If you’ve accidentally neglected vegetable-tanned leather or found a forgotten treasure in a thrift shop, we explain how to rejuvenate and rescue old, dry leather and moldy, mildewed leather.

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You may appreciate our leathercrafting approach here at Walnut Studiolo, but how can you tell if leather is good quality when you’re looking at it in a store or from a photograph online?

Can you tell what kind of leather it is, or if it’s recoverable when you’ve found a hidden gem at a thrift store?

In this post, we’ll discuss observable design details so you can make informed decisions about leather goods.

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Leather is an expensive material and leathercrafting is time-intensive work, so makers want to make sure they select the most cost-effective leather for the job, and time is money. But beyond basic leather choice and color, there are a lot of other decisions to make on which leather to use for which products.

In this post, we’ll explain what else you should look for when deciding whether a product is quality – meaning, is it using the right leather for the right purpose to ensure a long and useful life. Plus – why maker-made matters.

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This post puts everything we’ve discussed about leather on this blog all together into one tidy infographic: this is the leather we use at Walnut Studiolo. We think it’s the best, and we’re proud of it.

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Once a cowhide is preserved for long life through tanning, the tannery can choose to apply any number of finishing treatments to it to change, enhance, or obscure its look, feel, or durability — or not, because natural leathers can be finished in the workshop.

The finishing process is where much of the confusion between leathers come from. Many of the treatments are done to obscure the actual quality of the leather. Some finishing treatments provide useful shortcuts for those in the workshops and factories making products out of leather.

In this post, we walk through some of the finishing options, including coloring, coatings, and waxes. And we’ll talk about why we do it the hard way, finishing our full grain vegetable-tanned cowhide by hand in the workshop.

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After leather has been split at the tannery into full grain, top grain, or other splits, it is tanned. Tanning is the ancient process of removing perishable natural oils from animal hides and preserving it with tannins or other substances for a long life.

In this post we’ll explain the most common tanning processes: vegetable-tanning and mineral-tanning, plus briefly, other kinds of tanning.

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Cowhide is the most common leather, comprising 67% of leather produced globally. In this post we’ll explain how tanneries create different structures of cowhide leather – including full grain, top grain, genuine, suede, and bonded leathers.

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In this post we’ll do an overview of the various kinds of animal leathers and leather alternatives before we focus on the one we use, cowhide.

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Often called mankind’s “first fabric,” leather has been considered a fine and treasured material since the beginning of history and across nearly all cultures and peoples around the globe.

In this kick-off to our leather learning series, we go through a brief introduction to Leather: what it is; how it’s made; and what it’s used for.

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More than once, we’ve been surprised to find how little information there is about leather – as broadly diverse a natural material as fabric or wood. We can’t wait to tell you more about it. What would you like to know?

We’re writing a free educational series. Help us write about what’s most interesting to you, by filling out this brief, one-question Google poll: Continue reading