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8 Reasons Why You Should Only Buy Vegetable Tanned Leather Products - The Handmade Store

8 Reasons Why You Should Only Buy Vegetable Tanned Leather Products

Over the last few years, people have started preferring natural and durable products over disposable ones. This massive shift in customer preferences has increased the purchase of only vegetable-tanned leather products.

Wondering what can be the key reasons to buy only those products? Here, you will get to learn.

But, before that let's discuss what vegetable tanned leather is and its comparison with chrome tanned, oil-tanned, and mineral tanned leather.

Keep reading.

What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Vegetable-tanned leather is the tan age or the process of tanning a cowhide into leather. It is called "vegetable" because of the natural tannin (like tree bark) used in the tanning process. Vegetable tanning is one of the oldest tanning techniques.

So what makes vegetable tanning unique? It is perfect for manufacturing thick and durable bags. The slow and lengthy traditional method for processing the veg-tanned leather hides means that the products keep on softening and developing a patina as they grow old.

If you use vegetable-tanned leather-made products, such as bags, purses, shoes, wallets, belts, holders, and saddles, you get more comfortable using them gradually. As the vegetable-tanned leather's edges are turned/burnished, products made from that stay for decades.

This type of leather has that unique "leather" smell rather than the normal aroma of chromium-tanned products. Vegetable-tanned leather is much more expensive than chrome leather, because of the former's artisanal tanning process and thus, used for high-quality handmade leather products.

Though vegetable leather tanning involves little water, less ethnicity, and machinery, it doesn't pollute the environment like the chromium leather process does.

Vegetable-tanned leather is one-of-a-kind and thus, you should buy products made of the material.

Vegetable Tanned vs. Chrome Tanned Vs. Oil Tanned Leather vs. Mineral Tanned

Vegetable Tanning Leather

  • Vegetable Tanning -

You can identify vegetable-tanned, chrome-tanned, oil-tanned, and mineral-tanned leather by looking and touching them. The right way of identification is to send them to a laboratory but that's costly and may also burn the leather.

When a vegetable-tanned leather burns, it emits white smoke once the flame vanishes. The orange smell doesn't have a particular smell. If chrome tanned leather burns, it tends to emit a bluish smoke and an unpleasant smell.

  • Mineral tanning -

also known as chrome-tanning, implements a modern industrial tanning method for state-of-the-art machinery and mass production. The tanning process involves the usage of mineral salts (metals and chemicals), such as mercury and chromium, rather than plant tannins.

The mineral tanning takes only a day and dyes leather in any color as the natural tint bleaches out in the process. The fashion and shoe industries use this type of leather the most because of its quick processing time, and lower price than vegetable-tanned leather.

  • Oil Tanning -

Many countries with less strict environmental laws, mainly Mexico and China, use chemically-tanned leather. Earlier, tanning involved the use of oils, animal brains, and dung. Brain tanning is still evident in several parts across the world, predominantly in Canada. Oil tanning is a specific process used to make chamois. Vegetable tanning is as old as these methods.

  • Chrome Tanning-

Mixed/combined tanning uses both vegetable and mineral tanning processes, which are related to even more industrial and chemical-intensive processes, known as "synthetic tanning". Car parts often contain "syntax" leather, which is reactive to water and may harden/shrink in heat and sunlight.

Hopefully, you understood the comparisons between vegetable-tanned, chrome-tanned, oil-tanned, and mineral tanned leather

Also Read: What type of leather is best for making bags?

8 Reasons to Use Vegetable Tanned Products

Even after the availability of various products made of different types of leather, you should buy only vegetable tanned products because of the following reasons:

  1. High Durability

People who shop for leather products tend to expect long-term usability. As sole leather wears out in time, you need to use them first in a dry environment to fully strengthen the sole before they get wet. But, you can easily replace them at an affordable price.

On the contrary, vegetable-tanned leather handbags and briefcases can stay so long that people of different generations can use them. Thus, vegetable-tanned products are the perfect choice if durability matters to you the most.

Veg tanned leather hardly gets damaged, but you may face an issue with stitching/fastening after repeated use. In such a situation, you can fully repair and make them look new again.

Also Read: Long-Lasting Leather Bags

2. Eco-friendly

Veg Tanned Vs. Chrome Tanned

Vegetable-tanned leather products are not risky for the environment after you dispose of them because of their natural origin and features.

Moreover, they are fully safe to wear and use, and thus a healthy choice.

3. Pleasant Smell

People love to buy and use vegetable-tanned leather products because of their natural smell, looks, and surface.

You can always buy products made of other leathers but none of them emit that rich odor that veg tannins give to the hides.

Also Read: How to get rid of leather bag odor?

4. Natural Characteristics

Vegetable Tanned Leather Products

Most of the veg-tanned leather goods have only an oiled, polished, or waxed surface.

The natural grain leather surface, created naturally by the wool/hair pattern, stays visible.

5. Graceful Aging

Vegetable Tanned Leather Aging

As the origin of veg tanning is 100% natural, vegetable-tanned leather changes a little over time with repeated use. The change depends on the combination of tannins used and applied on any finish, which has been put on the exterior.

Vegetable-tanned products darken a bit in daylight. They also develop a patina, which enhances the overall look as they age.

6. Mouldable

Veg tanned Leather Mould

One of the major reasons behind vegetable-tanned leather's popularity is that it is moldable. Earlier, manufacturers used to mold such leather to manufacture armor, shields, jugs, and drinking vessels.

Nowadays, modern design talent helps in molding leather in tabletops, designing a wall hanging, and round doors. The 17th-century gilt leather wall coverings in Europe castles and lavish houses reflect the molding skill. Other types of leather can't be molded this way.

7. Ideal for Craftsmanship

Leather Craftsmen Vegetable Tanned

As vegetable tanned or re-tanned leather is perfect for craftsmanship, people prefer to use them for smartphone and tablet covers. It is humanising the contemporary gadget world yet meeting the exquisite modern design requirements.

Veg-tanned leather can be an ideal craft piece because of its capability of getting inked, embossed, or molded. You can apply different finishes on this leather depending on the end uses.

8. Burnished Effect

You can apply a surface polish to certain vegetable tanned leather products to create a burnished effect.

The combination of veg extracts involved in the tanning process with waxes and oils during the finishing ensures a very dark and rich burnish effect.

The Bottom Line

Vegetable-tanned leather can always be a great choice for a product manufacturer, designer, and customers, be it for traditional or modern purposes.

If you want to buy products that stay for decades, age gracefully, are healthy for the environment, and emit a pleasant smell, buy those made of only vegetable-tanned products.

Checkout our collection of Vegetable-Tanned Leather Bags.

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Author Bio

Seo Singh, AKA Karan Singh, is a Podcaster, Content Marketer, and SEO Consultant with 10+ years of experience. He is also an expert in Leather, Vintage Home Decor and owns various e-commerce stores in such sectors.

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