The Leather

I currently work with 4 different leathers:

  • Veg tanned cowhide,
  • Oak tanned cowhide (russet),
  • Oak tanned bridle leather,
  • Stallion.

Here’s a description of each.

Veg Tanned Cowhide

Tanned using cowhide from Scotland and various leaves and barks. The tannery is based in Derbyshire.

I use this leather the most as it is very versatile and comes in various thickness, from solid 5mm (used for billhook sheaths) to flexible 2mm (used for gadget cases, etc).

I can either dye this leather or leave it natural. Here are the choices:

Natural – just oiled and waxed
Dark Brown
Dark Green
Dark Oxblood Red

Oak Tanned Cowhide – Russet

Tanned using cowhide from Devon and oak bark from Wales and the Northwest of England. The tannery is based in Devon. I visited it in the summer of 2016. Read my blog about it.

I dye this leather with the same dyes as for the standard Veg Tanned Cowhide (above), however the colours tend to come out slightly darker. The oak bark tanning process gives it a tougher feel yet is still flexible and ages beautifully. As this tanning process takes longer the leather is a little more expensive.


Oak Tanned Bridle Leather

This leather comes from the same tannery as the standard oak bark tanned cowhide, in Devon. It is usually very thick (4 to 5mm thick) and comes pre-dyed and heavily waxes from the tannery.

If you want something very sturdy that will last a long time then this is the one to go for.

There are different choices of colours, which can be seen on the tannery’s website:


Tanned using stallion hides from England and various leaves and barks. The tannery is based in Derbyshire.

The stallion leather I receive comes in small sections, as they are off-cuts taken from the full hide. The tannery sends the large pieces to high-end shoe manufacturers for an unbelievably high price. The off-cuts that I receive are cheaper yet still retain the amazing quality of this tough leather. It is smooth and flexible and very durable. Because I can only buy small sections (roughly 2 square feet) I am limited with the size of project I can make from it.

I don’t usually dye this leather as it has a lovely colour when just oiled.