About Quality Grade Leather
Grade A – Vegetable Tanned Leather
Leather is the raw material for everything we build. Leather is a durable, yet flexible material created by tanning an animal hide. In most cases, a cow hide- although any hide can be used, and many are; deer, water buffalo, goat, pig, etc. Leather can be tanned by a number of methods, each delivering different results; i.e., chrome tanning, bark tanning (vegetable tanning). For the most part, “veg-tanned”, is the preferred hide for tooling (often sold as “tooling hides”).
Vegetable tanned leather accepts moisture which enables crisper results when tooling, and carving. As you might imagine, leather- like most products- are available in a variety of grades. We purchase grade “A”, for nearly all applications, which contains very few defects what-so-ever, and is a consistent thickness. The results are more usable leather for us, and a better, more consistent finished product for you.
Chap leather is available in a wide range of thicknesses. The lighter- 2 oz.- is generally called garment leather, and is often used on shoes, purses, and some clothing. The other end of the normal chap leather spectrum is 5.5 oz., which would normally be used for working cowboy chaps, bull riding chaps or articles where the added thickness and rigidity is desired. Heaver- or thicker- offers more protection, and theoretically longevity, but the trade-off is that heaver usually means stiffer as well, so you just don’t have the same comfort level. It really comes down to what you are going to use them for. If they are going to be for riding/working, you will probably lean toward the heavier leather; if, however, you are just making a fashion statement, or wearing them for show, you will be happy with the lighter- don’t forget, we are talking about leather!
One other thing to keep in mind when ordering chaps, is your climate. Shotguns, for instance, are great for the winter, or cooler months, but can get pretty warm in the California central valley summer. Chinks, on the other hand, are great for the summer, while still adding a little warmth for the winter. Best case scenario- one of each! We can even make you a matching pair if you like.
The reason we give mule hide its own category is because it is really a product all its own. It has characteristics which make it ideal for a few uses that no other product can fill. For one, mule hide is tough. Second, it is tough, and third, it is tough. Ok, we made our point; but is it tough, and nearly as soft and pliable as it is tough. Sold in a variety of weights- or thicknesses- probably the most common is 7-8 oz., roughly speaking that is around 1/8″. No other leather in that weight range can offer what mule hide can offer.
This is a good place to mention that we use mule hide in all our farrier aprons– unless requested otherwise- for all the reasons mentioned above.
Leather Thickness Conversion Table
Handmade Leather Gifts & Accessories
You Deserve a Gift
Admit it, at least once you have thought about buying yourself- or someone you love- a pair of chaps; but, for one reason or another you talked yourself out of it. Well, now may be the time to reconsider. Here is a chance to own a pair of completely hand-made, completely unique, chaps or chinks, for probably a lot less than you think. Custom chaps and chinks start at around $300. You can make a statement, or just protect yourself from the environment around you. Chaps can protect your legs and clothes when you mow, run the line-trimmer, cut brush, or buck hay. Chaps and Chinks can have a very real place in your toolbox, or tack-room.