The Oak Bark tanned leather was originally made for bridles and stirrup leathers. Devon cowhides are tanned just using oak bark from the Lake District and water from the River Coly the flows by the tannery and drives their water wheel. The hides are suspended in an oak bark liquor and the water wheel agitates the liquor ensuring full absorption of the tannins. Its the tannins that do the essential work transforming skin into leather. The hides are processed completely by hand which takes almost 18 months. Bakers tannery in Colyton is the only oak bark tannery in Europe. Each of our oak bark tanned hides is unique and bursting with character. No two are the same. The rich brown dye has great depth - it is applied by hand and varies across the hide giving an interesting depth to the colour. The leather is full grain - the blemishes and scarring naturally found on the cows skin are not removed.
The Russia Kip leather has a fascinating provenance. It is tanned to an ancient Russian recipe using 3 different wood barks - oak, willow and birch then dressed in birch oil. Russia, before the revolution, was world famous for its traditional techniques of leather making. They were making the best leather. We got to know about this in the 70's particularly in south west England when a sunken ship was discovered by divers of the coast of Plymouth. Its cargo was hemp and leather coming from Russia on the Metta Catharina. She sank in 1786. The hides had been under water over 200 years. The leather was rescued and carefully renovated. This leather has been mostly used up now so Bakers Tannery in Colyton, at the request of a prestigious French leathergoods manufacturer, took up the challenge to make something to at least match the quality of the original Russian hides. Bakers use Devon calf skins to create this exceptional leather tanning it with 3 different barks and dressing it with Birch oil. The Midi Baja with solid brass fittings is a perfect match for this extraordinary leather. Like all our natural leathers it starts off slightly stiff but in no time softens, gently shines and becomes a part of you and your daily life.
The Italian tumbled leather is sourced from a family run tannery in Florence. The Florentine Tanners make their leather in the old way using plant materials, traditional techniques, patience and closely guarded family secrets. The slow process of bark tanning yields a leather with a smell and patina reminiscent of a time past. The tumbling process dyes the leather a rich mahogany colour and softens it creating an interesting grain pattern.
All of our leathers have loads of character so that each of our bags can be unique, bursting with character and individuality. No two are the same.
Each bag is carefully made by hand in the Tanner Bates workshop by skilled leather craftsmen. Our patterns are selectively positioned on the hides and the leather is cut by hand using specialist semi-circular knives.
Tanner Bates bags are made to last. All edges and stitching are exposed so that should the stitching ever break repair is simple.
Our Naturally tanned leather is tough and can take a battering. We stitch it with a durable rot resistant thread which will give years of service. Occasionally a dose of Tanner Bates Liquid wax will make it look good as new.
Naturally tanned leather benefits from and will look its very best if given an occasional dose of natural waxes and oils. Our Leather care information card is included with every purchase.