Leather Quality and Properties

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

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    A few shoemakers tools used for burnishing leather. (the only ones I don't use are the deer bones)

    [​IMG]

    Left to right: cow bone, cow bone, deer bone, deer bone, boxwood, cocobolo(?), cocobolo(?), cocobolo, osage orange
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013


  2. Munky

    Munky Senior member

    Messages:
    1,668
    Likes Received:
    439
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    DWFII
    That is a revealing photo and seems to solve a question often asked on here about why deer bone has such a reputation. You are offering evidence that the 'deer' bit is not particularly necessary, (although I appreciate that you are using these tools for burnishing and (I think) other contributors are discussing bones as a means of getting rid of damage to shoes).

    The two on the left of your photo are ones that look like those I used (nearly 50 years ago) for working in bookbinding with faux leather. I wonder if they would be used in bookbinding that involved real leather.
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    I don't think the deer bone brings anything to the game that cow bone doesn't. Or the cocobolo for that matter. Or a nice piece of boxwood. Boxwood is one of the closest grained woods known. And one of the few that is hard enough to cut threads in.

    I suspect that the "getting rid of damage to shoes" is simply another aspect of burnishing. Deer bone, spoons, etc., they're not magic wands. All you can do to scuffs and so forth is burnish them flat...and to some extent shiny.


    I made most of those tools...my wife does some bookbinding (with real leather--we have a bit as you might imagine) and she uses a cow bone folding tool I made her. It's a bit flatter and more delicate than mine but fundamentally the same.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013


  4. Munky

    Munky Senior member

    Messages:
    1,668
    Likes Received:
    439
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    Thanks for that; really interesting!
     


  5. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I meant to mention earlier - Betty at Carmina told me they just use anything that's has a hard surface on shell. I think she said they even use shoe trees sometimes.
     


  6. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, DC


  7. wurger

    wurger Senior member

    Messages:
    2,887
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sydney
    cross post from the shoe porn thread, I just realised this thread is more appropriate,

    With my lower grade shoes: like Loakes and Allen Edmonds, and they are all full grain finish, not correct grain bookbinder finish; but I can easily get mirror shine finish on them with just one layer of polish and buffing, I don't bother with renovateur on them yet.

    However, with my Tricker's and Alfred Sargents, which cost nearly double with better grade leather and finish, and I put a lot of more care into them, like wipe, reno, polish and buffing, but I just can't get to mirror shine.... after 3 layers polish, quite depressing for me after my shoe care sessions. :embar:

    Anyone else experienced this? And can someone shed light on this?
     


  8. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    192
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    I have another question on leather quality rating.

    I understand the rating of 1 through 4 for the various areas of the hide (back versus belly and so on), but is there a rating on cowhide quality in general?

    I believe you can order full grain or corrected grain from the tannery, but are there quality ratings of each type? and if so what are they?
     


  9. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    192
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    

    My guess is that you are primarily dealing with a finish issue, and secondarily with a leather issue.

    I suspect that the lower cost shoes have a thicker finish on the leather that the more expensive shoes. The thicker finish allows you to build a flat wax surface easier than the thinner finish.
     


  10. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    92
    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    


    Here is how to grade by Hewit & Sons.





    I have heard tanneries do not usually sell only 1st grade to distributors. When a distributor order 10 pieces, some tanneries sell 5 pieces of 1st grade and 5 pieces of 2nd grade, for example. Of course, you can choose 1st or 2nd at a distributor.
     


  11. Celadon

    Celadon Senior member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    48
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    Is this going to be the One and Only Official Thread on all matters concerning tanning and tanneries, leather qualities, and similar subjects?

    If so, this is a good idea (I had been looking for a thread of that sort). But may I suggest changing the title to better reflect the entire scope of the discussion?
     


  12. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    33,479
    Likes Received:
    8,847
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    As I understand it lower grade leathers used on like AE, and Loake and such is partially corrected. Also they spray on these coatings on them. I have even heard that they are partially corrected full grain leathers but not enough to deem to "corrected grain". EG, G&G, JL etc. don't put a heavy shellack finish on them therefore a lot more work needs to be put into bulling because the leather is more porous and filling in the pores with wax takes more time and effort.
     


  13. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    EG and G&G shoes are much easier to shine as they are usually all creamed up during th antiquing process.

    JL and Vass are a bitch to bull due to the lack of finish.

    Just my two bps
     


  14. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    92
    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    

    Sure. What is better?
     


  15. wurger

    wurger Senior member

    Messages:
    2,887
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sydney
    

    yes, I reckon that is it, I am slowing getting mirror shine on my AS shoes now.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by