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The foundation of any quality work of craftsmanship is the material that its made from. When investing hours of labor into a piece of work, it just doesn't make sense to use anything other than the best material available.
The leather that I use comes from some of the most renowned tanneries across the globe. These suppliers include Tempesti (Italy), Shinki Hikaku (Japan), Sedgewick and Co. (UK), American Tanning and Leather (USA), among others.
There are only a few tanneries in the world that produce shell cordovan as it is extremely difficult to perfect and very labor intensive to produce. In my opinion, the shell cordovan from Shinki Hikaku (of Himeji, Japan) is the very best. It offers deep, rich colour and has the perfect luster finish rather than being too glossy.
Shell cordovan is simply most desirable and most gorgeous types of leather in existence. It comes from one very specific area on the horse hide - above the hind legs in the rump section. In this area, the muscle fibers are extremely dense and uniform. Each horse hide only yields 2 or 3 square feet of cordovan at most so it is extremely rare and expensive.
Located in Tuscany, Tempesti produces some of the most beautiful vegetable tanned leather in the world. Their leather offers a beautiful look, feel and smell. They are a proud member of The Genuine Italian Vegetable-Tanned Leather Consortium.
Operating since 1900, Sedgewick and Co. continues to produce the highest quality, traditional English bridle in the world. Every piece of leather is hand selected, carefully vegetable tanned, given a beautiful rich colour, and then had finished with a unique mixture of oil, wax and tallow.
This leather can easily be identified by its smooth, waxy surface. Whether you leave the surface waxy or buff it to a shine is up to you.
American Tanning and Leather, located in Georgia, has been tanning American alligator and other reptile skins since 1980. American Alligator has some of the most unique and noticeable texture and pattern of any leather. While most leather goods with this design simply use cowhide embossed with an alligator pattern, what I use is genuine alligator sourced from the United States. Due to the irregular shape of the hides and regulations placed on the manufacturing of alligator skins, using this leather can be very expensive, but the results speak for themselves.