Why is horsehide better than steerhide?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JLStorm, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

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    Pennsylvania
    I have talked to Amanda at Aero in Scotland, Mark Moye from Aero USA, and A few people from Schott and Cirrus. I cannot get a straight answer. Some prefer horeshide, some prefer steerhide, but each has their own opinion of what is tougher, more weather resistant and longer lasting.

    Can someone give me a straight answer? Why do most people prefer horsehide to steerhide other than for historical accuracy?
     
  2. greyhound68

    greyhound68 A-List Customer

    Messages:
    362
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    Manteca, CA
    Wow tough question. I have had both and goatskin as well. Looking at the jackets it is hard if not impossible to tell the difference. I believe most prefer HH in A2s because most original A2s were made of HH. Of course I have three originals made of goatskin. In fact, some whole contracts like Doniger, Speiwak, Roughwear 18091 contract were made of goatskin. But in wearability durability etc I don't think one could go wrong with either CW or HH.
     
  3. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

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    buLLetProoF jacket

    for toughness in a war situation i'd have to go with kevlar myself

    johnnyjohnny
     
    Alz likes this.
  4. Rufus

    Rufus Practically Family

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    JLS,

    I don't think there's any question to which is tougher, and longer lasting.

    Horse hide was used for thr very reason it's a tough durable hide.

    Steerhide was later used as HH became less available, and more expensive.

    Steerhide's fine for a casual wear jacket, but for a work or riding jacket, spend the extra money and go HH.

    Steerhide offers nowhere near as much protection, durability or longevity as HH. It's cheaper for a reason, and if you're spending that much on an Aero, Eastman, LW, etc, why get the second best material?

    Unlike most things that cost a bit more, Horsehide, it's worth it!

    Rufus
     
  5. grunt56

    grunt56 New in Town

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    Location:
    Silver City, New Mexico
    I agree with Rufus. Besides, take a drive through the countryside and look at the cows. Boring. Now look at the horses. Which would you rather be? Which would you rather wear? I rest my case.
     
  6. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    Another spanner thrown in...

    We ALL have our preferences for what looks good [huh] Some love the creasing and jerky look of some Cow Hides, some like the look and so called 'historial' link of HH (which BTW was a plentiful source in the 30's and early 40's), others marvel over the dimply effect and downright durability of goat hide [huh]

    I've seen and handled some beauties in original HH and goat from WWII and earlier. I've also handled some beautiful (and awful) modern homage jackets with great hide and not so great. You can even get buffallo for your A-2!

    The frustrating and annoying answer to this is that it's all down to personal preferences and is very subject to what 'you' feel looks good, feels good.
     
  7. tomsk

    tomsk New in Town

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    Location:
    London
    I would think Steer is cheaper because it's easier to get, ie, there's more of it.
    You can find tough thick steerhide just as you can find thin, flimsy horsehide. However it may be that weight for weight horsehide is stronger.

    Choosing a horsehide option won't necessarily get you a stronger jacket, it depends on the same company's steer which may well be tougher/thicker/better finished. Goat's great too though and in modern repro A-2s I often find it to be the most bulletproof so to speak (especially Eastman's, it's a lot thicker and tougher than their warhorse)
     
  8. tomsk

    tomsk New in Town

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    London
    In my experience it ain't that simple. You can get some SERIOUSLY hefty steerhide. I had an Aero steer A-2 circa 1999 and it was sooooo thick I couldn't move. I've also had thin, lightweight horsehide (eastman warhorse). Obviously this can be reversed also, my point being heft of leather is not in my experience down to cow or horse but the individual animal, the cuts, the tanning, the processing and all the other variables.
     
  9. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

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    Seeley Lake, Montana
    http://www.holsters.org/which.htm
     
  10. 1911 Man

    1911 Man A-List Customer

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    Utah
    So basically he's saying that horsehide holsters can't beat cowhide, but he does say a chrome tanned horsehide coat / jacket will outlast anything.
     
  11. FLATHEAD

    FLATHEAD New in Town

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    Central NJ
    Also, a main reason for the use of horsehide was because the country was
    using more and more cars, buses and trains for transportation, and the horse
    and buggy days were gone.

    There were tens of thousands of horses around that were being turned into glue,
    and other items, and they had plenty of hides to use.

    Flathead
     
  12. MudInYerEye

    MudInYerEye Practically Family

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    Location:
    DOWNTOWN.
    Really it all boils down to the tanner's abilities. I prefer to wear a horse's skin because he's (in my opinion) a nobler beast, not because steerhide is an inferior leather.
     
    sweetfights likes this.
  13. CSG

    CSG Familiar Face

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    92
    Location:
    Idaho
    I think other than historical accuracy there is no reason to prefer one type of leather over another as they all fit certain needs. Lambskin is great for one type of jacket, cowhide for another, goatskin for another, etc.

    For an A2 or G1, I'd want horsehide or goatskin even if a case could be made that steer might be tougher or look better or whatever.
     
  14. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have a lot of experience with holsters, but not much with jackets. The big deal with horsehide in holsters from those in the know is simply that they are able to be formed with thinner leather thus aiding in concealment and comfort and also have better moisture resistance from the salty sweat of the skin than cowhide.

    With holsters when you get to high quality horse and steer, the only thing that has been noted is the thinness of the horse compared to the steer, but the lifespan of the holsters and reliabilty are dead even from the hundreds of people I have delt with. In fact it comes done to the boning and the type of thread used every time, the leather never seems to fall apart first. But for a $200.00 - $500.00 holster, we are talking the best of both worlds for both leathers. However, due to price and lack of a need, most people go with steer over horse.
     
    sweetfights likes this.
  15. Senicko_Spain

    Senicko_Spain Suspended

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    Location:
    Where you're not.
    G-1s were never made from Horse, I've only seen one mfgr do this and it was Buzz Rickson, they have an M-422a I believe they do specially in Horse. All contract M-422 thru the G-1 were Goat or later on the navy rolled some cowhide to make it look like goat, but that's another story. I don't consider them vintage and don't collect anything post 80's.
     
  16. jamespibworth@n

    jamespibworth@n One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    253
    Location:
    Bedford England
    We need to do a scientific test on this.

    I have horsehide and steerhide Aero A2s which I wear for work.

    I will alternate between them for the next forty years and, god willing; if we are all still about we can then see for ourselves.;)

    Seriously though, if the same thickness skins (horse and steer) were tanned in the same way and worn in the same circumstances I am sure most of us would bet on the horse?
     
    Alz likes this.
  17. Senicko_Spain

    Senicko_Spain Suspended

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    Location:
    Where you're not.
    You wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
     
  18. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    ...

    Agreed. Mark 1 eyeball just won't do it.
     
  19. 1911 Man

    1911 Man A-List Customer

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Utah
    If the darn thing last more than 10 years, it probably wont fit anymore anyway. lol lol

    Although I am now buying jackets and other items that I hope will last long enough to "pass on" to the next generation, I hope my son takes after my dad and brothers (ie, is at least 3 inches taller than me!!).

    I am sure he will be happy to inherit some of my guns.
     
  20. HDRnR

    HDRnR A-List Customer

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Jersey
    I think its fairly easy to tell the difference between steer and horse especially after its aged and worn. I think Lost Worlds chromed tanned horse is the tuffest leather made. The best cow I've seen is Langlitz and I'd say its the only cowhide that comes close to Lost Worlds horse and might actually be heavier yet more pliable. It takes about fifty years to realize how good horsehide is compared to cowhide.
     
    sweetfights likes this.

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