Is Vegetable Tanned Leather better than Chrome Tanned?

Is Vegetable Tanned Leather better than Chrome Tanned?

What is Vegetable Tanned Leather - Is it good?

The term "tanning" refers to the procedure of making leather from animal hides. Currently, vegetable tanning is one of the primary techniques for producing leather; about 10% of all leather is produced in this way.

This process includes transforming the protein structure of the hide into leather by using natural vegetable tannins. These organic compounds essentially have three purposes: to preserve, to reinforce, and to color the hide.


How is vegetable tanned leather made?

Due to their extremely high tannin concentration, tree bark, leaves, and roots are frequently preferred when it comes to vegetable tanning. The following tree types are frequently used to produce vegetable-tanned leather:

  • Birch
  • Catechu
  • Chestnut
  • Mimosa
  • Oak
  • Willow

There are 6 main steps that go into making vegetable tanned leather:

  1. Curing: To stop bacteria from developing, the hides are salted.
  2. Liming: The skins are soaked in milk of lime to remove any remaining hair and fat.
  3. De-liming: The pH level of the skins is lowered by soaking them in a different chemical solution.
  4. Tanning: The hides are continuously moved into various drums containing tanning solutions of variable concentrations over the period of 30 to 60 days.
  5. Drying: The hides are taken out of the barrels and left out to air dry for a few days.
  6. The leather is stretched, cut, and measured after being oiled. Other finishing processes may also be used, depending on how the leather will be used.

Is Vegetable Tanned Leather better than Chrome Tanned?

Plant-based tanning has been practiced for more than 5,000 years and for many millennia was the primary tanning technique. Vegetable tanning was practiced in Egypt in the fourth millennium BC, according to ornaments affixed to stone graves. It has even become clear that different kinds of leather were prepared even 5,000 years ago for a variety of purposes.

Only 10–12% of leather is believed to be vegetable-tanned today due to the recent popularity of more advanced and industrialized tanning techniques. Vegetable-tanned leather now only makes up a small part of the market due to the cost and quality advantages of chrome-tanned leather. Vegetable tanning agents were the preferred tanning technique prior to chrome tanning.

Vegetable tanned leather is strong and will continue to have a position in the market where it is superior to other tanning techniques or where leather lovers favor this natural tanning agent.

Major Benefit of Vegetable Tanned Leather

Vegetable tanning typically entails immersing hides in sizable baths of concentrated tannins for several months, a laborious process requiring highly skilled craftsmen. Even today, heavy leather is still used for specific applications like harnesses and shoe soles. The traditional technique of vegetable tanning should be sure to appeal to any enthusiast because it is most frequently associated with vintage clothing and goods.

Vegetable tanned leather has some characteristics and advantages that make it desirable in the historical society, such as:

  • Traditional Route.
  • Leathers are robust and long-lasting.
  • Everything is recyclable.
  • Genuine sensation and "earthy" odour.
  • With use and time, it takes on a sheen and becomes more organic or "alive."

Now, that doesn't meant that chrome tan doesn't have its advantages

- Chrome Tan Leather - View Leather

What benefit does chromium tanning offer?

Chromium sulphate is used in the process of "chrome tanning," which keeps animal hides from rotting and preserves them. With many advantages and some disadvantages, this method produces leather that is both soft and very strong.

The finished product from chrome tanning feels soft and supple to the touch and maintains its pigment over time. Additionally, it has a higher level of thermal resilience and is more affordable to purchase than vegetable-tanned leather. 


Deciding between Chrome Tan or Veg Tan

The negative reputation of chrome-tanned leather is largely justified given the potential harm that chrome tanning can cause to the environment. For small to medium sized tanneries in developing nations, where the impact is greatest, this is a huge problem. However, this is less of a problem for large tanneries in Europe and the United States that are subject to stricter regulations, particularly now that technology is progressing to lessen environmental harm. But it's far from perfect—at least not yet.

Every person must decide what materials, leather, glue, dyes, stains, and edge finishes to use and how those materials will affect the environment and even our health. 


 What Does Wilfred's Leather Co offer?

Wilfred's leather Co, located in Ingersoll, Ontario Canada offers a mix between chrome tan and vegetable tanned leathers. While we offer a larger variety of vegetable tanned leathers as the majority of our supply comes directly from Italy. Italy is the epicenter of vegetable tanned leather, practicing the art for centuries and perfecting the practice. 





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