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Eastman Horsehide Leather Quality; Consistent?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Hankh, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Hankh

    Hankh Familiar Face

    Bought an Eastman (ELC) Havana Horsehide A-2 a couple of months ago which I’m very happy with. One of their own Labels.
    Leather quality and thickness, construction and details are great.
    After having seen my jacket a good friend really got the Alpha-2 bug as well.
    He received his jacket last Friday. Same contract and color.
    The leather is way thinner, feels much more dry. There’s a notably difference in overall jacket weight.
    He’s not amused. This is not a jacket, more like a shirt.
    We both understand leather is a natural product and differences/imperfections may occur.
    Anyone else having the same experiences?
  2. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    ELC have used different suppliers for leather over the years. I have never seen thin, cardboard like leather used on any of their A2s and have owned most of their different contracts over the years and always look at their full range at the Duxford Flying Legends Air show. Their "war horse" leather is amongst the best I have seen as it has areas of pronounced grain and am very pleased with the finish of my Werber A2. I would also recommend their new batch of goatskin, which looks superb on the Cable.
  3. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    I tried a couple of Eastman jackets at Duxford in the summer (I can't remember the types) and, again, at American Classics in London a couple of weeks ago. The latter were heavier, the former very light, as I recall.
  4. havocpaul

    havocpaul One of the Regulars

    I would suggest he contact Eastman and discuss the matter with them; I have not seen any major differences myself although I did notice their 50.Cal A-2 I saw at A.C. shop had much more wear and grain than the early ones I had seen last year at Duxford. I agree that their new goatskin is excellent and also a heavier feel to the hide isn't always better, many originals were of a light feel.
  5. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Welcome over here Paul! Your comments are spot on.
  6. I had an Eastman Star A-2 and the leather was not great.
    "Cardboard" did cross my mind, in describing it but thin, stretchy,
    flat, featureless and resembling vinyl is how I remember it.

    I did once have an Eastman A-2 jacket from the early days before the internet, when they advertised in aviation magazines- it was nice leather,
    it was cowhide, not horse.
    Apparently, they used to use cow back then, before the punters became "wise" to the existence of various leathers and demanded horse.

    I believe they have been accused of selling cow as horse in recent years. But this may well have been the propaganda of another,
    well known and equally scrupulous UK-based leather jacket maker.
    If it was true, I hope it's been fixed.

  7. Hankh

    Hankh Familiar Face

    I have an Eastman ELC Alpha-2 in horsehide, my good friend has an ELC Rough Ware Bravo-3 "Redskin" which we are both very happy with.
    Both jackets bought from the Dutch Importer after having been able to inspect and fit these jackets.
    The Importer is a nice guy offering great service. His prices are very decent.
    The Alpha-2 recently ordered by my friend weighs about half of what my A-2 weighs. The leather is as dry as Santa Claus' butt.
    The Importer returned it to Gary Eastman, who told him it's fully within specs.
    One lesson learned, we will never order an Eastman through the internet.
    Next time will fly to London, Dhttp://www.americanclassicslondon.com/
    Duxford or try an other vendor.
  8. To be fair, though, when you're dealing with an item that is composed to such a great degree of an organic, and therefore highly variable, substance - in this case, leather - you do have to expect some degree of variance.
  9. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Edward, of course the material will vary; that's the way it is. And the maker has to decide what variance they can tolerate. However, the customer doesn't have to accept variances beyond their tolerance. If a second jacket doesn't match your reasonable expectations, fair enough to comment on it and alert the maker.
  10. nicholasb

    nicholasb One of the Regulars

    These points seem fair and as someone previously pointed out - original jackets were not really heavy. I have an Eastman Pearl Harbour Time Worn. The leather is fairly thin but not cardboard by any means and the quality and look is excellent. I guess a maker should be consistent though.
  11. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    I too have owned many eastman A-2s over the years and have never had a problem with the quality.

    Remember the originals vary as well even within the same maker and contract. Some are thinner than others but I do not believe Eastman would sell an inferior product. In this highly specialised market it would be business suicide.
  12. Marv

    Marv A-List Customer

    I also own several ELC A2s, G1s and never had any problems with the leather.....all fanstatic jackets. :)
  13. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    sorry to hear of the variance...i can only speak to two things:

    1. i just got the eastman horse luftwaffe, and it is amazing...very supple and a nice weight, but not heavy...i had an aero that was horse, superb, but a harder, heavier, crisper leather, tho it was the mid-weight

    2. i spent $400 plus for the cockpitusa flying tiger horsehide replica in cut/style/patches...superb jacket, but the first one i got had a drier leather with some cracking around the thread holes (the holes made for each stitch to go through) along a few portions of the jacket

    i thought it was a problem with the needle and sewing, but i was informed by the leather maker and jackie clyman that this was the leather, that it was an accurately replicated leather used in the orginals, and it did have a little cracking along some puncture holes, which would not tear or increase...HOWever, they also did an immediate replacement for that jacket with another that had a slightly different horse leather, and did not have the problem...if i recollect correctly, they said they make these jackets in various types and versions of horse leather, or did, and switched me to another version...which, by the way, is wonderful

    eastman's customer service in my purchase was highest quality...i would hope they would work this out with your friend
  14. Papa M

    Papa M A-List Customer

    I have an Eastman G1 and this thread has made me a little paranoid about the quality. There is a slight cardboard feel to the hide which I must admit did not really occur to me when I bought it.

    I have now applied a very thin layer of Pecard's Antique. Do you think the leather will soften up to a more pliable texture or am I permanently stuck with the Cardboard Blues.

    This is another classic case of "too much knowledge". I was happy and totally convinced about Eastman's consistency before this thread started.
  15. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Surely, it's more a case of too little knowledge rather than too much. The OP was comparing two jackets. I'd have thought that, unless you were in a position to make a comparison, you'd had no reason to be anxious.
  16. Papa M

    Papa M A-List Customer

    The additional insight gained from this thread is what has made me anxious.

    I was originally happy with my G1 but now, in hindsight, I am comparing it to all my other leather jackets and coming to the conclusion that it is a little like cardboard.

    Don't get me wrong - it is still a nice jacket. I am hopeful that the Pecard treatment, and a few months more wear will see it soften up a bit.
  17. OneEyeMan

    OneEyeMan A-List Customer

    Wear it more often!
    Then it won't feel like cardboard! lol
  18. I had a very cardboardy HH A-2 from Aero and a vinyl-esque Star A-2 in HH from Eastman but the Eastman was 9 years ago and the Aero was from their "cheap" line.

    Mixed bag- consistency? who can say.

  19. Papa M

    Papa M A-List Customer

    Hopefully that will be the case Lenny. However it may transpire that cardboard quality leather will always remain of a cardboard consistency.
  20. blethook

    blethook One of the Regulars

    Papa M,
    Back in 2004 I had an Eastman G-1...Yes it was a bit stiff...until one day when I got soaked, caught in a heavy rain... The jacket was drenched...Some of the water went through the jacket & lining...

    Even the mouton collar looked like a drowned rat when it was wet...But when the hide dried up, it became very soft & pliable. No problem with the mouton collar...went back to its normal form once it's dry.

    The goatskin on ELC G-1 is very tough, however. You won't see any sign of wear or discolouration for some time... It's very different from the goatskin on my 1946 G-1, which is soft & thin...

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