Matte vs glossy alligator for wallet

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by easy_golfing, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. easy_golfing

    easy_golfing Senior member

    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Which would be better for a credit card wallet - matte or glossy?

    Also, how does alligator differ from croc?
     


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Generally speaking (there may be some developments I'm not aware of) glossy alligator is a dryer vegetable tannage than the matte. The gloss on what is known as "bombe'" alligator is produced by burnishing the surface with glass(?) rollers...some heat may be generated which is not good for veg tannages.

    The matte alligator that I work with is much more supple and I believe longer lasting potentially than the bombe'.

    Only two significant differences between American alligator and Nile crocodile...price and the size of the tile. Croc will have a smaller average tile than gator for a skin of relatively the same size.
     


  3. easy_golfing

    easy_golfing Senior member

    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    

    Great response, thanks! Do you think gloss vs matte would make a big difference in longevity for a wallet? I can understand shoes, but I feel like a wallet would get less "wear"
     


  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Might also get less attention/conditioning.

    I have a retan (veg tan followed by chrome tan or it could be vice versa) water buffalo tri-fold that I made for myself probably 25+ years ago, I am ashamed to say i have never done much to it. And now it is finally wearing through at the folds (still more than functional, however).

    The upshot is that I really don't know--I don't have enough data to compare. My wife has a pocketbook and a checkbook cover that she made for herself from matte alligator about the same time I made my tri-fold. Last time I saw either of them there was no apparent wear or damage. Of course they're in her purse and not in the back pocket of a pair of jeans.
     


  5. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Likes Received:
    12,969
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    I'd defer to DW's expertise, but one thing to add: my understanding is that croc has more variation in quality. Caiman, for example, is particularly low grade, but in porosus, the skin can be very nice (arguably better than your average gator).

    That and, of course, croc has a small "hole" in the middle of each tile.

    I've seen some very nice croc in Moscow. When done well, it beats any gator I've ever seen. Very clean, good looking tiles.
     


  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Yes you're right. Caiman is crap. I was thinking of porosus or perhaps Nile croc. I get really nice croc from a dealer here in the States but I'm not sure whether it is porosus or niloticus. In truth, I'm sure I was told but it just didn't register as long as the skins were prime.

    The croc I have worked with had a pore closer to the edge every tile than the middle but I wouldn't call it a "hole". When lasted the pores don't open up, so again, it's not really a significant factor.

    The nicest thing about croc is that tiles are smaller than gator and tend to be a bit rounder. So perhaps the skins are a bit more supple. But when it comes to small 25-30 cm matching skins you almost could mistake it for sea turtle if you stand back far enough and squint.
     


  7. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,902
    Likes Received:
    540
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    

    There have been threads on this, but no consensus. How would you suggest caring for croc or gator DW? More importantly, how does the care differ for glossy vs matte?

    TIA
     


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    When I first began making, the bombe' was just on the verge of being supplanted by the matte among most US and European tanneries. I simply don't see the bombe' anymore. As I mentioned, there may be a new glazed finish around but I haven't seen any. The thing is, the matte finish was more than a matte finish...it was a different way of tanning as well. I wouldn't be surprised if a glazed finish is being made but on the same tannage as the matte. If that's the case all I would do is gently clean it ever now and again, followed by a conditioner--Bick4, Lexol maybe, whatever the Saphir conditioner is called. Maybe hit it with a light application of Saphir or Meltonian cream and buff. The conditioner is critical and stay away from heavy, greasy or oily feeling emollients esp. those that have neatsfoot oil in them.
     


  9. easy_golfing

    easy_golfing Senior member

    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Wow great stuff, thanks DWFII.

    What do you all think for watch straps? Matte as well?
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Well...let me step back and say that I am most familiar with the bombe' finish when it comes to glossy gator and croc. But I was looking over the offerings of a high end UK based leather seller today and it appears they offer both the matte and a glossy crocodile.

    I indicated in a previous post that there might be new finishes out there that I'd not seen or worked with. I can't imagine the UK company selling anything but the best...so I am guessing that the glossy finish is based on the same tannage as the matte finish.

    If that's the case, I don't think whether it's glossy or matte makes any difference at all...it's down to whatever you want.
     


  11. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    

    Would you mind providing contact info as I am looking for a supplier of top grade croc and gator (actually any exotic)? Were the prices reasonable for the quality?
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Well, from Uk to Redmond, Oregon the freight is relatively dear...and then you have customs. And to tell the truth I've never seen their croc in person but they are pretty well known in the Bespoke Trade for high quality goods. I bought some leather from them last year and was happy with it.

    They have several categories of leather that they offer so if you are looking for high end calf, for instance, check out the "bespoke" category as well as the "exotics".

    If you order from them, please be sure to tell them I sent you (D.W. Frommer II)...I don't get a commission but for the "little guy" it helps if the supplier know that there's a "network" out there.

    Now after that build-up of suspense...

    A.A. Crack

    Ask for Tony.
     


  13. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    

    Thanks for that.

    Actually I've ordered from them before but didn't know the had exotics , so I 'll call them again. (Tony is outstanding btw). They have nice kip lining and an all veg baby calf called st-Crispin which is quite nice as well.

    Who's a good supplier for quality gator and Croc in North America?
     


  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,335
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    I used to order from American Tanning but the last pair of skins I ordered were from Mark Staton. I was sufficiently impressed to decide to make him my sole domestic supplier of gator and croc.

    If you contact him, same drill--tell him I sent you. But also be sure to ask him about the tannage on his glazed skins because the description of the glazing technique on his webpage is not unlike the description for the old bombe finish...which was always done on a veg tanned leather. At least, that was my understanding.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013


  15. ffatt

    ffatt Senior member

    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    ^Curious about this as well and if anyone has a list of US makers of exotic leathergoods would be appreciated.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by