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What To Expect From Horsehide (Appearance, Color, Handfeel, etc.)

TheDonEffect

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In regards to hand/feel, a horsehide jacket will usually be stiffer than a lambskin one. I bought into the horsehide “hype wagon” years ago, and every vintage HH jacket is still relatively firm.

Yeah, I mean I kinda knew what I was getting into, but everyone says oh it breaks in with time, but broken in still means the jacket can still stand on its own, so the tinman feeling while wearing it doesn't really go away. At least with raw denim it does break down and get soft over a lengthy period of time. But just like HH vs lamb, or raw denim vs washed denim with some stretch, it will never be as comfortable.
 

AeroFan_07

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To the OP - could you be a bit more specific what you are looking for, or how we can best help? I am still a bit confused what you are asking....

I have only had one jacket made with Shinki leather, a Buco J23 replica by Diamond Dave. Overall, my preferance runs to the heavier, thicker Horse and Steer leathers. However I am working with a new to me Aero that is Vicenza FQHH, which comes out to a similar weight and overall feel as what is often called Shinki leather (as we know it on here). I put some detailed photos of this leather in this thread, feel free to check it out: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/thr...-repository-thread.101995/page-4#post-2782582

And overall, not a whole lot of followers of lambskin in this forum, other than the types being used on shearling lined "coats" and an occassional Lewis Leather made with Lamb.
 

El Marro

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Yeah, I mean I kinda knew what I was getting into, but everyone says oh it breaks in with time, but broken in still means the jacket can still stand on its own, so the tinman feeling while wearing it doesn't really go away.
None of my CXL jackets can still stand up on their own, although they do alright if you give them something to lean on. In my experience CXL does soften up quite a bit but it is true that you always know you are wearing something substantial.
 

Will Zach

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I have a 1960s Score CR that I thought was horse, and Dena confirmed (although of course no guarantee, just an opinion). It is very lightweight (around 3 lbs), but has a really wonderful hand - slightly stiff, just enough to feel substantial despite the low weight. It is difficult to describe, but it just feels great to touch. I think I like the horse better for this slight stiffness that I dig. Cow is more spongy, at least in my experience. Not in all cases, though, which adds to the "metallurgy" dilemma...:)
 

glider

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I'm not sure what the discussion is about either but I do know that how and where any leather is tanned can have a big effect on the character of the leather. Where on the animal the leather is from will have an effect on the leather also. It will be stiffer and tougher on the back than on the belly for instance. A coat made from the belly will not be nearly as stiff as one made from the back. There are to many variables to make any valid comparisons really.
 
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The answer is so simple....what to expect from HH...an expensive purchase. If you see a cheap HH item. Run. It’s trash.

PS: I like cow over HH. I only choose HH if the color I want is not available from a cow.
BD94E93B-A411-4104-920A-44DD406DF43C.jpeg
 
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I have a 1960s Score CR that I thought was horse, and Dena confirmed (although of course no guarantee, just an opinion). It is very lightweight (around 3 lbs), but has a really wonderful hand - slightly stiff, just enough to feel substantial despite the low weight. It is difficult to describe, but it just feels great to touch. I think I like the horse better for this slight stiffness that I dig. Cow is more spongy, at least in my experience. Not in all cases, though, which adds to the "metallurgy" dilemma...:)
I don’t think Score jackets were ever made from HH. Score is the ancestor of British cycle leathers and Brimaco. Canadian made and almost exclusively cow. The stiffness is due to the painted finish. While I could be wrong I highly doubt it. I’ve had over 30 of those CR’s. And would bet dollars to donuts not a single one was pony.
 

TheDonEffect

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None of my CXL jackets can still stand up on their own, although they do alright if you give them something to lean on. In my experience CXL does soften up quite a bit but it is true that you always know you are wearing something substantial.

