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Leather Manufacturing & Chemical Process

Leather briefcase, handbag and walletLeather is used for a variety of purposes, from clothing, shoes and handbags to car seats, couches and zipper pulls. Many people think that the process to make leather is quick and easy, but it is a process that takes close to two months and involves several chemical processes.

Tanneries begin the leather manufacturing process by ordering hides. These can weigh over 90 pounds and lay flat at about 50 square feet. However, the hide will still be shaped like the cow, and will probably have a few imperfections. The hair on the hide will need to be chemically removed prior to tanning, and the hide may go through other processes to remove impurities and soften the skin so the tanning chemicals can be fully absorbed.

The hide is then put through the tanning process, making the skin more durable and water resistant. Tannins are added based on several factors: the eventual purpose of the leather, from shoes to automobile upholstery; the grain of the leather and the softness. The hides are left to soak for two weeks in a mixture of tannins, chemicals and water before being laid flat to dry and undergo inspections for imperfections. The dried hide will be tan, hence the tanning name. The hides are then dyed and its main features are determined, such as quality and texture.

The entire tanning process takes about 8 weeks, before being cut, shaped and sent to the companies that eventually turn the hides into clothing, upholstery and accessories. The hide is cut to utilize as much of the leather as possible, with large sections used for belt manufacturing and irregular cuts used for zipper pulls and bag handles.

For over 70 years, Tannin Corporation has been developing and manufacturing the highest quality wet end leather chemicals to produce the best leather hides possible. Our Lion Brand and Marden-Wild product lines are among the leading brands of fatliquors and tanning oils. For more information on how to distribute Tannin products, contact Tannin Corporation at  (978) 532-4010 or fill out our online form.

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