch of hippie hand-wringing, if you ask me.

I would laugh, except I have to deal with the consequences every day. One of the best shoemakers to ever come on StyleForum contracted leukemia not so long ago. His doctors are convinced that it had its roots in the chemicals that modern shoemakers are exposed to. I, myself, have issues with my liver that are very similar to the kinds of problems that heavy drinkers experience...despite the fact that I drink seldom and then only in limited amounts.

Additionally, I have seen and dealt with folks that have chrome allergies...brought on entirely by wearing shoes or boots that have chrome tanned linings. This is from residual chromium salts in the leather. Never see that with veg tans.
Quote:
But - and I can't find the pdf I grabbed years ago right now - here is a link that apparently references the same study.....a study paid for by an Eco group.

http://www.all-about-leather.co.uk/what-is-leather/the-eco-leather-story.htm

Trouble there is that noting is cited...nothing is explained--it's as simple-minded as the chicken-little environmentalist claiming that the sky is falling. Where's the studies? Where's the evidence?

Where is a detailed account of how such vegetable matter...and extracts derived from them...are harmful to the environment or people?
Quote:
As well, and I'm sure you know, most 'veg' leathers sold are really chrome tanned with a veg retan.......true veg tanned will not hold up against the elements without additional processing. Which brings you right back to where you started.

Yes, but that only muddles the issue. It's a strawman, if you will. Retans are neither here nor there, neither one nor the other. Once the chrome agents are added, any non-toxicity that we may associate with veg tans is obviated.
Quote:
...true veg tanned will not hold up against the elements without additional processing

I don't think I agree with that. Again, most chromes have a finish (see below) most veg's don't All other things being equal, I suspect veg is no more vulnerable to the elements (or only marginally so) than chrome.
Quote:
Finally, It's funny that folks will worry about the processing of the material, in general, and then post in another thread about how can they eliminate any signs of a natural material wearing, cover a spot, change the color, etc., etc. Veg tanned leathers will change everyday they see light and more when they see rain.

I won't say you're wrong because you're not. But the same can be said about chromes. Chrome tanned crusts, for instance. Of course, once you apply an acrylic finish...effectively sealing (and "correcting") the grain it's a whole 'nuther ball game.

Veg tannages have never had either the research into, nor the application of, finishes the way chrome has. I've seen some veg tannages with finishes and they don't differ...visually or functionally...all that much from finished chrome. W. Pierce, in the UK, was offering some before the mad cow outbreak force them to go out of business.

--
Edited by DWFII - 6/5/14 at 9:08am
post #1221 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post


JOJOBA-SPERM%20WHALE-VEG%20OIL%20copy.jpg

That was it!!...didn't I post that here some years ago?
post #1222 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

That guy is an idiot.

These guys, who actually make Lexol say differently. Draw your own conclusions...

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/hawgwash/Lexol.html

You don't happen to have a synopsis of what that article said? The link to the website seems to be down.
post #1223 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

That was it!!...didn't I post that here some years ago?

Yes, sir!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

You don't happen to have a synopsis of what that article said? The link to the website seems to be down.

Yes, sir!
Quote:
A candid interview with Dr. Don Jenkins and Phil Meyers from Summit Industries




Dr. Don Jenkins (left) and Phil Meyers, Vice President of Summit Industries (right)


Q. What is leather conditioning?
A. Conditioning replaces the natural tanning oils evaporating out of the hide. The smell of leather comes from these oils. If not replaced, leather will eventually dry out, become brittle and crack. Think of these tanning oils as microscopic, lubricating oils. If you look at leather under a microscope, the fibers look like a pile of rope that's all tangled up. Tanning oils coat these fibers allowing them to bend, move and slip across one another. These oils keep the leather soft and supple. Without lubrication, leather fibers will become stiff and brittle. When repeatedly flexed, stiff, dry fibers will simply break and the leather will develop cracks.

