When you buy a wallet like our THIN BOLD WALLET in rustic saddle leather, you admire the rustic beauty and a broken-in feel. It’s vegetable-tanned, aniline, milled shoulders, and 100% Italian.
Can we say…
You may know this, but leather ages beautifully! Yes, it may take time, but with a little bit of patience and the right technique there are a few things you should do no matter which look you prefer. We consulted with Amber, our resident leatherologist. Here, we narrowed down her tips:
1. Natural remedy If you’re working with a small scuff or light scratch on a veg-tanned leather. Use two fingers and squeeze the scratch so that it’s raised. After it’s raised rub the area with your fingertip. The natural oils on your figures generally run out the marks.
2. Be gentle For a little dirt: just use a damp (not wet) cloth. (Gently rub – don’t scrub – for removal) If leather gets too wet; dry it slowly in room temperature. Using a blow dryer may cause the leather to stiffen and may even crinkle. Don’t use soap or caustic chemicals. For those aggressive stains and grime – we suggest using something like Apple Leather Cleaner that will help preserve the natural lubricating oils instead of stripping them.
Remember: Before cleaning leather, always spot-test in an inconspicuous area before use.
3. Always follow-up To maintain the leather’s soft, supple feel and appearance; use a wax-free conditioner, such as Apple Leather Conditioner. The appropriate treatment of a leather item depends on its condition, so make sure to follow-up with a good cleaning at least twice a year.
4. Storing Remember that leather is a natural material and should be stored in a breathable bag, not plastic. Ventilation prevents leather from drying out and cracking. They are better in cardboard boxes and wrapped in paper.
5. Ensure a long life Leather is like skin, if you take good care of it and you’ll notice the difference. Although leather is very durable, it is not indestructible.
Well, that’s it from our leatherologist for now. Got your own DIY techniques for leather care? Share with us.
Shop our selection of men’s leather wallets here. For a general guideline to help ensure a long life for any type of leather – details here.
If you’ve spent time browsing Leatherology or other leather sites, you’ve probably seen terms like ‘full grain’ and ‘corrected grain’ referring to specific items. But do you know what they mean? There’s more to it than just making you think you’re getting a fancy cut of leather.
(Image above show swatches from our Terra, Classico, and Timeless collection – top to bottom)
One cow doesn’t just give you one type of leather. You can get any type of leather from any cow – it all has to do with how the hide is treated. A cow’s skin is like our skin. It’s covered in hair, it’s tough to protect the body, and over time it will show signs of wear. Cow fall down, run into fences, get in fights, get bit, get branded – you get the picture. All of those things contribute to how the hide ends up looking. With that in mind, here’s what all those terms you see on leather sites actually mean, along with some photos from our very own factory!
(Image above show hides from our Zita and Terra collection – top to bottom)
Full grain leather is top quality stuff, leaving most of the cow’s natural grain intact. All the original marks on the skin are still there (which we think gives extra character). Some full grain leather is spray treated, but most is aniline dyed, which helps preserve that natural look. As a bonus, it will patina over time, helping it look better with age.
When a hide’s going to be used for leather, it’s split into layers – the upper layers are called top grain and the bottom layers are called split grain. The very top of the top layer, the most desirable part, is where we get full grain leather. The rest of the upper layers end up as top grain. If you want a really smooth, finished looking piece of leather, this is for you, as all the scars, brands, and other marks are sanded out of the hide.
Leatherology doesn’t use corrected grain leather, but it’s still useful to know about it. It’s just what it sounds like – leather that wasn’t presentable enough to be used, so it had to be corrected. The top part gets removed and rebuilt through things like debossing an artificial grain into it. The bottom layers of corrected grain tend to be weaker fibers that don’t have the strength of quality leather, making a product that won’t last as long as full grain or top grain.
Split leather is another kind that we don’t use, but here’s what it is. A cow’s hide is really, really thick. When it arrives at a tannery, it gets split into layers. You’ve got your full and top grain, then everything else. In that everything else is the split leather. It looks like suede on both sides and it has to have an artificial grain applied since it’s from the underside of the skin. As you can imagine, it’s a low quality product that’s often used to save on production costs.