Dismiss Notice

STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. DesB3rd

    DesB3rd Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    So how old is an optimum calf?

    Are we looking at some happy mid-point where the leather is both flawless and soft but has had some opportunity to fill-outhank and toughen?

    (N.B. this comes back to my former theme. There's some controvery in the UK about male dairy cows getting bolted, and sent for pet food, as soon as the mother is giving milk. I.e. dairy dies v. young or old...)
     


  2. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    I'm no expert at all where leather is is concerned, I just have a number of relatives who own, or used to own, cattle and sheep. Parts of the family have been in the business for at least a couple of hundred years and used to be among the suppliers of hide to the tanneries, while such still existed here.

    Anyway, I know of no way to reliably discern whether a given leather is cow or real calf. The latter is certainly thinner and more supple to start with, but the tanning process will likely reduce the differences. I assume that the more expensive the shoes, the more likely they are to be made from calf, as cow is vastly more plentiful and therefore likely to be much less costly. Of course, that's a somewhat less than useful insight, since I have no clue how much one must pay to be guaranteed to get shoes in real calf, or if any such line can be drawn at all.
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,422
    Likes Received:
    3,002
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    In the leather and shoe Trades what is considered "calf-skin" can be quite variable.

    In his book Textbook of Footwear Manufacture, the National Trade Press (UK), 1953, J. H. THORNTON, M.A., F.B.S.I., describes a calf as
    But he also says:
    He goes on to say that regardless of age or size, the way the animal was fed, where and how it lived, the gender, the presence or absence of introduced hormones and chemicals, as well as the methods of tannage--structure, substance grain, etc., are more important in determining the suitability for high end footwear than age.
     


  4. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    I'm simply going by what I've read on industry websites; tanneries, leather industry organisations, etc. Presumably they're the ones who'd know what definitions they themselves use.
     


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,422
    Likes Received:
    3,002
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    What are you saying here? That presumption, speculation, and third hand information is sufficient? Reliable? Adequate? Trumps first hand experience and objective knowledge?

    I wasn't arguing with you, I was simply making an observation that is objectively "closer to the source" than second generation, and third hand agricultural remembrances.

    Thornton was head of the Boot and shoe department at the Northampton College of Technology. At one time considered the elder statesman of British shoemaking.

    If we are to presume anything, presumably he knew what he was talking about.

    And for what it is worth, I've been making boots and shoes for over 45 years--all first hand experience and repeatedly validated knowledge which I share here on SF and which is largely consistent with and in agreement with Thornton (what an unthinkable coincidence!).
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017


  6. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    Exactly what I wrote. None of which is contradicted in any way by your quotes.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by