What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Vegetable tanning has been around since ancient times with records of the process being found in scrolls dating back to ancient Egypt! Hides produced from this process tends to be stiff, but flexible allowing for many applications.

While portions of the process itself have changed over the centuries the core technique has remained the same. Hair and fat are removed from the skin and the water molecules are drawn out of the hide. After that, hides spend a couple weeks soaking in vats filled with natural tannins from bark or leaves. Hides are then removed, dried of excess moisture and shaved to a desired thickness. As a result of this process hides will have a natural tan/pinkish color to it.

If the hides are slated to be dyed they will move into another phase of the process. Hides are put into large drums that rotate in the air. They are then hot stuffed with waxes and tallows providing rich color and durability. Finally hides are sprayed with waxes and sealant for protection.

What can I do with Vegetable tanned?

Veg tan has a natural buff color and with a surface devoid of oils and wax. Because of this, the leather is easy to dye to a color of your preference. Additionally, this leather has a firm, but flexible temper. As a result it is perfect for tooling leather projects such as molding, carving, stamping and more.

The Leather Guy is proud to have its own line of Veg Tan Leather called Artisan’s Choice! Artisan’s Choice is a high quality leather that boasts a sleek smooth top side, and a flush clean suede back side on all pieces.

When it comes to sizes, we carry sides, double shoulders, bellies, project pieces, pre-cuts and even earring blanks!

Back to blog