Handmade Leather Goods
September 2022 sees the launch of ThruDark’s first range to be made entirely in Great Britain, with a line of leather goods from UK tanneries and craftsmen. Here, we take a look at the process from hide to finished article and pay homage to the skill and dedication of British industry.
The best things take time and this is shown in the lengthy process from hide to finished article. As the saying goes… “it’s not ready until it’s ready”. Shop the range today for a bespoke leather piece unique to you, subtle excellence in true ThruDark fashion.
ThruDark prides itself on being a hands-on, experience-led brand and this means taking an active role in the design and manufacture of our products. Our leather range would be no exception to this rule and so Product Master Ben took to the road himself, visiting both our tannery and workshop for an authentic insight into the leather making process.
Our leather goods use carefully selected hides from British beef cattle, notably Hereford breed cows, as these provide the optimum colouration and thickness and are reared to meet exacting standards. The process can take over 15 months to turn hide to leather and it is this lengthy process that yields the highest quality results.
With over 140 years spent honing their craft, our British tannery in the South West (just 60 miles from TD HQ) uses proven, age old methods of hair removal, liming and tanning in traditional pits – the old fashioned way.
British black leather belt, finished by hand with ThruDark insignia and “No Quarter Given” debossed on reverse. Handmade in Great Britain from sustainably sourced, full grain vegetable...
The Tanning Process
It takes up to ten days to prepare the cow hides for tannage as each is weighed, opened up and inspected before being soaked in water for 24 hours – this removes any salt and farmyard residue. After a further 24 hours in solution to help loosen hairs from their roots, the hides are ready for the next stage of the process.
The washed and hairless hides are then bathed in lime solution for six days to open up their fibre structure and remove any remaining surplus flesh. Once this stage of the process is complete, the hides, now called “pelts” are sorted and graded depending on their intended usage.
It is after this stage that the actual tanning process commences, this is what turns the pelts into leather and can take up to 13 months in the tan liquor. This tan liquor is concocted from at least three different vegetable tanning materials - with the tannery carefully controlling the composition, strength, acidity and temperature under constant review. Adjusting the liquors and time spent in the tanning pits is what determines the properties of the leather and these can be tweaked to vary the hardness, strength and colour of the leather.
Once tanned, the leather is dried and processed to give it the desired characteristics in a further process that can take up to six weeks before finally being ready for sorting, grading and manufacturing.
LEATHER CARDHOLDER WALLET
British black leather card holder cut, stitched, edged, and finished by hand with ThruDark Insignia. Handmade in Great Britain from sustainably sourced, full grain vegetable tanned leather...
Handmade in the New Forest
The Manufacturing Process
Once ready, the leather is transferred to our expert craftsmen and craftswomen based in the New Forest (just 15 miles from TD HQ). We didn’t choose to make the product here because it was local but because of the quality this workshop produces.
Here, the appropriate sections of the leather are selected to be cut based on the areas of least processing for as natural a finish as possible. We try to keep the unique markings of full grain leather for a more bespoke final product. This ensures that no two pieces are the same owing to the unique characteristics of working with natural leather.
Having been carefully selected, the leather is cut by hand – here, an appropriately sharp blade is essential to ensure the clean, straight edges.
A punching iron is then used to perform tidy stitch lines and takes the curvature of the design into account to ensure precision alignment.
As for the stitching itself, our craftsmen employ both machine stitching and traditional saddle stitch techniques - made by forming a knot with a needle in each hand. This adds to the strength of the seam and makes for a bespoke finish.
The edges of the piece are then burnished by hand to create a smooth, water-resistant finish.
Whilst other brands might laser cut logos, we choose to stamp our motifs on each piece to maintain the integrity of the leather. Every product is hand finished to make sure it meets our high standards and this close attention to detail allows us to have confidence in every piece.
Featuring a range of items fit for every day carry, inspired by military heritage. Our leather wallets, leather keyrings and leather belt are a celebration of the sustainability and craftsmanship of British industry.Shop All
LEATHER ORIGAMI WALLET
LEATHER BI FOLD WALLET
LEATHER CARDHOLDER WALLET
LEATHER TRIGGER KEYRING
Manufactured using traditional tanning processes and finished by hand.