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.
Sounds about the same as all the leather in your closet......you know, veal and all -
I'd like to see any veg tanned leather that is finished the way, or as well as, chrome tans are...from any time period--even a contemporary product that I may know nothing of.
Sad to say, in all my career, I've yet to see more than a handful of veg tanned leathers with a finish on them. And most of them were reptiles that already have a very dense, virtually waterproof grain surface in the tiles. Of any of the others the finish was amateurish at best compared to what is routinely applied to chrome tans.
I'm not against chrome tannages. I've used them all my life and will continue to use them but I have made and own 100% veg tanned leather shoes and know other shoemakers who do also. With an acrylic finish they don't age or weather in the fashion you alluded to. And in some ways I prefer to work with veg tans and prefer to wear them. Make yourself a pair, give it a finish and you may change your mind.
FWIW, I'm not a tree-hugger and I suspect we share a similar disdain for those that are. I've spent my entire career/life working in a Trade that is dependent on the killing of animals. Nor am I one of those people who become so besotted by novelty that they lose all sense of proportion. Anytime I can avoid placing myself in proximity to known toxins; anytime I can make a choice that forestalls my own personal involvement in further poisoning the environment of other people (and other creatures), I will. Every time.
I'm not going to pursue this business with the study you cited, either. It's yours to validate...or not.To take beyond hearsay. But ask yourself which would you rather see seeping into your water table--chromium sulfate or an oak bark tea not too dissimilar to the water of peat bogs that have existed for millennia.
Edited by DWFII - 6/6/14 at 6:57am