VEGETABLE TANNING is the process by which the animal skin, or raw hide, is converted into non-degradable leather through the use of natural vegetable extracts.
Advantages of vegetable tanned leather:
• Vegetable tanned leather uses natural tannins found in some plant species, by using the bark, branches, leaves, fruit and fruit pods.
• No toxic substances such as Azo-dyes, nickel, chrome VI or PCP are used;
• It is irregular, strong and highly durable;
• It lasts a lifetime and is bio-degradable if it ceases to be used;
• It has unique aging qualities, such as the darkening and softening of the leather over time;
• There is the possibility of reusing the final product and in some cases also the leather;
• It is created by skilled craftsmen using artisanal knowledge passed down over the centuries;
• The raw hides are a by-product of the meat industry;
• The tanneries are eco-sustainable, while the local economy is supported.
How vegetable-tanned leather is obtained:
1. The raw hides are first prepared, cut and placed in wooden drums, which serve to clean the skins of hair, fats, salts and other substances.
2. The cleaned hides are then soaked in water containing tannins from selected trees for many days.
3. Dyeing and fattening of the hide follows this, giving the unique, characteristic texture which renders one tannery different to another.
4. The drying stage is necessary for the leather to dry completely.