Leather and Colorway Guide

This page is to help you choose leather type(s) and colors for your made-to-order item.

Information about the leathers offered follows, proceeded by an FAQ and Suggested Colorways.

 

The Leather

Several leathers from some of the best known and highest regarded French, Italian, and Japanese tanneries are offered.

For general information about leather types and finishes, please see my Leather Guide.

Chèvre Crispé

Chèvre Crispé comes from century-old French tannery, Relma, which specializes in vegetable tanned goatskin for use in bookbinding and luxury leather goods. Chèvre Crispé has a wonderful subtle texture, vibrant colors, and is lightly finished for better color fastness, as well as providing some scratch and water resistance. It works great for both the interior and exterior of items.

Article:

Chèvre Crispé

Type:

Goatskin

Origin:

France

Tannery:

Relma

Tannage:

Vegetable

Finish:

Semi-aniline

Temper:

Medium

Aging:

Gradual dulling of texture

Shell Cordovan

Shell Cordovan is an equine leather that’s prized for its resilience, its luster, and its graceful aging.

I stock shells from renowned Japanese tannery, Shinki-Hikaku, as well as those from dyeing specialist, Leder Ogawa*. I believe these two companies produce the most refined and beautiful shells on the market today.

Shinki shells have a glossy finish thanks to undergoing a glazing process, where the leather is polished with glass. The colors have pleasant natural variation and subtle marbling.

Leder Ogawa’s shells are hand dyed and finished. Compared to Shinki’s, they are less glossy, the colors are more uniform and have fantastic depth.

Shell wears extremely well over time and, like other vegetable tanned leathers, develops a lot of character with use.

It should be one of your top contenders if you’re considering a smooth exterior for your item.

Note: While shell is an exceptionally durable material, it is not a resistant material. Its waxy surface will scratch fairly easily. However, scratches will become less apparent and blend into the character of the leather as it ages. Another bright point is that it responds to reconditioning (i.e. scratches, etc. buffed out) very well.

*Leder Ogawa is not a tannery. It performs the dyeing and finishing on Shinki-Hikaku “crusts”, or unfinished shells.

Article:Shell CordovanType:Shell Cordovan
Origin:JapanTannery:Shinki-Hikaku
Tannage:VegetableFinish:Aniline
Temper:FirmAging:Absorbs character from use, darkens

Museum Calf

This is one of the most recognizable leathers in the world, thanks to its extensive use in fine footwear. Museum calf is characterized by it’s mottled color. It has a pleasant soft hand, yet firm temper. Thanks to mineral tanning, it is more resistant to scratches and water than its vegetable tanned counterparts.

Article:

Museum Calf

Type:

Calfskin

Origin:

Italy

Tannery:

Ilcea

Tannage:

Mineral

Finish:

Aniline

Temper:

Firm

Aging:

Softens, develops sheen

Sherpa

Sherpa is buffalo calfskin produced by French Tannery, Remy Carriat. Compared to other bovine leathers, it has a more varied and interesting grain. It is also an extremely tough leather–the most resistant in the lineup. Despite its toughness, it still retains very pleasant, soft feel. Works great for both the interior or exterior of items and there’s plenty of colors to choose from.

Article:

Sherpa

Type:

Buffalo Calf

Origin:

France

Tannery:

Remy Carriat

Tannage:

Mineral

Finish:

Semi-aniline

Temper:

Medium soft

Aging:

Develops slight sheen

Pueblo

Pueblo is classic Italian vacchetta, vegetable tanned cowhide, with a twist. Its grain has been gently sueded, which gives it that beautiful vintage look.

It will develop lots of character with use. Colors will darken and fibers will compact, as well as the development of a slight sheen. If you’re a patina lover, this won’t disappoint.

Article:PuebloType:Cowhide
Origin:ItalyTannery:Badalassi Carlo
Tannage:VegetableFinish:Aniline leather with sueded surface
Temper:MediumAging:Color darkens, develops sheen, absorbs character from use

Vono

Vono is traditional pit-tanned cowhide from Japanese tannery, Tochigi. The pit-tanning is said to give extra toughness to the resulting leather and Vono does indeed feel very robust. This leather will show interesting character as it ages, but will patina slower than your typical veg tan. The dye is also beautifully done with nice depth of color.

Article:VonoType:Cowhide
Origin:JapanTannery:Tochigi
Tannage:VegetableFinish:Glazed aniline
Temper:Very firmAging:Color darkens and absorbs character from use

Exotic Leathers

Sharkskin

Sharkskin is characterized by deep ridges in the skin, giving it its wonderful texture. It’s regarded as one of the very toughest leathers there is, but despite that, this Japanese sharkskin has a wonderful soft and luxurious texture.

 

Python

Along with crocodile and ostrich, python is one of the quintessential exotics. The texture is quite striking from the array of scales, giving it its alluring dimensional look. Unlike most snakeskins, python is actually quite durable.

The python used is sourced from Japan and has a soft matte finish. You can expect it to see it patina. The color will darken and, it will absorb character from use. Scales are securely attached, although they may fold somewhat with use.

 

FAQ

Colorways

While there are near endless possibilities for color combinations, many of the nicest looking examples will:

  1. Use a lighter colored leather on the interior of the item.
  2. Use thread that is either the same color or lighter than both leathers.

There are, naturally, many exceptions. In the case of exotic leathers, for example, subtle contrasts work best (especially as threading is concerned) as to not detract attention from the leather itself.

Note: The method of hand sewing I employ, saddle stitching, doesn’t allow for different color exterior and interior thread, as the needle passes through both sides of the perimeter.

Suggested Colorways

Several examples of the suggested colorways follow, categorized by exterior color. Please choose the exterior and interior leather types based on the suggestions provided above. If you have further questions or would like to request input on your chosen colorway, please add an order note or contact me.