Why Provenance, Process and Quality Speaks Internationally.
Over the years, Sedgwick leather has built up a reputation for producing the best heavy leather in the equestrian industry. Our reputation has allowed us to forge relationships with saddle, bridle and harness manufactures across continents including Europe, Asia, Australia and North America and demand for the leather continues to grow.
So what makes our leather so unique? While our name is heard in conversation or recommended in passing, perhaps it’s not always clear why our leather is used by so many. For this reason, we thought it would be beneficial to explain the quality behind Sedgwick leather and as with anything, it’s always best to start from the beginning…
Provenance – From the very beginning we only have the best hides come through our system, we work together with one of our owners the hide merchants to ensure weight, size and traceability, providing us with information such as the age of the animal and its location, before the hides are sent to the tannery.
Process – Upon arrival from the tannery, all leather is inspected for any defects such as deep flay marks, scars, open damage, growth and cracks. Any leather which does not meet our high quality control standards is returned to the tannery. Once the wet brown leather has passed quality control, it is then cut up into Butts and Shoulders or Backs.
From the cutting slab it is then conditioned, split and shaved to the required substance and thickness, then tied and weighed, transferred to the cleaning vats prior to drumming. The leather is then drummed in a float where vegetable tannings, fat liquors and dyes are added depending on customer specification for the leather. After the drumming process the leather is washed and horsed up and drained overnight.
The following day, the hides are then put through a Sam/setter machine to the remove surplus water, stretch and growth. They are then hung and conditioned until ready for the next process. The leather is then dropped, machine set and is then ready for the hand curriering process. Which Sedgwicks believe is essential for the manufacture of high quality Rein and Bridle leathers. After hand setting the leather is hung and dried for 5 days to ensure the leather is completely dry and ready for finishing.
Once the leather has dried, it then has a second quality inspection to determine if it will be used for dark, medium or light colours. From there the leather is either finished as full grain or corrected grain. Then the colour finishes are applied by hand staining or hand spraying.
Sedgwicks leather is an open grain finish, which allows the final process to be applied. This is a grease made from natural tallow and oils. It is applied using a hand brush to both the grain and flesh side of the leather. The leather is then hung for 24 hours to allow the grease to penetrate the fibres. This is an important part of finishing the leather as it gives a final lubrication and protection layer to the leather. The leather is then brought down and the grease is then pushed into the grain using a hand pebble. This then gives the traditional shine associated with Sedgwicks leather. The leather is then brushed on the flesh and then the grain prior to the final quality control inspection
Despite the lengthy manufacturing process, the time invested enables us to produce a premium product which meets the needs of our customers.
Quality – From the initial stage of sourcing hides, through to the hand finished process, all our hides are individually quality checked during all stages of the manufacturing process.
The points just discussed, provenance, process and quality are all the reasons that make our leather such an integral part to so many high quality products produced worldwide. With the different types of leather produced, coupled with colour and finish in our Walsall facility, our customers have been able to manufacture and sell high quality tack equipment with the confidence and reassurance using Sedgwick leather and it is this what makes Sedgwick leather so unique.