What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Vegetable-tanned leather is a term that refers to the process of tanning cowhide into leather. It is referred to as “vegetable” since natural materials like tree bark are utilized in the tanning process. Vegetable tanning, often known as veg tan, is one of the earliest tanning techniques known to man. It dates back to ancient times. But now, fewer than ten percent of leather in the world has tanned this manner.

It enables us to utilize thicker leather, resulting in greater body and character – ideal for creating bags. Tanned vegetable leather is also more aging and, over time, acquires a beautiful patina. And the traditional leather smells great.

The Tanning process for vegetable products

Preparing the hides is necessary before anything else can be done. For a few days, they rehydrate the hides and remove the hair. The hide is divided into two sections, known as sides.

The second step is tanning.

The split skins are then placed in huge vats of natural tannins. Tree bark is part of these natural tannins. The hides must be regularly attended to for two weeks while soaking in the tanning liquor to guarantee complete tanning. The skins are then stripped of superfluous moisture and shaved to the appropriate thickness.

This approaches the end of the road for vegetable tanned leather, which is not colored. The kind of vegetable-tanned leather that bears this hue has a light pinkish appearance. But the veg tan that we use is essential to make our leather so distinctive, rich in color and character.

The next step is dyeing, stuffing, and drying.

The tanned skins come at this stage as a blank canvas, waiting to be filled with vibrant color and character. The hides are colored into huge drums, which appear like a barrel of wine on rotating steroids in the air.

We do this using waxes and tallows, which are completely absorbed into the leather to enhance the strength.

The skins are cured and staked thereafter. Staking is a technique that only a little softens the leather.

Step 4: Leather Completion

At this point, the skins are treated with another wax/sealant blend.

It takes six weeks to finish the procedure, which is difficult because of the time and effort required.

craig sandeman

Meet Craig, the leather guru behind a store and blog that helps you find the best leather products. When he’s not curating lists of top-tier leather items, he’s hiking Table Mountain or walking his dog. Trust his picks, and you’ll never feel leather regret.

I’ve carefully chosen each and every product on this site. And if you happen to make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive  a commission. – thanks! :)

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