The Leather Tanning Process Broken Down

By on August 5, 2016

Leather messenger bags

Even though many people love to flaunt their fine leather goods, many don’t understand the complicated process that is behind tanning leather. Have you ever wondered what going into making your mens satchels, leather belts, leather totes, and wallets? Well read on to learn the complicated process to bring you those items you love.

Curing

First and foremost, tanneries have to follow a process to turn hides into leather. The first one is applying a chemical that will prevent the hides from deteriorating before the treatment begins. Depending on the hide, the tanner can freeze, salt, and use biocides on the hide.

Soaking in water

The hides are soaked in water anywhere from a couple hours to a few days in order to re-absorb the water lost when it was cured.

Painting

If it is leather made from sheep, then this is the method the tanner would use to remove the wool from the hide.

Liming

The hide will still have hair and skin layers, so the tanner will apply a mixture of chemical to remove the epidermis and remaining hair. These chemicals will cause the hide to swell, which breaks apart the collagen in the skin giving it a rubbery feel.

Fleshing and Deliming

The hide is then ran through a machine to remove the fleshy remnants, and then the hide is neutralized so the tissue does not break apart.

Bating

This process will get rid of any remaining flesh, chemicals, and hair left on the pelt. It helps to relax the hide so it can be flexible for the next stages.

Pickling

Used to preserve the pelt and ensure it does not break down in the future.

Tanning

This process converts the protein of the rawhide into a material that will not liquefy when it comes in contact with heat.

Splitting

If the leather is thick, it will be split into two thinner layers.

Shaving

This makes the leather consistent thickness.

Dyeing

The tanner will dye the leather into any color to suit the needs of the customer. Looking for a blue mens satchel? Or a purple ladies wallet? This is where the creativity comes into play.

Fatliquoring

Adds a protective seal to the leather so it will be flexible and comfortable.

Finishing

An additional protective seal to help repel stains, chemical attacks, water, and any scratches or cuts.

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