Q. That sounds simple enough. So what makes a good tanning oil or lubricant for conditioning leather?
A. All cow hides are naturally oily. Unfortunately, these natural oils are stripped away in the tanning process (Tanning is the process that renders the hide invulnerable to decay.) and some equivalent oils must be re-introduced after tanning. This last tanning step, the replacement of oils, is called "fatliquoring." Over the centuries, a number of oils have been found that have a natural affinity for leather fibers. Every leather tanner has his own, unique, blend of tanning oils. These formulas are closely held secrets, passed down through the generations. This is one reason why one company's leather can have a totally different feel, fragrance, texture and softness from another company's product. Tanning oils can contain a variety of oils including Neatsfoot oil, Sperm Whale Oil, pressed lard and Lanolin.

Q. I've heard the term Neatsfoot oil. What is it? Where does it come from?
A. Neat is an archaic name for hooved animals (i.e. cows, pigs, sheep). Neatsfoot oil is oil rendered from the feet of cattle or hooved animals. In the slaughterhouse, the feet would be cut off the animal, split, put into a large vat and boiled. The oils that rose to the top would be skimmed off and sold as "Neatsfoot Oil." Today, thanks to the US military, there is no actual Neatsfoot oil in Neatsfoot Oil! Let me explain. Back in the 1930's the US Army wrote a Military Specification (Mil Spec) that defined the properties of Neatsfoot Oil. Oil merchants bidding for government contracts quickly discovered other, less expensive, oils would meet this Mil Spec. Today, Neatsfoot Oil is any oil, regardless of where it comes from, that meets this US Government Mil Spec. Neatsfoot Oil now is mostly derived from pigs. Lard is pressed and the resulting liquid, which can be supplemented with mineral oil and/or reclaimed motor oil, is sold as "Neatsfoot Oil". Neatsfoot oil is widely used in the equestrian industry (saddles and tack) but has a tendency to be quite greasy making it unsuitable for leather upholstery.

Q. I noticed dozens of drums of Lanolin in your raw materials area. I assume Lexol uses Lanolin as a conditioning oil?
A. Lanolin is used for conditioning leather. Ironically, Summit Industries is the third or fourth largest user of Lanolin in the United States yet, despite of our considerable research, we do not use a drop of Lanolin in Lexol products! Our use of Lanolin is reserved exclusively for our skin care ointments. Lanolin has two problems. First, it's very greasy. (Lanolin is produced by the sweat glands of sheep.) Lanolin is the greasy oil that covers the sheep's fleece. Secondly, it loves to migrate. There's no way to keep it in the hide. It loves to come to the surface where it is easily transferred to any material (clothing) it comes in contact with. The complaint that most leather conditioners are "greasy" is typically attributable to the use of Lanolin.

Q. I've seen other manufacturers use banana oil, aloe and collagen as conditioning oils or additives. Are these valid conditioning oils or beneficial in a leather conditioner?
A. (Laugh) Not to my knowledge! Banana oil is commonly used as a fragrance or fragrance enhancement. It will mask chemical or foul odors and add a "sweet" aroma. Banana Oil has no value as a conditioning oil. Collagen is used for human skin reconstruction. I know of no valid reason to put it into a leather conditioner. It is not a conditioning oil. Likewise, Aloe has no value as a conditioning oil. I have never, ever seen or heard of any study that gives any valid reason for putting Aloe in a leather conditioner.

Q. I've seen "Mink Oil" used in leather conditioners. Is Mink Oil a valid conditioning oil?
A. Yes it is. We do not use it in Lexol products but it is a valid conditioning oil. "Mink Oil" is a euphemistic name for liquefied pig fat and silicone. Like Lanolin, it's very greasy and typically unsuitable for leather upholstery. Mink oil is most often used on heavy boots or other hard-working leathers.

