Bookbinding leathers require special qualities that allow the leathers to be pared, hand-tooled, foil stamped and formed, yet have a beautiful finish that will last many years. These leathers are generally from animals that are raised in areas without barbed-wire fencing that often leave scars and blemishes on the leather. Vegetable tanning using sumac and other more natural substances are are also utilized in the final process. Our leathers are made from the skins of goats, calves and cows. All of our leathers are vegetable tanned.
The most desirable skins where a leather "texture" or skin pattern is desired. Goatskins are know for the strength, beauty and durability. These skins are small, usually from 3 to 8 square feet.
Kato: - The most economical line is a semi-aniline skin, meaning that there is a slight correction to the color finish. That means that these skins will not absorb water, dirt or oils from handling as readily as pure aniline skins do. This is a good characteristic for use as Bible covers and books for everyday use. These skins are thinned to about 1.5 oz. making little need for additional paring, if any. These skins are also somewhat odd shaped and best used for making small books or spines for larger ones. The colors in this line are limited to black, white, dark and burgundy.
Islander: These skins are softer and more stretchy than most other goatskins. They are also semi-aniline and come in larger sizes and more color choices. Like the Kato, these leather are skived (thinned) to approximately 1.5 oz. These leathers can be used for book covers, linings and other leather projects.
Premium Goatskin Leather: These skins are the most desirable for bookbinding. The skins are semi-aniline with a matte finish that can be polished. Thinned to approximately 2 - 2.5 oz. These skins have a gorgeous skin texture and available in 11 colors.
Calf and Cowhide
Calf skins are from young cows, generally 6-8 months of age. One year old cows are know as yearlings. Cowhide is from mature animals with full skins averaging up to 50 square feet in size. Calf skins are mostly 6-12 square feet and yearlings up to 25 or more square feet. For simplicity we refer to both as "Calf". As with the goatskins, these leathers are vegetable tanned. Unlike goatskins the finish is nearly flat with little or no grain pattern.
Cathedral Calf: This leather is produced from yearling or mature cows. These leathers are specially formulated to our specifications making them resemble the qualities of younger calf skins. Easily pared and hand tooled these leathers make exceptional bookbinding leathers. There is no finish so these skins can be easily stained and polished to a beautiful "patina". Used for all fine bindings, linings for study Bibles and numerous other projects.
Water Buffalo: - A thick heavy leather with a very pronounced grain pattern. Used for special project where strength, durability and a masculine appearance are required.
Title Leather: - Very thin, almost paper thin, leather used for binding tiny books, small craft projects and for making leather labels for period style bindings. It has a glazed finish. Easily foil stamped.