Vegetable Tanned Leather
Our leather is vegetable tanned and comes from old American tanneries and individual rural tanners. Vegetable tanning describes the natural process of using the tannins found in barks, wood and other parts of plants to convert animal skin into leather. It is one of the oldest methods of making leather and has been used for thousands of years.
Like raw denim, vegetable tanned leather wears gracefully and molds to the owner's habits over time. All vegetable tanned leather darkens and develops a natural patina over time with exposure to natural elements like sun, water and oil. After several months or years, a vegetable tanned product can acquire a rich unique patina that is strikingly different from its new appearance.
Most Barrett Alley leather products are lightly preconditioned with neatsfoot oil to preserve the leather's shape and texture and to facilitate an even darkening during the natural aging process. There is no need to add oil or conditioner to your new product, but after half a year or so, you may wish to recondition it. There are many commercial leather conditioning products available, as well as natural animal oils such as mink oil and neatsfoot oil. Store-bought leather conditioners will clean and add luster. Animal oils may darken the leather considerably. Be careful though - continuously saturating leather with too much of any oil will weaken the leather over time and make it prone to tearing. Vegetable tanned leather can be lightly cleaned and conditioned by buffing briskly with a soft cotton or linen cloth. This friction slightly heats the leather and brings its natural oils to the surface.