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Thread: Horsehide? How to tell the difference between cow, goat and horsehide?

  1. #1
    One of the Regulars guygardner's Avatar
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    Horsehide? How to tell the difference between cow, goat and horsehide?




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    Just got this and was wondering if it looks like horsehide (and if it's possible to tell what kind of leather you have by appearance):

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/260970944100?...#ht_6370wt_907

    I've read that goatskin doesn't show wear or grain as much as horsehide, and doesn't discolor as much, but what about cowhide and steerhide vs horsehide?

  2. #2
    One of the Regulars
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    Goatskin has a more even pebbled grain to it. Horsehide usually has an uneven grain pattern to it, unless it's smooth front quarter that the top manufacturers advertise. It's difficult to tell the difference between steerhide and horse in some cases. Steerhide is considered to be better quality than cowhide, although exceptions exist as in everything. I've owned many vintage jackets from the '40s and '50s, and have found that the steerhide often has a more cardboard quality than the horsehide. However, that could just be the examples that I've encountered. They were often a bit dry and needed some conditioner, which can affect the texture.
    -Tom
    Last edited by GoodTimesGone; 03-12-2012 at 08:11 AM.

  3. #3
    Practically Family Aerojoe's Avatar
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    My opinion on this; you can tan any hide to different degrees. I have two goat skin jackets in my collection. One is a very jerky and stiff hide while the other is totally supple and smooth surface. I guess the second one is more processed or more polished. I received several horse hide and goat samples from Aero a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't tell the jerky horse hide from my supple goat hide jacket. The Aero goat sample is similar to the first jacket I alluded before. Both came from the same country, UK.

    I think country of origin has something to do with leather processing. In some places they work a lot with goat. In my country you can find a lot of cow hide, all smooth and supple but you can't easily find horse hide unless it is imported from abroad.

  4. #4
    One of the Regulars guygardner's Avatar
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    Tom,
    I have an old steer or cowhide jacket that was very stiff when I got it. In your experience, horsehide tends not to stiffen as much if neglected?

    Aerojoe,
    That makes me wonder if I can make a guess based on the age of the jacket if horsehide is likely or not. I'm guessing the jacket is from the 1960s or 1970s, but it's just a guess. I don't know anything about the company, except that it was based in New York.

    Thanks,
    Guygardner

  5. #5
    Call Me a Cab
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    You can't really tell from a photo. Leather may be treated/tanned/painted/stamped to take on certain looks. At best you can take a guess. Cow and buffalo is often m,istaken for horse, calf can look like lamb, lamb may resemble goat, goat can look like pigskin, etc, etc. Then there's how it has been treated and worn which can take on different looks.

  6. #6
    One Too Many
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    I look for the little label with the picture of a horse on it.

  7. #7
    I'll Lock Up ButteMT61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
    I look for the little label with the picture of a horse on it.
    I was going to say that and figured I'd get labeled a troublemaker again

  8. #8
    "A List" Customer Fifty150's Avatar
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    I've heard that the only real way to tell what the source animal of the hide was, is to send the leather to a laboratory for DNA testing. That would cost more than the jacket is worth.

  9. #9
    One of the Regulars leopardstyle's Avatar
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    Butte, I respect the rules of the Lounge, I also think your a great poster. :-)
    Last edited by leopardstyle; 03-12-2012 at 07:18 PM.

  10. #10
    Call Me a Cab
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButteMT61 View Post
    I was going to say that and figured I'd get labeled a troublemaker again
    Reading the verkakte the lable sounds as close to a fool proof approach as possible.

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