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Traditional Oak Bark Tanned Leather

Our Clydesdale Leather Belt contains leather by one of England’s most prestigious tannery believed to be by many in the industry to be the best harness leather in the world. A family-owned business that was founded in 1862 with the tannery itself is said to date back to Roman times. Tanning with oak bark is a long and laborious task involving 12 months of tanning the leather in a mixture of oak bark and water. The slow gentle tanning process maintains the natural alignment of the fibres in the leather. The result is leather that is lightweight, hardwearing and has strong tensile strength compared to other tanning methods.

The Tanning Process:

Oak Bark Tanning is a very traditional form of tanning which contains oak bark taken from trees in the UK. The oak bark is stripped in the spring/summer and is left to completely dry out for 2-3 years. The hides are from Devon and are de-haired after arriving. The oak bark is shoveled to be ground down into pieces that are approximately 2-3 inches. The 400-year-old mechanism is run by a water wheel grinds the oak bark down.

The bark is then used like cups of tea to make strong to weak liquors of tannin. The yard is split into 72 pits. The new hides will begin in the weaker tan and each week will move from pit to pit for the first 3 months. The hides are suspended on sticks which allows for an even tan and the water wheel mechanism lifts the frames up and down ensuring an even tan.

After 3 months the hides will be taken off the sticks and will be layered one of top of each other with handfuls of oak bark thrown in between the hides like a huge sandwich. The hides will then remain in those pits for 9 months. A total of 12 months and by the end of this process the rawhide is converted into leather.

After being taken out of the tanning pits the leather is strengthened and nourished with fats liquors and oils. The leather is dried in a drying shed before being hand dyed with 4 coats of stain to ensure even colour. The leather is further nourished with specifically blended dubbin. The dubbin is applied by hand using a brush for even spread and to ensure it is worked in. This will create a white waxy coating which will rub off with use or with buffing from a soft bristle brush which we do for our customers.

At the end of the process from start to finish it takes approximately 14 months to create one of the finest leathers in the world. This type of leather is a exclusive luxury that not only provides the beauty of a unique traditional leather but also superior strength and durability compared to other tanning methods. This leather that will age beautifully overtime and with the thickness of the Clydesdale Leather Belt at approximately 5 - 5.5mm thick, you can be assured this belt will last many years.

 Due to being a natural product there may be scratches and scars from the animal as well as colour variation between each hide of leather.


Image: Joseph M. Leather Clydesdale Leather Belt (38mm) in Colour Dark Stain with Nickle Plate Buckle