I personally design and make finest quality leather products by hand, throughout my lifetime, inspired by long standing saddlery skills and techniques passed down the generations. Mainly using old tools which are in themselves a joy, selected best leather is worked to produce the most traditional, yet contemporary piece of English craftsmanship, which has tactile and functional qualities sought after by discerning people.
I believe in using the finest leather available as only the best will do. English leather enjoys the reputation of the finest in the world, therefore I prefer to use the leather produced two suppliers, one by J&E Sedgewick & Co, which is one of the leading suppliers of equestrian leathers to the centre of the English saddlery trade in Walsall. Founded in 1900, still sourcing the finest quality hides and maintaining many traditional hand skills required to finish the leathers. Each piece, individually produced, is a work of art, which has the fundamental characteristics of true quality and longevity. Vegetable tanned full grain butts which are a premium cut, with a semi-aniline and greased grain, hand curried to ensure the fibres are strong and smooth to give a superb working finish.
Natural Full Grain Leather originates as the same leather used for Bridle Leathers from J&E Sedgewick & Co but has not undergone the process of a 'bridle finish' or colour applied. Therefore, it is a leather of natural quality. I prefer to oil a finish myself which enhances an ever-deepening colour to that of a rich tan with all the natural characteristics of ageing leather. The end user has the decision of how much to deepen the colour and can also appreciate the true nature of an individual piece of working leather.
J. & F.J. Baker & Co. Ltd of Colyton, Devon, are my suppliers of Oak Bark tanned bridle leather butts. Unique in its appearance, with a wonderful aroma, using an age-old process dating back to Roman Times. Oak Bark tanning requires a time period of between twelve to twenty-four months to produce. The result is a strong supple leather with a natural varied colour aniline finish which allows the grain and nature of the skin to show through, maturing with daily use. No two Butts or batches are the same in colour and characteristic variances, so every belt has its own identity.
Due to the nature of the natural qualities of leather and the individual batch process of manufacture, colour shades may vary within the given colour. Best quality Bridle Butt is selected which may have natural features which enhance the character of genuine leather. Colour may migrate onto clothing under certain circumstances which is a natural factor found in a live product.
Supplied by an English company which has a foundry in Walsall, the heart of the English saddlery trade, awarded a Royal Warrant in 1995 for their quality goods manufactured in the foundry. These include belt buckles and other saddlery items, being one of the market leaders to the saddlery trade. These traditional authentic buckles and fittings are made from solid brass or nickel plated on solid brass which are used or derive from saddlery and harness making to compliment the chosen leather.
Once Bridle Leather has 'worn-in' it will require occasional feeding to preserve natural qualities. There are many treatments available and can be bewildering. I have always believed in good old-fashioned Saddle Soap. Applied as directed to the face and edges of the leather will not only be cleaned, will maintain suppleness and strength. Should leather become dry or neglected apply pure Neatsfoot Oil to soften and preserve to the grain and flesh sides, this may also possibly darken the shade, then routinely return to Saddle Soap.
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