Speakeasy | The Goods

Vegetable Tanned VS. Chrome Tanned Leather

Vegetable Tanned VS. Chrome Tanned Leather

The Goods has always been trying to provide the best products with minimal, clean aesthetics at a fair price without brand name mark ups. Here are some background information about the differences between tanning methods and why we choose to use vegetable tanned leather on our pieces. 

There are two ways to tan cowhide leather, vegetable tanning and chrome tanning.

Vegetable Tanned

Vegetable tanning is the traditional way for tanning hides, most of the process is done by hand which could take up to 40 days to produce a piece. The artisans use natural ingredients such as tree barks to tan the leather, so depending on the plant used the results are usually warm, rich tones of brown. This process is usually done by experienced tanneries. 

Advantages 

  • Only natural ingredients are used while tanning
  • Environmental friendly
  • Can be recycled
  • Improve with age, develops a patina
  • Each piece is completely unique
  • Rich warm tones, looks natural
  • The leather fragrant
  • Lasts long

Disadvantages

  • Long process to make each piece
  • Doesn't react well with water
  • Pricier
  • Limited color selection
  • Direct heat can cost shrinkage/ crack

Chrome Tanned

80-90 % of leather hides are tanned by chrome (mineral chemicals). Tanneries use solutions of chemicals, acids, salt to tan the hide and Chromium Sulfate after. Chrome tanning is usually a quick process which takes about 1 day to produce each piece. The leather would be soak in acid salt mixture first, then place it in chromium sulfate to soak more. The color results usually comes out light blue  then it will be finished with another layer of color applied.

Advantages

  • Quick and easy to produce
  • Stain resistant
  • Softer touch compare to vegetable tanning
  • Color remains the same
  • Cheaper price and easier access
  • High thermal resistance

Disadvantages

  • Bad for the environment from tanning ingredients and not recyclable 
  • Mass produced
  • Doesn't wear well or last long
  • Crack easily
  • Smells like chemical
  • Doesn't appear very natural
  • Doesn't create patina over time

At The Goods, we value the quality of the leather that we are working with. We want to make products that are not only timeless designs, but looks even better as time passes by. There are advantages and flaws in both tanning process but we believe in being sustainable is the responsible way to produce products even though it will be a higher cost on our end. Durable quality and patina created over time by use is what we want everyone to experience, and every piece is uniquely catered to whom uses it.