Q. Now I'm confused. If all of these conditioning oils are so bad, greasy, what do you use in Lexol Leather Conditioner?
A. The conditioning oils we're talking about, Neatsfoot Oil, Lanolin, Mink Oil, pressed lard oils, are not "bad" conditioning oils. If fact, they are very good conditioning oils. They just have some undesirable characteristics. They are all greasy and they like to move around. In the 1980's, largely from our research in skin care ointments, we discovered a way to modify some of these conditioning oils. We found a way to make the large droplets of raw oils into a microscopically fine emulsion that can be readily absorbed into the leather fibers. We also found a way to keep these oils in place, to greatly reduce migration. This keeps the internal fibers lubricated longer and prevents seepage into adjacent materials like clothing. The oils used in Lexol Conditioner, a closely held secret, make for a very user friendly conditioner that is excellent for leather upholstery.

Q. How is Lexol Leather Conditioner different from other leather conditioners?
A. First, it contains no petroleum solvents or silicones. It is an aqueous emulsion that quickly penetrates into the hide where it is absorbed and retained by the leather's fibers. Lexol Leather Conditioner provides long lasting lubrication (within the industry, we call this lubrication nourishment) without migration or surface seepage. Unlike most organic conditioning oils, Lexol Leather Conditioner is non-flammable, odorless, non-toxic and non-sensitizing to the skin. It does not impart a greasy or tacky feel to the surface of the leather (unless overused). While there are many fine leather conditioners in the marketplace, we know of no other manufacturer in the world that has been able to match our technology in controlling greasiness or oil migration.

Q. How soon should I start conditioning the leather in a new car?
A. The leather in a new car is fully conditioned. There is no reason to use a conditioner for at least 60 to 90 days. After that, application is somewhat climate dependent. Monthly leather conditioning of cars in Florida, Texas and Arizona, especially during the summer months, would not be out of line. In a northern climate or during winter months the interval between conditioning could be extended 90 to 120 days.

Q. What is the proper procedure for applying a leather conditioner?
A. Clean the leather first to remove surface dirt. Lightly dampen a cotton or Microfiber cloth or applicator pad with water so that it doesn't absorb too much conditioner. Spray the applicator cloth or pad with conditioner and wipe it into the leather. A little conditioner goes a long way. Multiple light applications are better than one heavy application. Wipe the entire leather interior of your car and then allow 20 to 30 minutes for the oils to be absorbed. After this time, lightly buff the leather with a dry cotton or Microfiber cloth to remove any excess conditioner.

Lexol Leather Conditioner maintains the strength, beauty and utility of leather while protecting against the destructive effects of time and the environment. It also brings new life and resiliency to old or neglected leather that has become cracked or hardened.
Lexol Leather Conditioner leaves a soft, satin finish without a greasy, surface residue. For the very best in leather conditioning, insist on Lexol.



Proper leather cleaning.
A continuation of our interview with Dr. Don Jenkins and Phil Meyers from Summit Industries.

Q. How should you clean leather?
A. First let me tell you what not to do. Never, ever use a multi-purpose, high pH, or highly alkaline cleaner on leather. Your better, aniline dyed leathers, the kind used by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi and Lexus, should be cleaned with a product in the pH 5 to 5.5 range. That's actually a mildly acidic solution. Most multi-purpose cleaners and spot removers have a pH of 12 to 13. If you spray a multi-purpose, high pH cleaner on leather and buff with a dry cloth, the cloth will often turn brown. The consumer will believe it's dirt coming out of the hide. It's not dirt, it's tanning agents. You are actually detanning the hide! Remember, whatever chemical solution you put on leather remains in it.

Secondly, avoid cleaning or conditioning leather that is hot from being in the sun. Do not spray a cleaner directly on the leather. Use an applicator sponge or cloth to apply the cleaning solution. Spraying a cleaner on hot leather can cause spotting and discolorations.

Q. What is the proper procedure for cleaning leather?
A. Clean one manageable section at a time. For example, with bucket seats, clean the seat back and then move on to the seat bottom.

