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International Trading Company

The Process of Making Leather

Making natural tanned leather is a combination of traditional Indian craft and modern science. The tanner's "art" is to maintain the beautiful look and feel of this natural product whilst still making it workable as a material and durable in use.

In an environmentally sensitive global society, natural tanned leather is the most eco-friendly material suitable for leisure and formal wear that allows the user to enjoy his leisure time in harmony with the spirit of nature.

Raw Material

The process of making leather starts at the abattoir where buffalo and cows are killed for meat. The hides are a by-product of this activity. They are removed from the dead animal at the abattoir and then sold on to the tannery.


The First Steps

It is the tanner's responsibility to preserve the pelt and prepare it for eco-freindly tanning. The quality of the final leather will be affected by the tanner's methods and skills in removing the wastes on the hides and separating the fibres correctly. International Trading Company's technical specialists have worked closely with their Raw hides suppliers over many years to develop the best preservation techniques and processes for clothing and footwear leathers.


Tanning & Dressing (Finishing)

International Trading Company's leather manufacturing process is made up of many different steps:

Degreasing - this removes the natural fats from the hide, to ensure even dyeing later in the process.

Tanning - stabilising of the fibres (which prevents the hide from shrinking on contact with heat and degrading when wet).

Retannage - treatment with natural vegetable materials and synthetic chemicals to improve the body and feel of the hide. At this the hides are graded prior to dyeing.

Dyeing & Fatliquoring - the most complex part of the process where leather is given its colour and its touch and feel (using different natural fats and oils). The process is aided by the traditional skills of the tanner to ensure colour accuracy, colour fastness and light fastness.

Softening & Polishing - The hides are dried, reduced in weight, conditioned and milled several times to meet the appropriate criteria for look, touch and handle.

Finishing - the final process will depend upon the type of leather required and will range from applying a simple spray of waxes followed by a final hand-polish to buffing the surface and applying natural oils and waxes to produce a soft waxy grain or nubuck leathers.

Quality Control - at every stage of processing the hides are sorted and assessed for their suitability to the end product. The final quality sort involves trimming loose ends from the hides, grading and performance testing, and passing them through an electronic measuring device prior to packing and shipping.

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