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Home > News > Industry News > Cordovan Today


Cordovan Today

  • Author:Cara
  • Release on:2017-10-20
The tanning of cordovan takes about six months and more than a hundred processes and therefore, very few tanneries remain in the world that can still produce this kind of leather. By far the most well known one is Horween

The skins are salted to prevent them from rotting, but they still have a distinctive smell. The horsehides arrive on pallets and are then cut by hand. The process is done in the basement.

In order to remove the hair, they undergo some chemical treatments described in the tanning process. Unlike the chromexcel leather, it is then tanned in pits.  These are filled with a specific tanning “solutions”. I was surprised to hear that Horween actually makes their own tanning solution, which consists of chestnut and quebracho tree bark as well as resins.

They receive the bark in big sacks and extract the tannins by cooking it. The horsehides are put into certain frames that move around constantly. This ensures that the tannins don’t settle and the hides are evenly tanned. They also on a regular basis to ensure the solutions has the right consistency.
After thirty days, the horsehides are taken out of the solution and then shaved to expose the shell. Subsequently, it is put into another pit with a stronger solutions and tanned for another 30 days.

The two stages with different tannin concentrations are important because otherwise only the outside skin fibers would be penetrated by the tannins, while the inside would be still raw.
Overall, the leather is tanned in two separate pits for a total of 60 days. However, it takes an additional 4 months to create shell cordovan. After the tanning process, the leather is treated in different steps, polished.