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j ingevaldsson

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Here is a study comparing environmental footprints of leather coming from different tanneries.
Conclusion is basically that magnitude of differences is higher between tanneries than between chrome vs. veg tanning and you can't designate a winner between the two.

There are several weaknesses in this study but it still is the most robust publicly available afaik
Missed this post. Interesting, thanks! Will check through.
 

DWFII

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I don't talk about the water from veg tanned being harmful, I'm talking about the high amounts of water used being problematic from an environmental perspective.
I'm not sure how...the extracts that colour the tanning waters are organic in nature. And in pools such as bogs (Otzi) that water is ground water and it eventually it seeps into the soil and joins other natural waters fed by rain and springs and so forth. We've been living with bogs and drinking ground waters that are at least partially mixed with extracts of vegetable matter for thousands and thousands of years. Our ancestors didn't have Brita filters. And, unless the current craziness is somehow connected, apparently without noticeable ill effects--either for us or for the environment.
 
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ntempleman

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Cotton production uses water mostly in order to grow the cotton plant. Things need to be watered daily and watered well in order to produce maximum yield. The tanning pits at somewhere like bakers are filled.. and then left filled. If it was a constant drain, you’d have no tannins left to tan with over the next 6 months. The water demand is vastly lower than cotton, almonds, oranges, whatever
 

j ingevaldsson

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I'm not sure how...the extracts that colour the tanning waters are organic in nature. And in pools such as bogs (Otzi) that water is ground water and it eventually it seeps into the soil and joins other natural watesr fed by rain and springs and so forth. We've been living with bogs and drinking ground waters that are at least partially mixed with extracts of vegetable matter for thousands and thousands of years. Our ancestors didn't have Brita filters. Unless the current craziness is somehow connected apparently without noticeable ill effects...either for us or for the environment.
Extensive use of water is considered bad for the environment "in itself". Here's a good summary why.
 

j ingevaldsson

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Cotton production uses water mostly in order to grow the cotton plant. The tanning pits at somewhere like bakers are filled.. and then left filled. If it was a constant drain, you’d have no tannins left to tan with over the next 6 months. The water demand is vastly lower than cotton, almonds, oranges, whatever
Yeah, as I said above cotton is definitely worse, I have just mentioned it since there the water use is an important part of the discussion. When it comes to leather, even if the amounts are lower, the difference in use of water is vast between chrome tanned and veg tanned. How much, and how this affect environment, was what I was interested in knowing. The study on the link shared by Florent above seem to give some more insight than I've read before, will read through that when I have more time.
 
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Those pools that Baker and others use carry quite heavy loads of water, and they are passed between various baths with heavy loads of water, and that water is exchanged, etc, they are not really comparable to those "pools in the ground" you mentioned..

I don't talk about the water from veg tanned being harmful, I'm talking about the high amounts of water used being problematic from an environmental perspective. Same discussion as in cotton production (although I would believe cotton is much worse in this matter than veg tanned leather, but how much, I don't know. That's why I say would like to see a comparison between good chrome tanned and veg tanned from an environmental perspective).



I don't believe aluminium was used before vegetable tannins, but way back in history, yes.
There was an article that came out recently that stated that veg tan was bad for the environment https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vegetable-tanned-leather-could-cause-devastating-environmental-effects-and-lead-to-future-pandemics-it-is-not-safer-or-eco-friendly-as-many-leather-companies-imply-301079104.html but then later debunked by the leather industry
 

deez shoes

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That article basically said that cutting down trees (deforestation) can lead to Covid...
 

vmss

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I noticed some makers on SF was offering this fall shoes with eco friendly chrome free sustainble leathers. I guess its white tanning. Anyone know why the sudden interest in more eco friendly chrome free leathers?
 

j ingevaldsson

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There was an article that came out recently that stated that veg tan was bad for the environment https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vegetable-tanned-leather-could-cause-devastating-environmental-effects-and-lead-to-future-pandemics-it-is-not-safer-or-eco-friendly-as-many-leather-companies-imply-301079104.html but then later debunked by the leather industry
Yeah that article had some flaws..

I noticed some makers on SF was offering this fall shoes with eco friendly chrome free sustainble leathers. I guess its white tanning. Anyone know why the sudden interest in more eco friendly chrome free leathers?
Demand goes up when people are more aware of environmental impact. And, as I've also written a lot about on the blog, a vast majority of the chrome tanned leathers used in the shoe industry as a whole is definitely harmful both to people working there directly and the environment (although things are starting to change in countries like India and Bangladesh, who are the largest leather producers, as well. Slowly but steadily, still a long way to go in most cases though). But those leathers are not used in the shoes I'm writing about, the shoes we discuss here at this part of SF (which is a small minority of all shoes produced). But people tend to bundle up chrome tanned leather as one and the same thing, which was what I've been arguing against.
 
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tallyho

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Hi all, I have a small question when making a shell wallet. The problem, my pieces of shell cordovan aren't thin enough to be appropriate for the interior, though. My question is, without splitting since it can reducing the tensile strength on the leather, is there any way to thin down the leather (shell)? Any help will be appreciated!
 

SimonC

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You have not described where you are having the issues, but it is normal to skive down the edges of the leather to ensure the construction is not too bulky, especially at the seams where the leather is folded over.
 

tallyho

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You have not described where you are having the issues, but it is normal to skive down the edges of the leather to ensure the construction is not too bulky, especially at the seams where the leather is folded over.
Sorry for the unclear description. I'm trying to slim down the wallet for about 20%, throughout. If I recall correctly, there is a technique call "temperring" or 'hammer jack', which can thin down the leather without skiving. Is that true? If yes, so should I apply it on shell cordovan? Btw, the edge will be burnish instead of folding.
 

DWFII

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Sorry for the unclear description. I'm trying to slim down the wallet for about 20%, throughout. If I recall correctly, there is a technique call "temperring" or 'hammer jack', which can thin down the leather without skiving. Is that true? If yes, so should I apply it on shell cordovan? Btw, the edge will be burnish instead of folding.
Tempering is simply wetting the leather and letting it come back to almost dry. Tempering is a way to prepare leather for hammer jacking (among other things).

Hammer jacking is simply compressing (hammering) the fibers of veg tanned leather tighter together while it is tempered and then letting it dry.

The problem with that...esp. for your application...is that (1) even if you let the leather dry, the flexing of the wallet will cause the leather to 'plump' back up again. Close to, if not in fact, the original thickness. And (2) the leather becomes very hard when hammer jacked--that's one of the main reason it is done.

Thing about shell is that it is not skin. It is a membrane/sheath that lies under the skin. So it has no grain layer and it doesn't really respond all that well to skiving much less splitting simply because all the tensile strength of a hide is in that top layer. I suspect that includes splitting before tanning--there has to be a balance between strength and usability.

Better to make wallets out of kangaroo, any way you look at it..
 
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patrickBOOTH

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Could you slowly sand it down to avoid creating too much heat while slimming it down?
 

DWFII

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Could you slowly sand it down to avoid creating too much heat while slimming it down?
Sanding it wouldn't do anything different or, more esp. better, than splitting it. A knife is always preferable to sanding--it's not tearing the fibers...or, at least, a sharp knife isn't..

Again, the problem is that the further you get away from the top grain (of which there is none on shell) the less coherent and strong the leather is.

Skip Horween once told me that beyond a certain relative thickness, dry splitting weakens the leather much more than the same amount of splitting done before tanning. I suspect if the tanner could split the shell before tanning without weakening it unreasonably, they would.
 
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