Leather 101: Caring for Leather Furniture

Hello BestLeather readers! I’m Chris Repp, a second-generation leather restoration professional and the creator of LeatherHelp.com. I’ve spent 25 years cleaning, repairing and restoring leather furniture, automotive leather interiors, leather jackets, bags, yacht cabin leather and private aircraft leather seating. More often lately, I’m training others to do the same.

While you are a sophisticated audience here at BestLeather, I am a blue-collar leather guy. I don’t have a degree in leather technology or a comprehensive …

Leather 101: The Different Types of Leather

Leatherworking has been around for as long as man has been eating meat. It’s an old craft with lots of tradition and terminology. This makes learning about the leather craft a whole lot of fun, but it can also make it confusing for consumers. When buying leather products, you want to make sure you know what you’re paying for. This often means wading through the marketing and learning some of the common terminology when it comes …

A Comprehensive List of American-Made Footwear

There are many reasons to buy American-made – from creating jobs to reducing your carbon footprint to enjoying safer, higher-quality products. We’ve compiled a list of footwear brands that are manufactured right here in the US of A. Several of the companies below do not manufacture their entire product lines in the U.S., but we’ve linked to their American-made lines.

Alden – Men’s …

Measuring the Thickness of Leather

In our reviews, we often talk about the thickness of leather. The thickness of a piece of leather affects its durability and flexibility, meaning it’s important for the informed consumer to have a general idea of leather thickness is and what types of products each range is used for. There are several ways to measure the thickness of leather, which we will explain below.

The Ounce
We most frequently refer to the thickness of leather in terms of “ounces.” …

All About Saddle Stitching

We love to talk about the superiority of hand-stitched leather products, but why exactly is this the case? Often times, machines can run circles around humans when it comes to speed and precision. But with many aspects of leather crafting, this just isn’t the case.

Machine Stitching
When a sewing machine is used to stitch two pieces of leather together,  that line of stitching uses two separate pieces of …

Hermann Oak Leather Company – About the Harness Line of Leather

The Hermann Oak Leather Company provided BestLeather.org with the opportunity of reviewing a few different lines of their leather.  We’ve reported on their Latigo line of leather as well as their English Bridle line of leather in previous articles.  The purpose in reviewing some of their different leathers was to showcase and highlight the advantages and uses of each line and where their greatest strengths lie.

As with all of Hermann Oak’s leather, …

Dave Munson from Saddleback Leather on How to Tan Leather Correctly

Dave Munson from Saddleback Leather recently put out a new video on leather tanning and how to avoid purchasing bad leather. The 13 minute video is informative and sports the same “tongue in cheek” spirit of Saddleback’s “How to Knock Off a Bag” video. This new video shows how some people cut corners and use cheaper quality leather (while at the same time conveying Saddleback’s dedication to using high quality leather).

Be forewarned, it is a …

About the Hermann Oak English Bridle Line of Leather

The Hermann Oak Leather Company is one of the premier commercial tanneries remaining in the United States.  Established in 1881 by Louis Charles Hermann to provide harness leather to wagon trains and settlers traveling west, Hermann Oak has maintained a tradition of producing high quality vegetable tanned leather.  Businesses tend to flourish when a high quality product is provided at a fair price and Hermann Oak is no exception.  As the company grew, Fred …

United States Hide, Skin, and Leather Association

At BestLeather we’re always researching and attempting to learn more about leather, leather crafting, and everything associated with the industry. Recently we stumbled upon the website for the United States Hide, Skin, and Leather Association.

The USHSLA is an interesting entity combined of a variety of companies. The video below is a little long (about 15 minutes), but it’s full of interesting, relevant information. It contains a lot of great information about the entire …

Hermann Oak Leather Company – About The Sierra Latigo Line of Leather

The Hermann Oak Leather Company was established in 1881 in order to handle the local harness trade and to supply the wagon trains of settlers traveling west along the Lewis and Clark trails.  As the company grew, they began to supply the US military with various leather needs for both World Wars, and also began to establish a reputation for producing some of the finest vegetable tanned leathers available.  Hermann Oak has become renowned …

About The Hermann Oak Leather Company

The Hermann Oak Leather Company was founded in 1881 by Louis Charles Hermann to supply the settlers and wagon trains headed west.  The company grew over the years and became a supplier of leather for US soldiers in both World Wars, and countless artisans and craftsman since.

Since its inception, the company has been committed to producing the highest quality vegetable tanned leathers for a variety of purposes.  Today, the company is actively managed by Shep …

Horween Leather Company – The Essex Line of Leather

The Horween Leather Company was established in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois by Master Tanner and founder Isadore Horween.  At the time, there were thousands of tanneries in the United States and at its peak, dozens in Chicago.  Isadore Horween felt that he could produce a better tanned hide based on his tanning experience, and soon the Horween name was known for its high quality leather.  Today, Horween is the only tannery in the Chicago …

All About The Types Of Leather Use In Shoes – Type, Thickness, And Grains

Unlike other objects made of leather, like furniture, coats, purses and so on, the majority of shoe leather is stretched over a last (a wooden or plastic form in the general shape of a foot) to create the shoe upper. To do this the leather has to be within a certain range of thickness. And, certain types of leather define the type and quality of the shoe. Lets dig into what leathers are ideal for …

Ashland Leather’s Chromexcel Scratch Removal Guide

Chromexcel leather will scratch, scuff, and dent easily, which leads to a beautiful refined ruggedness. It’s all part of the life of leather. These scratches quickly develop a wallet into one that might be a lot like your grandfather’s– loved and used for many years. Scuffs will eventually smooth out through normal use, but we can definitely speed up the process with this method.

To make our point, we took a used Natural Chromexcel Tony the Ant, and gouged it with a fingernail. The result is a pretty obvious surface scratch.

Buying Cheap: How It Costs You More When You Could Have High Quality And Durability

There is a famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi

“Its a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.”

– Mahatma Ghandi

Buy It For Life – Part Seven: 6 Rational Reasons to Buy An Expensive Leather Bag Instead Of An Inexpensive Bag

The thought of putting hundreds of dollars into a simple bag that will carry your goods is often understandably troubling. After all, why spend hundreds of dollars when you can just spend fifty to do the same thing? However, you should know these facts as you go about making a decision on how much to spend.

Personally, I have not seen another industry that more truly reflects the cliche “you get what you pay for” than …

Buy It For Life – Part Six: Buy For Life Every Time?

Should we demand high quality in every product we purchase or is it OK to be content with low quality from time to time and in some circumstances?
The most appropriate answer would be similar to the answer that my psychology professors in college would often give: it depends. If obtaining quality is within reach, even with some sacrifice or patience, it is worth it to forgo a cheap product in lieu of saving up to …

Buy It For Life – Part Five: Cachet

Cachet, “the state of being respected or admired” is another hallmark of quality. Cachet is intangible, yet produces a physiological effect, that impacts how we view and feel about an object.
Certain goods are produced in a way that make people who have them look or feel better. When I purchased my first high quality leather bag and brought it with me to work, my head was held a little higher, and my chest was puffed …

Buy It For Life – Part Four: Cost

More expensive products are not always the best products, but how expensive an item is, is usually an indicator of quality. Cost is another hallmark of quality. Just because something costs more though, does not mean that that something is better, or does it?
There certainly is a relationship between cost and quality. It is impossible to make something very well, if the materials and the skill of the craftsman are poor. Highly skilled craftsman demand …