Collection: How "Cordovan" is made [Leather Diamonds]
Diamond of Leather] "Cordovan
You may have seen wallets and shoes made of "cordovan" in your daily life, but what is "cordovan" in the first place? We will explain its characteristics and production process in this page.
What is cordovan?
If you are familiar with leather, you may know that cordovan is the leather from the buttocks of a horse.
A part shaped like a pair of glasses is removed from the buttocks of the horse, and the leather made from this part is called "cordovan.
As you can see in the picture, it has a smooth texture, so many people think it is the "silver side", a surface often used for leather jackets, but "cordovan" is finished by processing the suede side (floor surface) on the backside.
Cordovan" is made by shaving only the part with hard fibers called " cordovan layer," which is only about 2 mm thick inside the skin tissue.
The suede surface (floor surface) may give the impression of being fluffy, but this is because the fibers overlap to form the suede surface.
However, in the "cordovan layer," the fibers are lined up straight and there are areas where they are hard, and by carefully buffing these areas, a fine and beautiful glossy look is achieved, as shown in the photo.
Why is it so rare?
Leather is basically made from food by-products.
Since horses are used less for food than cows, the assumption is that horsehide itself is scarce.
Since a portion of the buttocks is used, the amount of leather that can be taken from one horse is very small, so it is very rare.
It is also said that among horses, wild horses have stronger buttocks tissue to prevent deep wounds when attacked by predators.
On the other hand, racehorses, which are not attacked externally, have lost their cordovan in the process of evolution, and some domestic horses have almost no cordovan layer.
These circumstances make cordovana rare and valuable leather.
How is cordovan made?
Only the buttocks of the horse are selected.
Trimming - tanning - oiling
The leather is trimmed in its raw state, tanned once in a tico, a large wooden barrel-shaped container that rotates, and then tanned again in a pit tank.
After that, it is softened with oil once again.
Raw cordovan leather
Inside the tannery is a horn (dowel), which is a projection of about 20cm to 30cm.
It is said that there are only three factories in Japan that have such a large "pit tank. For more information about pit tanning click here
Drying and Buffing
The tanned leather is hung todry in a crust.
Cordovan after drying. After tanning and drying, it has some nicks and roughness. We are going to buff and shave this surface to bring it closer to the original condition of the cordovan.
After buffing, the surface is rubbed with a glass rod called "glazing " to flatten the surface by crushing the fibers.
This process gives the leather the shiny, glossy finish you know and love.
The workbench where glazing is performed. The glass rod in the back is used to rub and crush the surface.
The roller is worked by hand so that the roller is spread over the entire leather. When you see the process of finishing each piece of leather by hand, you can understand that this leather is more expensive than ordinary leather.
STRUM uses "full tannin pit-tanning " at our factory, so the leather is glazed to a high gloss. After glazing, the leather is finished with wax to give it a beautiful gloss and strength.
The diamond of leather
As mentioned above, tanning alone takes several months, and the finishing process is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
After all these processes, the leather has a beautiful luster and is like a beautiful mirror surface without any scratches, so it is called " diamond of leather" or"jewel of leather ".
Weaknesses of Cordovan
Cordovan" is a suede surface (floor surface), so it is slightly vulnerable to water.
When it gets wet, it swells up after water, and when it is scratched, it gets fluffed up.
However, if you use it well, you can get a good taste of it, and for leather lovers, it is a leather worthusing or growing.
To overcome its weak point of "weak to water," wax is applied on top of the leather to make it water repellent, and pigment is applied on top of the leather to make it stronger so that children can handle it roughly every day for six years.
The basic principle is the same as that of the surface leather (the color becomes darker and shinier), but it is easier to get shiny compared to the surface leather, and you can enjoy aging the leather because it has its original luster, not because something is applied on purpose to make it shiny.
The same content is explained in a YouTube video, so if you would like to see it in a video, please click below.