Yeah, they will always have a sort of rigid quality to them and never soften into anything like a naked cow or lamb.
 

whorishconsumer

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Thanks everyone for these thorough responses! A lot of knowledge to be had here. My intention in posing – for those seeking a definite prompt – was to garner collective wisdom on the topic of horsehide and how it tends to present to the consumer, as I recognized that my sour initial impressions of some horsehide jackets (but not the one I own) was perhaps misguided. And indeed that appears to have been the case. I'm looking forward to when I have cause to handle the Real McCoy's jackets in question once again, and in light of what I've learned.

Specific responses below.

Looking at your photos, I think I know what you mean. The Shinki in the first has a ton of wrinkles, creases, that conjures up comparisons to when you have dry skin or an aging face, and as I move down your photos, the texture is more uniform. So I think what you're referring to is the appearance of cracking in the leather, ie a more dry appearance, while the others look to be younger looking, uniform, crack free appearance.

What's interesting is that on these boards, the first jacket would probably be more prized for its character rich appearance, while to the layman (myself included) would likely prefer the more uniform look with the rich appearance, which also feel real good and therefore gives off the perception of a premium feel.

This precisely sums up my initial impressions of the RMC horsehide jackets in question, and consistency in appearance is definitely a factor. I'm coming from a consumer perspective expecting relative uniformity in the leather I purchase, understanding that disparate wear will occur (patina, wabi-sabi). And I associate cracked, stiff leather with cheap, street-market goods. This is before reading the responses here, of course.

In addition, I would also strongly disagree with the assertion that the lambskin you show looks richer than the Shinki horsehide you are showing. To me, it is exactly the opposite. I would also say Badalassi leathers I have handled look richer than the lamb as well. Then again, it's also black and I think brown tends to show off richness of color better overall.

I think extending use of "rich" to the SLP lamb pictured above was perhaps a mistake, as I agree it is not particularly nuanced in what it is presenting. Overall the observation I was attempting to convey was that certain leathers appear to have been imbued with a lot – oils, dye, the fragrance of the liquor – and that I associate this with quality. This visual and olfactory identification also extends to my tactile expectations of leather – I associate leather that's been imbued with a lot with pliability or durability under stretch, and with consistency in grain (visual consistency as well, as above). I think in all of this my perception of what makes a quality leather comes from Chromexcel calf leather, as well as perhaps cordovan.

What you're pointing out, I believe, is that a leather can be imbued with a lot and have an appearance outside of what I am used to.

Assuming you are coming from premium designer brand to the repro Amekaji brands, what some of these top Amekaji brands are trying to achieve is to simulate how the materials feel and age but at an accelerated pace. So your RM A-2 may look and feel like a dry beef jerky in a much shorter time than an original A-2 and yes this is because of the processing as many have pointed out. I am sure if you had started with Schott or Lewis Leather horsehide jackets, you would form a completely different expectation of HH.
If your view of HH is limited to RM then it would be a bit skewed. I am sure you can read all about veg tanned vs chrome tanned elsewhere on the internet so I am not going to get into that again. You mentioned the dyeing process and I think you are onto something. RM sometimes actually often times hand overdye the jackets so the top coat would fade quickly. One final process in dyeing is setting and it looks like RM deliberately skip that step or reduce the setting so the color can come off quickly and one of the results is that the surface dye may seem/feel flaky and dry without the setting coat.

This is great information, and interesting to note. I know my Samurai denim were manufactured to wear in a manner similar to ye olden times. Sounds like a similar thing going on here. It's interesting you suggest my A2 will become more like dry beef jerky, as right now it appears as if it will only become softer, from being stretched and the oils from my skin or from the conditioner I will in time apply. Understanding that HH does not get soft in the same manner as the lamb I have been comparing to.

I guess a follow-up question is why would dry beef jerky be a desirable trait?

It is not just leather Buzz and RM often pride themselves for using the traditional nylon 66 and therefore can reproduce the sunburn effect of original nylon flight jackets. You often hear/read about terms like teacore 茶芯 and sunburn 日焼 in the Amekaji circle. Then there are those who mess with the denim and indigo dye to recreate the original vintage 501s feel and/or accelerate the fading.

