Leather offers a sophisticated, durable look that can be rustic or elegant or both! However, not all leathers are created equal. We use a full grain bridle leather for our Towel Ties to ensure that it will last a lifetime, so if you don't know much about leather, here is a simplified look at why we chose the leather that we did.
Cowhide is made of two main integrated layers: the grain and the corium. Collagen fibers in the corium are thinner and more flexible and become tighter and thicker as they move up toward the grain, where the fibers are tightly packed and very strong. Hide can be split horizontally into several layers, making various types of leather of varying quality.
Full grain leather is made with the entire top grain layer intact (with all the unique imperfections like insect bites, scratches and stretch marks). This unaltered grain layer of closely packed fibers, give a hide its strength, durability and water-resistance. It is the most expensive leather because it’s the best and highest quality in terms of durability and longevity. It can develop unique characteristics with use and can last for many years if cared for properly.
Top grain leather is a full grain leather which has been “corrected” by buffing or sanding to remove imperfections. With the removal of part of the top grain layer, it is more pliable and thinner, but not as strong as full grain. It is used in fine leather goods.
Lowest quality split leathers are made up of the bottom part of the leather (the corium) that has been split at the grain/corium layer. Leather in this category won’t last as long or look as nice as full grain and top grain leathers. Suede fits in this category and is a particular finish of leather which gives it a soft fibrous effect. If a product is labeled as Genuine Leather, it may be real leather, but it is the lowest quality leather leftover from the hide after the higher end products are made. Corrected grain leather is a lower quality leather printed with fake grain. Bonded leather is made up of scraps of leather mixed with a polyurethane binder to form one piece.
We tried several leathers from different tanneries to see which would be the best fit for Towel Ties. We chose to use the high quality full grain leather which comes from Jumbo Heavy Native Steer hides of the United States and Canada. Both the Dark Havana brown and Auburn brown used for most of our current products are made from bridle leather penetrated with ColorFast from ChahinLeather® in Orizaba, Mexico. This full grain leather is vegetable tanned and then hot stuffed with oils and tallows that allow it to be weather-resistant. In a 45 day process, the leather is then drum dyed to achieve a beautiful, uniform color.
This entire process not only helps prevent your Towel Tie from staining your towel, but it also gives it a rich, smooth cut. It can develop a rich patina as it ages, and with proper care it can last for many years. The Bridle leather is stiffer, while the Horween Cavalier, which has been made in the USA for over 90 years, is a combination tanned leather with a softer feel and the characteristic leather smell.
Please keep in mind that leather is a natural product. There may be color variations and an occasional characteristic mark. After using your Tie for a while, you may notice that it naturally stays curved after taking it off of your towel. Although it starts out as somewhat stiff, your leather Towel Tie will look and feel even better with age and use. We hope it embellishes your kitchen for many years to come.