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Thread: Chrome or vegetable tanned ?

  1. #1
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    Chrome or vegetable tanned ?

    Hi all,
    I posted the following question on the Vintage Jacket forum board and was wondering if anyone here may have some input.

    I own an Aero moto jacket in FQHH and I am interested in lighter weight steerhide Aero Halfback. Amanda at Aero informed me that they currently use a chrome tanned leather for their jackets, but that they still had some vegetable tanned Alaskan steer hide. She wrote “our new steerhide is chrome tanned and very heavy and waterproof as opposed to the 2004 Alaskan steer which is veg tanned and slightly more supple”. I was always under the impression that vegetable tanned was a more time consuming and expensive process which results in more durable leather. I was committed to veg tanned but her comments have me confused. Has anyone had any experience with either of these choices? Any opinions on which makes a better jacket.
    Thanks, GT

  2. #2
    Practically Family Naphtali's Avatar
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    Boot makers and best-quality shoe manufacturers use vegetable tanned leather. The reason, I am told, is vegetable tanned leather maintains its flexibility without cracking much longer.

    Special Note: leather treatment for vegetable tanned, and chrome tanned, leather is different. Again, I have been told, getting the treatment wrong reduces the life of the leather significantly.

    Hope this helps.
    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair)

  3. #3
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    Depends what you like

    For me, the difference between the veg and the chrome is the surface appearance of the leather. The chrome seems to have more of a vinyl-like surface whereas the veg seems more naked. If the chrome gets wet, the water tends to bead up and roll off. Veg tends to absorb the water more. However, I think the veg tanned leathers break in better. I have a chrome jacket that was regularly worn for 13 years and it hardly broke in at all. I've got veg tanned jacket that is 9 months old and it's breaking in rather nicely and has a nice texture. Think of a baseball mit vs. a car seat.

    If I were choosing a surface for durability (rain repelant, easy to wipe off bug guts, etc), I'd go for chrome. If I wanted a jacket with a soul that I'd be happy to hand down to my grandkids, then I'd go veg and just invest in mink oil.

    -Peter

  4. #4
    Call Me a Cab Peacoat's Avatar
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    Good points, Peter. I chose the chrome tanned Highwayman because of the water repellent qualities. Had I not wanted it for a working motorcycle jacket, I may have chosen the veg. tanned version.

  5. #5
    I'll Lock Up Maj.Nick Danger's Avatar
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    I used to work for Florsheim Shoes, and most all of their goat skin leather was chrome tanned, giving it a weird green tone whenever the surface of the leather was broken or cut to expose the interior. Are chrome tanned jackets the same?
    I have heard that vegetable tanned leathers are stiffer initially,such as my U.S. Authentic horse, but the finish wears to a lighter version and is not tinted that odd chrome green color.
    ~ Quantum mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of. ~

  6. #6
    One Too Many
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    Chrome tanning does seem to have an odd effect on the leather under the facing. Green, gray, sometimes even a pale blue is the end result.
    Who sucked all of the atmosphere out of this joint?

  7. #7
    Call Me a Cab Peacoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maj.Nick Danger
    I used to work for Florsheim Shoes, and most all of their goat skin leather was chrome tanned, giving it a weird green tone whenever the surface of the leather was broken or cut to expose the interior. Are chrome tanned jackets the same?
    All of the current Aero HH jackets are chrome tanned, so surely someone out there has experienced this effect, if still occurs. I would be interested in the answer as my recently ordered Aero is chrome tanned.

  8. #8
    Call Me a Cab Peacoat's Avatar
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    I asked Mark Moye, Aero USA Rep, about this problem with chrome tanning and Aero jackets, and his response is below:

    "Uh, that would be a big "NO" Ron--nothing funny looking about ours as they age.
    There's another company here in the US who uses a Russet color chrome-tanned horsehide, that when it wears, a blackish base coat to the hides appear.
    Look at the back of the samples I sent you--scratch 'em, mash 'em, scuff 'em up and you'll get an idea. Now, that said, our black does have a black base coat but it's suppose to."

    I would like to hear if anyone else out there has experienced this problem.

  9. #9
    One of the Regulars
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    The company being referred to is Gibson and Barnes. I have an older russet brown horsehide jacket from them that I bought used and it does not show any black color coming thru anywhere and it is fully broken in, very soft, and a nice grain and creases are showing thru in the worn areas. It's my favorite jacket. Someone posted recently about buying a jacket from G&B that had black showing on a collar tip or somewhere and G&B offered to send a replacement. This was the only time I ever heard of this problem. Flaws can and do happen from time to time with all jacket manufacturers, even Aero.

    Ray

  10. #10
    One of the Regulars
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    That was me. It was a historical russet horsehide and I sent it back. they said it was normal. I got a refund. I dont know what the tanning method was, but it was not wearing right. I've had naked cowhide jackets, thick bike jackets, all my life and they don't wear like that. It looked like the pigment color didn't match the dye. The Aeros look better though.
    I got a US authentic and it is doing the same thing, but not in the same way. After the topcoat wears off, there is a blackish dark brown layer, which subsequently also wears out and the lighter under coat comes through.
    I have heard that USA is Veg tanned, but I doubt it.

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