This is fascinating. Is there more information you can share on nylon 66 and the sunburn effect? Does this refer to the actual fading of this nylon through exposure to sun?

In regards to hand/feel, a horsehide jacket will usually be stiffer than a lambskin one. I bought into the horsehide “hype wagon” years ago, and every vintage HH jacket is still relatively firm. That said, they tend to hold up much better than their suede, calfskin, or lamb equivalents. I like the characteristic sleeve creasing you get with a HH jacket, but this also can happen with Steerhide. Steer/cow tends to loosen up a bit more over time, and feels a bit “spongier.” This is a generalization as I did own a supple Horsehide jacket from Thedi which didn’t crease as fast. Because of the different structure of HH and SH, a HH jacket will get creases with a more sharp edge (more like a line or pucker- think of RAW denim- great comparison) whereas a bovine skin will develop more of a “roll”.
The feel of the leather really does come down to tanning. There are very stiff cowhide jackets and supple horse ones, but I don’t think lamb is going to ever be as burly. Lewis Leathers offers a Rutland Sheep that is gorgeous, it it thicker and more substantial than most lamb I’ve felt, but will still break in with drape over time.

Edit- I hope the OP returns at some point.

I'm back! Sorry – I work sometimes.

Sponginess is another good descriptor for what I am perceiving in calf and lamb I have handled as compared to the HH, although I understand from what has been noted elsewhere here that that may also have to do with how thick the hide is.
 
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whorishconsumer

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It’s all a matter of perspective I guess. To me the first photo you posted looks like exactly the kind of wonderfully grainy Shinki hide that I love. I don’t see any defects or signs that it would tear or not stand up to use. The second photo looks great as well, although much smoother and more uniform.
As far as what makes them different, it could be any number of things. Every manufacturer has their tricks that they like to use to bring out the grain and in some cases to create the illusion of age and wear on a hide. Some makers wash the hides, some tumble dry them, and I’m sure there are other techniques that are used as well. For that matter, how the hide is photographed can make a big difference in how looks on the screen.
I’m not sure how well that answers your question but it’s a start anyway.

It does answer my question, as have the other responses here. Thank you.

I think the question was about the differences between horse hide and cow hide and so far no one has attempted to answer it.

This was part of my question, but really just looking to learn about the kind of distinctions that make up quality leather that I'm not used, with a particular focus on horsehide.

Hmmm cow? He’s looking at 2 HH jackets from The Real McCoy’s made out of Shinki.

They look different as they have been finished differently but without more details is difficult to know why. As others have said Shinki HH doesn’t all look alike because it goes through different tanning methods plus the makers sometimes apply their own finishing touches. More info is needed to provide an aswer.

Technically the first image above is a Freewheelers jacket, but you are correct that I was comparing my experience with my RMC A2 with some other RMC jackets I recently handled, specifically the 30s/Mobster and the grizzly.

What's been provided here has been great in answering my general inquiry.

To the OP - could you be a bit more specific what you are looking for, or how we can best help? I am still a bit confused what you are asking....

I have only had one jacket made with Shinki leather, a Buco J23 replica by Diamond Dave. Overall, my preferance runs to the heavier, thicker Horse and Steer leathers. However I am working with a new to me Aero that is Vicenza FQHH, which comes out to a similar weight and overall feel as what is often called Shinki leather (as we know it on here). I put some detailed photos of this leather in this thread, feel free to check it out: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/thr...-repository-thread.101995/page-4#post-2782582

And overall, not a whole lot of followers of lambskin in this forum, other than the types being used on shearling lined "coats" and an occassional Lewis Leather made with Lamb.

Really not too specific a question. Just trying to garner some understanding of a topic of which I know next to nothing.

