Here at JAW Leather Goods, it is clearly all about the leather, and this whole company started with a passion for high quality hides. We continue to pride ourselves on using the finest hides we can find to fit the project we are working on. In our wallets, we use high quality leather from Horween Tannery in Chicago, Il, Wickett and Craig Tannery in Pennsylvania, as well as vegetable tanned cowhides from Europe. For our bags, we source high quality chrome tanned hides tanned in the USA from various tanneries, depending on our needs. You can rest assured that we do not use leather tanned using exploited labor, and we try to support American and European tanneries that value the environment. Unfortunately, tanning hides using mineral salts is bad for the environment, and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. By supporting American and European tanneries, we are supporting environmental efforts in those countries that don't exist in the countries that tan most of the leather in the world. We encourage you to ask where your leather comes from when you are buying leather products, as it makes a difference, and if everyone cared just a little bit, we can change a toxic and exploitative industry around the world.
Chrome Tanning - The most common way of making hides into leather in modern times. Fast, efficient, and straightforward. Can be used to make a wide range of leather types, but generally chrome tanned in the soft supple type of leather. It can also create leather that is extremely strong, with a high tensile strength and limited stretch. Hides are tumbled in vats and can be tanned in just a day or two.
Vegetable tanning - Think 'old world' with veg tanning. Using oak, sumac, and various other bark extracts, the leather is soaked for weeks to months. This creates a leather that has very specific attributes. Veg tan leather can be embossed, wet formed, and burnished. Think saddle leather. Great for many applications, and with milling can be softened, but generally this is the type of leather we think of needing to "break in." Natural veg tan leather will darken naturally when exposed to sunlight. We use this type of leather for the interior of most of our wallet styles, as it really holds its shape and forms to fit your stuff. Also, it is the most fun, as it breaks in differently based on the way you use it, making each piece unique after some use.
Combination Tanned - This is just what it sounds like, using both techniques to get the best of both worlds. Historically this leather has been referred to as "Latigo" in the western tradition, but now there are many different styles of combo tanned leathers that are used for different purposes. For example, Horween Chromexcel, a leather we use for a lot of our wallets is combination tanned. This creates a leather that has the body and sturdy hand of veg tan leather, with the added bonus of being much more pliable.