Wet a washcloth or Microfiber cloth with water, leaving it as damp as you would if you were going to wash your face. Spray the cleaner on the cloth and begin to wash the leather as if your were bathing. Don't forget the stitch lines. Dirt left in the stitch lines can cut through upholstery thread over time but proper cleaning will extend thread life. Especially soiled areas can be agitated using an upholstery or soft leather scrub brush.

After bathing each section, rinse the washcloth to clear it of dirt, wring it out, wipe off any excess cleaner then towel dry with a clean, dry cotton or Microfiber cloth.

Q. What about saddle soap?
A. In the late 1800's the final tanning of leather required the talents of a "currier". This craftsman took the tanned but stiff hide and worked oils into it until the desired flexibility was obtained. This process is called fatliquoring. The fatliquor of choice was an emulsion of oil in soap. This "saddle soap" was not used as a cleaner. It was a softening conditioner.

In fact, saddle soap is a very poor cleaner. It must first dissolve its own oils, limiting its capacity to dissolve dirt and oils in the leather. Saddle soap is also inherently alkaline but alkalinity is damaging to leather. Another problem arises during application. Most saddle soaps instruct the user to work the lather into the leather. Since loosened dirt is suspended in the lather, it is pushed back into the leather's pores.

Saddle soaps have long been replaced in tanneries by modern emulsions which penetrate, soften and condition with greater ease and stability. The popular myth of saddle soap as a cleaner however persists as modern folklore.

Interesting info on Saddle Soap too.
post #1224 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post


Thank you!

That should be required reading for anyone who frequents this thread or is interested in leather and its proper care.

cheers.gif
post #1225 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


"His doctors are convinced that it had its roots in the chemicals that modern shoemakers are exposed to"
--

 

of course you have to protect yourself from inhalants. are you talking about skin contact of materials? 

post #1226 of 1338
Slainte!
post #1227 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Marcellino View Post

of course you have to protect yourself from inhalants. are you talking about skin contact of materials? 

Near everything. Why do solvent based adhesives work so well on rubber products? Because the solvents used have a chemical effect on the rubber--Quabaug (Vibram) recommends using adhesive solvents straight up on it's products as a way to prepare the rubber for cementing.

Chrome salts that are residual in chrome tanned leathers become dust that can irritate the skin and get into the lungs.

Dye residues from the leather nevermind the dyes we use.

And just to broaden the discussion briefly...everytime you drive down the street you introduce micro fines of rubber and highly processed petro-chemicals into the environment. Maybe feeling self-righteous about the way we regulate run-off from tanneries, etc. in this country is a bit premature when you look at the big picture.
post #1228 of 1338
Code:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

That was an interesting read......saw it long ago so much has changed, for sure, there.

Also, just for the record.....Saphir does use, in fact, real Mink Oil. Sourced from Finland.

Just to sidetrack a bit: there's been pressure and citizens' campaigns to make all fur farms banned in Finland. These farms have been visited, the animals videotaped and photographed, and findings shared online. Despite the pressure, fur is big business and the economy is making poor gains to rise from the -08 global financial apocalypse. The government won't do in the business because it pays millions in taxes. For the moment, Saphir's supply is guaranteed. I've given up Saphir for other reasons, though, because I couldn't stand the smell. All of their creams, polishes and renos reek. Collonil's doesn't.
post #1229 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Near everything. Why do solvent based adhesives work so well on rubber products? Because the solvents used have a chemical effect on the rubber--Quabaug (Vibram) recommends using adhesive solvents straight up on it's products as a way to prepare the rubber for cementing.

Chrome salts that are residual in chrome tanned leathers become dust that can irritate the skin and get into the lungs.

Dye residues from the leather nevermind the dyes we use.

