Here at Loch Ness Leather, we use Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather for all of our hand-dyed products, belts, handbags, keyrings, wristbands etc
Vegetable tanned leather is a beautiful material to work with, but what is it?
'Tanning' a leather is the process of turning it from a raw hide, into useable leather. Without this process, the hide would be stiff, would rot, and be pretty smelly! Tanning the hide turns it into a useful, long lasting material.
The 'Vegetable' part, refers to the fact that natural materials like tree bark are used to treat the leather. This process can take a number of weeks, but the time is well spent! This is a long time compared to the alternative, Chrome Tanning leather, which only takes a few days. This process uses a solution of chemicals to tan the leather. Chrome Tanned leather is suitable for some products in the leather working world, but it can crack easily, doesn't get that wonderful patina you get with Veg Tan, and of course, Veg Tan has that great leather smell!
So, Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather is what we use for any of our hand dyed products. And the 'natural' part means that we order if from the tannery as it is, with no colour added at the tanning stage. We then dye it ourselves using our own colours here in the workshop. Again, this takes extra time compared to a pre-dyed leather, but it's what makes our products special. We have a great variety of wonderful bright colours, and the dye we use really picks out the individual marks in the leather itself. Giving each piece its own unique look.