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Leather Quality and Properties

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

  1. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Can't argue with that.
     
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  2. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Seems like your biggest problem is that you live in Florida. :confused:
     
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  3. Zapasman

    Zapasman Well-Known Member

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    That is really an issue for me. Shell is not for hot or very humid weathers.

    Suede and shark [​IMG] leathers good enough for FL .

    Check this permeability/porosity leather table inserted in this thread before and compare shell and suede.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, thanks for posting this.
     
  5. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Well-Known Member

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    This is true...
     
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  6. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Well-Known Member

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    What's the skinny on baby buffalo leather?

    (as employed by Lucchese)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  7. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    You know what, though, you're a good kind of weird.
     
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  8. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Ok. In response,

    The ideal kind of environment said above does not really exist.

    Did you know that shell cordovan is actually a nostalgic reproduction of reversed waxed calf, albeit with horse's fiberous rump? This is part of the reason why people wanted it for dress shoes - it shines!

    All vegetable tanned leathers are subjected to constant loss of moisture. This is why they are subjected more to the use of raw oils in tanning process and in caring as well. However, the delicious sounding hot stuffing process, the currying, drying, and the jack glazing is what really killed shell cordovan. The hot stuffing that Horween introduced was primarily tallows and waxes, not sufficient oil content for prolong moisture. The currying process can only last so long a period, not nearly enough to be retained after the glazing process. The glazing process compressed the surface, flattening the fibers, nappy surface, and pressed the waxes introduced during stuffing, creating a mask over the top of shell's surface. Thus, insufficient moisture, in addition to a sealant had thus made shell extremely thirsty, unlike how Horween would advertise. If water drops on the surface of shell, the moisture gets violently sucked in, and when moisture wanted to escape as part of ventilation of veg tanned hides, the sealant would trap the moisture, prevent it from escaping. If the surface was further sealed or polished with a hard polish, it gets worse.

    I've seen the samples of Wolverine's shell boots (the vintage stuff, not the recent ones). Looks nothing like what we have today. It does not shine, and sports a rather porous surface.

    I may agree that people get drawn into expensive stuff (money for quality), but a well finished shell cordovan does look very fit for dress shoes. It looks smooth, shiny, and it takes a polish very well indeed, unless the tannery or the shoe finisher screwed it up otherwise.

    I hope we find an agreement somewhere in here.
     
  9. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    We're not, but that's OK.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  10. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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  11. amlai

    amlai Well-Known Member

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    The reason for that is that, if I understand correctly, Wolverine used to use all of the layers of the shell area, and not just the middle layer that we today use for shell cordovan. There's an epidermis layer above and below the shell membrane. Wolverine used all 3 layers in their work boots. As seen in the old advertisements, they talk about the 3 ply leather (inner layer, inner shell, outer layer).
     
  12. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Hence the term "shell horsehide" instead of cordovan.
     
  13. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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  14. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Great find! Too much unnecessary praising, however.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  15. glenjay

    glenjay Well-Known Member

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    This is a very good article! My research initially took me in the direction of muscle, partly due to the filament size of the protein fibers in the hyaline tissue layer which is similar in diameter to the protein fibers in muscle (much smaller than skin tissue). This thinner fiber allows for many more filaments in a bundle and the filaments tend to fold over on themselves giving a greater density to the tissue similar to a soft cartilage. This does make for a denser leather, but since the grain of the leather is shaved off in the process of creating the shell pieces, the resulting shell tends to tear easier than grained leather when stretched over a last for the upper of a shoe.
     
  16. Zapasman

    Zapasman Well-Known Member

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  17. Zapasman

    Zapasman Well-Known Member

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    So moisture gets easily in but does not get out?. How is possible that Travers?. I really do not see that with my shoes (more or less like calf leather, IME).
     
  18. VRaivio

    VRaivio Well-Known Member

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    patrickBOOTH, I used to suffer from the same irritating tidbit, but I managed to find a way for removing water spots on shell cordovan. Simply lift the shoe under your mouth, breath out deep, and bull the spot with a metal spoon. The warmth and moisture from your breath will affect the oils and tallow, and the pressure from the spoon will do the rest. Most spots will diminish and disappear easily. It will look and feel weird, but hey, this is Styleforum!
     
  19. Zapasman

    Zapasman Well-Known Member

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    I understand that tanned Cordovan leather have been used since the time of Visigohts and and Moors in Spain as one of the best leathers for shoes and other leather goods (maybe dressy Cordovan shoes for them ?). I understand that during the period of WWI and WWII many boots were made with this leather in Europe due to its durability.

    Recently, the improvements of the techniques in the tanning process favors the use of this materials for dressy shoes (a loafer is a dressy shoe to me). Different colours, thickness, shinnig, hardness, texture, moulds to your feet among other features (I wont talk about how to care them, but for me no much work) makes me love shell.

    If it is a very good material, there is shortage and the tanning process is quite laborious to reach a great appearance , then it should be expensive.

    That is way I like shell and paid for the quality of the leather, although prices are too high currently. I think most people here appreciate the quality of the leather and that is what they pay for.

    Ahhh, I do not have JL, EG or GG.

    Just my two cents.
     
  20. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Well-Known Member

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    Travers, I kind of get what you're saying about the "moisture" here. Many experiments done over the years that are actually documented discuss how too much oil and not enough moisture (meaning water) is bad for leather and actually degrades it faster. (Stambolov, T., H.A.B. van Soest and P.B. Hallebeek. "Conservation of Leather." Studies in Conservation 29 (1984): 21-31.)

    Generally when tanneries talk about conditioning leather they are talking about water content, not oils and fats. Those are a part of it, but leather from a tannery leaves with a roughly 14% - 20% moisture (water) content. They have moisture meters, which are stupidly expensive to measure this. Naturally, I am considering getting one.



    Interesting... I have tried pushing on them hard to break the surface of the wax with slight results, but I will try your method.
     
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