Why does our leather smell so good?

Customers to our workshop, even those who have visited before, often stop and comment on the smell when they first walk in. Now, in any other workshop, we might be worried about our personal hygiene but here at Riverina Saddlery, we get it… our leather smells really, really good!

The key factor is that we use veg-tanned leather which is tanned using the bark of oak, wattle and quebracho trees and it is the tannins in these barks that cure the hide into leather. The recipe is so old that it can be found in Genesis in the Bible and there is evidence that veg-tanning was used in Ancient Egypt.

The other way of tanning leather involves using a chemical solution of chromium salts. It produces an industrial-type leather quickly that is very tough but it won’t mold or have the same high quality finish of veg-tanned leather and it definitely won’t see the test of time in the same way.

Veg-tanning LeatherChome-tanning Leather
Uses natural tannins from the bark of oak, wattle and quebracho treesUses a chemical solution of chromium salts, mainly chromium sulfate
Can take many, many months Can be completed in one day
Creates stiff, thick leatherCreates thin, pliable leather
Higher costLow cost
Doesn’t have toxic by-productsHas toxic wastewater by-product
Sturdy leather which enables tooling and/or stampingLeather is too thin for tooling and/or stamping
Leather is extremely durable, becomes better over timeLeather becomes cracked or brittle over time