And just to broaden the discussion briefly...everytime you drive down the street you introduce micro fines of rubber and highly processed petro-chemicals into the environment. Maybe feeling self-righteous about the way we regulate run-off from tanneries, etc. in this country is a bit premature when you look at the big picture.

totally agree, but im not sure i get the dye residues from leather causing harm if that were the case we would hear more about it from the public at large and especially since tanned leather has existed for some time.

post #1230 of 1338
Quote:
I would laugh, except I have to deal with the consequences every day. One of the best shoemakers to ever come on StyleForum contracted leukemia not so long ago. His doctors are convinced that it had its roots in the chemicals that modern shoemakers are exposed to. I, myself, have issues with my liver that are very similar to the kinds of problems that heavy drinkers experience...despite the fact that I drink seldom and then only in limited amounts.

Additionally, I have seen and dealt with folks that have chrome allergies...brought on entirely by wearing shoes or boots that have chrome tanned linings. This is from residual chromium salts in the leather. Never see that with veg tans.

Well, I'm certainly sorry to hear that....and I think I know who you are referring to.

Regarding allergies - sure, I have seen it as well. A few times, and they know what they need to look for. It certainly represents a tiny fraction of the population. I'm allergic to bee stings so I stay away from bees.
Quote:
Trouble there is that noting is cited...nothing is explained--it's as simple-minded as the chicken-little environmentalist claiming that the sky is falling. Where's the studies? Where's the evidence?

Where is a detailed account of how such vegetable matter...and extracts derived from them...are harmful to the environment or people?

BLC Leather Technology Center commissioned a study by Ecobilan S.A. (Reference BLC Report 002) to do a life cycle analysis to evaluate the various tanning chemicals, to see if there was an environmentally preferable choice between chrome, vegetable and aldehyde based processes. The result? They found no significant differences between the three – all have environmental impacts, just different ones. These LCA’s demonstrate that tanning is just one of the impacts – other steps may have equal impacts.

I'm not interested enough to chase more info down, but if anyone is you can start the search from here. As far as the environment and veg tanning goes, I for one wouldn't be looking to live next to one. No matter what the base process is, the result is a lot of toxic sludge - plain and simple.

Further - and I'm not a tannery so it really doesn't matter to me but so much - you do realize that chromium is all around you, everyday, everywhere....right? I mean, if you eat with a fork, you are putting chromium coated SS in your mouth. If you walk on a deck of treated lumber (in your bare feet) your walking on chromium......if you polish your household metal...your using chromium.....if you drive a car, it has a lot of chromium in it. If you want to buy the second most popular health supplement on Amazon....your buying chromium III - the exact same additive as in tanning.

It's all about the regulation, ethics and oversite here - not the product itself.
Quote:
I don't think I agree with that. Again, most chromes have a finish (see below) most veg's don't All other things being equal, I suspect veg is no more vulnerable to the elements (or only marginally so) than chrome.

We agree on many things - this is not one of them.
Quote:
Veg tannages have never had either the research into, nor the application of, finishes the way chrome has. I've seen some veg tannages with finishes and they don't differ...visually or functionally...all that much from finished chrome. W. Pierce, in the UK, was offering some before the mad cow outbreak force them to go out of business.

Tough statement to hang your hat on......I'm pretty sure - over the centuries of veg tanning - there has been at least a few questions asked by those in the business regarding 'the finish'. Probably why 80%+ now are chrome tanners.

To wrap it up I'll ask a question.....if there are so many issues with chrome calf, why do you use it? And, have you stopped using alligator or croc? Since they are only chrome tanned.

Quote:
Just to sidetrack a bit: there's been pressure and citizens' campaigns to make all fur farms banned in Finland. These farms have been visited, the animals videotaped and photographed, and findings shared online. Despite the pressure, fur is big business and the economy is making poor gains to rise from the -08 global financial apocalypse.

Sounds about the same as all the leather in your closet......you know, veal and all -
Quote:
I've given up Saphir for other reasons, though, because I couldn't stand the smell. All of their creams, polishes and renos reek. Collonil's doesn't.

Sorry to hear that......although, since you are a writer, you should probably know enough to frame 'reek' as 'to me.....'. Anyway, Collonil is good stuff as well, no doubt.
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