Tanner Bates Repair Shop

Tanner Bates Repair Shop

October 09, 2020

Repair, Reuse, Repurpose
Make do and mend
Waste not want not
As good as new
It is so important to preserve the world’s precious resources. At Tanner Bates we’re passionate about sustainability. For us, this means carefully sourcing our materials, crafting products that last a lifetime and lovingly repairing, reusing or repurposing wherever possible.
Upcycling and repairing allows us and our customers to tell new stories through well loved items. From Gladstone Bag rebuilds, to vintage sheepskin jacket straps and from antique Inuit whale bone knifes to vintage Loewe handbags; we share some of our favourite stories from the workbench at the Tanner Bates Repair Shop over on our blog. Read here.
We love the individual challenge and story behind each repair. If you have any leather products in need of a bit of tlc, or a complete overhaul, get in touch. We’d love to talk through your ideas with you.


A few of our favourite repair stories:
Gladstone Bag Rebuild
Perhaps the largest repair we have ever undertaken was the complete overhaul and remaking of a Gladstone bag. For John, this was a 25 year ambition to completely renovate his classic 20” Gladstone bag.
It is made from veg tan bag-hide, piped seams and entirely hand stitched. The original brass frame was reused and the leather was replaced with unique veg tan Dartmoor Pony.
A real labour of love, but what a stunning result!
Antique Inuit Whale Bone Knife Sheath
Recently we made a new leather top for an antique Inuit Icelandic whale bone knife sheath. These knives were absolutely fascinating, the level of detail in the engraving was very impressive, and told the story of the Inuit way of life. This was an interesting job for us, we had to hand dye the leather, and then wet form it around the sheath and handle of the knife. We’re really pleased with the result.
New Straps for an Old Coat
A customer approached us with an old leather sheepskin jacket. We were able to add a couple of neck and wrist straps to the jacket. We made the straps out of some of our Devon Oak Bark Tanned leather in Tan. How smart!
Vintage Loewe, New Tanner Bates Handles
A customer’s much loved vintage Loewe handbag was in need of some new handles. We were able to source leather that was a close match, make and fit strong new handles to the bag.
The stitching on this beautiful old leather binoculars case had worn out, we re box-stitched the entire thing and added a new strap, ensuring many more years of use.


Some of our favourite products are made out of repurposed vintage stirrup leather. An absolutely incredible leather with a fantastic backstory.
On a trip up to our local Devon Tannery, J&FJ Bakers and Co in Colyton, John happened upon a pile of hides in a dark corner.
This pile of hides had sat there, untouched and forgotten about for more than 50 years, no one knows precisely how long. The hides were originally tanned for stirrup leathers, however they had been rejected due to minor surface scratching.
This leather is thick, strong and extremely tough. The hides are hand-dyed a very dark brown, waxy and smell strongly of leather. Truly old fashioned and labour intensive. Genuine vintage leather.
John got carried away and made a bid for the lot!
It is one of our favourite leathers. We create beautiful belts and occasionally journals and wallets out of it.

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