tanneries and leather suppliers

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by chocoball, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. chocoball

    chocoball Senior member

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    Does anyone know what tanneries supply the top-end bootmakers like EG, JL, N&L, Berluti, Stefano Branchini, Kiton, etc, etc....?

    Also, I am looking for a supplier of (good quality but replica) Russian calf who will deal in small quantities.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    According to shoefan (and I can't imagine that he's incorrect), most British bespoke shoemakers buy their leather from Crack & Sons in Northampton. Edward Green is the exception -- I believe that they use the same crust leather for both their bespoke shoes and their RTW shoes.

    I would imagine that the makers that you mention purchase from a number of different tanneries, and I also imagine that it will be difficult to induce those tanneries to fill a very small order.

    You'll probably have trouble with Russia Calf. My understanding is that Cleverley has the right of first refusal on the supplies that are being salvaged. There is certainly some non-Cleverley stock out there, but from what I've seen, you wouldn't want it.
     
  3. chocoball

    chocoball Senior member

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    Thanks. I read on the N&L site that there is replica russian calf from France and Germany. Does anyone know about that stuff? Does anyone know whether A Harris ended up getting his Russian Calf? One more question, maybe shoefan can answer.....when sourcing leather for shoes, how thick should the leather be? Minimum and maximum. I can source some Connolly leather whole hides, but that stuff was originally meant to upholster the seats in Jaguars, Bentleys, etc.....would it be unsuitable for making shoes? It would be terrifically soft and make great driving shoes.. [​IMG] Especially if it matched the interior of the car. Heehee.....
     
  4. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    I wonder if a search of a trade association wouldn't be a good place to start? Or find a history of British craftsman ship. I've got a book somewhere in my library that I'll try to find.

    The Brits. are good about preserving their historical associations, like Glovemaking, etc. And maintaining a representative body of information concerning it.

    Much better than the Americans, I would think.
     
  5. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    OK, this thread, and the other concerning 'Russian Calf' is confusing me. In the industry, 'Russian Calf' is reindeer; and the supply is huge. One of the regions in Russia has this as a supported industry, and maintains over 600,000 head. The supply is plentiful. I recently saw a swatch of it, and it has a natural grain; between peccary and deer, and that soft. The tannery was in Scandanavia somewhere, or so I was told. Am I missing something here?
     
  6. chocoball

    chocoball Senior member

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    Rider, that's exactly what I want.. Can you tell me name and contact of the supplier who showed this stuff to you? Website?

    re: the Reindeer calf everyone's talking about.....it's stuff made by an old Russian tanning process -- using birch oil among other stuff -- that's been lost (ie, no one knows how to do it exactly anymore). It was found in a 200 y/o shipwreck and preserved, and now recovered for use as shoe leather. So the German and Scandinavian stuff is reindeer calf leather, but not "Russian Calf".
     
  7. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The Russia Calf that chocoball is asking about is a supply of reindeer hides that sunk with a ship off Plymouth in 1786. The method of tanning used on it has supposedly been lost, and the leather is completely unique. I've never seen anything like it. There's the natural grain of the leather with a crosshatch pattern superimposed on it. It also has a very distinctive aroma. See New & Lingwood's PR about it.
     
  8. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

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    I am certainly no expert on leather, but the following is what I believe is accurate....

    Most calfskin used for quality uppers is 3 to 4 "ounce" fullgrain leather; this corresponds to a thickness of about 1.2 - 1.6 mm. Depending on the application, thicker leather can be used, for example on boots or heavier shoes. I don't know what the maximum thickness would be, but I would imagine some leather twice this thick could certainly be used in some applications.

    Perhaps more important than the thickness of the leather is the nature of the leather, in terms of its resistance to stretching and ripping. I should think that leather designed for upholstery would be too soft and stretchy for footwear; the upper of a shoe absorbs a lot of tension in the making, and obviously considerable stretching from walking/flexing. If the leather is too stretchy, it will not hold its shape for a long time when you wear the shoes. This will undermine the appearance and fit of the shoes.
     
  9. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    Sounds like a bunch of marketing hockus pockus to me, but, then I am a bit of a pessimist.

    Reindeer hides/Russia Calf:

    Morjarvs Skinn in Sweden
     
  10. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Certainly possible. I can only say that I've seen Cleverley shoes made from this leather, and they're utterly unique and utterly beautiful. If I ever get my first pair of Cleverleys straightened out (metaphorically speaking, of course), my next pair will be a Dover-like split-toe in Russia Calf. I've also seen the New & Lingwood renditions (made by Crockett & Jones at Dunhill in NYC), and they're a terrible ripoff.
     
  11. chocoball

    chocoball Senior member

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    Thanks for the post. I guess that crosses the Connolly leather off my list. It's more suitable for Tod's style loafers, I guess, than real shoes.

    Okay, how about Bree-style uncoloured saddle leather? Does anyone know a source of good leather like that, that is suitable for making shoes? I've got a great cobbler, just need to find him a better source of leather.
     
  12. chocoball

    chocoball Senior member

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    Damn, nothing comes up when I google Morjarvs Skinn...... [​IMG]
     
  13. novalis

    novalis Senior member

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    Try this link. Nothing like typing the name out directly. Actually the "a" in Morjarvs has a little umlaut which complicates things. Google hint: If you're not getting any search results, try to broaden the search by typing just part of the search term (in this case Morjarvs, which yielded the correct spelling, and the better word to search on).
     
  14. Geronimo

    Geronimo Member

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  15. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    For edification the French houses have their own tanneries I believe.

    Such as Hermes, and Louis Vuitton.

    Although the exotic skins are sourced from places like Florida, and then processed in France.
     

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