It's interesting, as noted by another member above, how the preference here is away from certain softer-processed leathers. It sounds like that is partially due to a perception/the fact of ruggedness and durability and partially and interest in achieving the equivalent of "sick fades". I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how my A2 ages.
 

navetsea

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I get the feeling what general population consider "good leather" is soft, dyed through, with little to no grains (probably chrome calfskin). so any leather here with tea core, standing by itself, wild grains, leaving permanent marks and creases on the sleeve are all seen with prejudice as "bad cheap leather" haha. I hear a relative who told me that he felt his jacket look shabby when the sheen is dulled and the top pigment starts to fade on stress points
 

whorishconsumer

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I get the feeling what general population consider "good leather" is soft, dyed through, with little to no grains (probably chrome calfskin). so any leather here with tea core, standing by itself, wild grains, leaving permanent marks and creases on the sleeve are all seen with prejudice as "bad cheap leather" haha. I hear a relative who told me that he felt his jacket look shabby when the sheen is dulled and the top pigment starts to fade on stress points

I think there is probably this perception, yes, and I have been influenced by it without information to the contrary. Although, having been around for the ascendence of #menswear, I’m familiar with the niche-made-mainstream desirability for interesting wear and tear in garments. I think where the greatest ignorance lies is in identifying how a garment will wear based on it’s initial appearance.
 

Blackadder

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I guess a follow-up question is why would dry beef jerky be a desirable trait?



This is fascinating. Is there more information you can share on nylon 66 and the sunburn effect? Does this refer to the actual fading of this nylon through exposure to sun?
The beef jerky is an exaggeration. I used it to emphasize the Japanese e.g. RM's use of certain materials like "veg tanned leather" and processes to speed up the aging. The general consensus of the experts is that the leather on original A-2s are chrome tanned. Even though veg tanned leather usually feels more rigid and drier, I don't think it will become a beef jerky if you take good care of it. Some people do like a heavily distressed leather jacket. Same can be said with jeans. Here are a few early samples of RM A-2 possibly from the 90s. They are are not shiniki HH.
https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/t786443328
https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/l663707926
https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/j642982892

Yes, exposure to sunlight is what causes the nylon to fade, this is often seen on the original MA-1, N-2 and N-3 etc nylon jackets. I am not an expert in how different type of nylon fades. On the original MA-1 etc jackets, the fading can turn into a red/orange hue. An example of how some Japanese are obsessed with the aging of clothes besides jeans.
Aging record of Buzz Rickon's L-2b.
http://blog-jkstyle.jugem.jp/?eid=1293
And sunburn not limited to bylon, here you see BR reproduced a G-1 with sunburn collar and how they explained the reason for the golden brown color mouton.
https://www.buzzricksons.jp/news/914/
 
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navetsea

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how come their used leather jacket look creaseless and grainless but with such severe UV damage, like they are worn only couple of time but left in the sun everyday. :)this got to be a dream for people living in milder sun, sort like sunbathing to get a tan in a jacket format, for someone who live in equatorial burning sun I try to avoid this look, since everything else left outside for a month or two will literally looking like these, how wildly different our local situation would affect our perception of coolness.
 
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Carlos840

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Both of these jackets are CXL horsehide, from the same batch of leather ordered by Vanson from Horween, they look completely different:

752ngb4.jpg

OxWHjHp.jpg


Only one of these sleeves is Horse, the other two are cow, which is which?

18SzZz7.jpg

XhC3GSp.jpg


Same question:

9V2lAEM.jpg

LWfkdzu.jpg


What about these two, one is HH, one is Cow, which is which?

e5uaO4P.jpg

AD0WKEx.jpg


You are trying to establish consistant answers to questions where there is none.
It's impossible to say HH is firmer than cow, or HH has more grain than cow, or to make statements like that, because the characteristics you are talking about are not specific to the animal.

"It depends" is usually the right answer when talking about leather.

Lastly, IMO grain consistantcy is really not a big deal...
I would much rather have this rather than a perfectly smooth and even grain:

nteRoj7.jpg

NsYlf0I.jpg

AVI6wKr.jpg
 

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