When someone spends a significant amount of time making something for you with their own two hands, there's a very good chance they intend for it to last. I'll bet the phrase "planned obsolescence" never even crossed their mind. Handcrafted goods tend to be designed and made to the highest quality possible. But what's the reason behind this?
There are four main grades of leather: full grain, top grain, genuine leather, and bonded leather. Leather grades have everything to do with the quality, appearance and strength of the finished leather. Whereas full grain and top grain leathers are used depending on the desired function and aesthetic of the finished product, genuine leather and bonded leather are primarily chosen because of their lower cost. But what exactly are the differences?
I make leather wallets and belts exclusively out of vegetable tanned leather. Why? Because I love the way that a natural, unfinished vegetable tanned leather ages; it develops a unique patina over time, absorbing oils from your hands, the indigo from your jeans, and UV light from the sun. But what exactly is vegetable tanned leather? What does it mean to tan leather at all?