9oz (3.5mm thick) full-grain leather as used in our non-padded instrument straps
Leather… it's an amazing material. The proper stuff anyway. We're not talking about camel skins dried under a hot sun and then drenched in sunflower oil. Real, good, proper leather, tanned using the old traditional European methods, goes through over 20 stages to make it tough, flexible and long-lasting. The actual tanning stage is done with vegetable extracts and tree bark which contains the natural substance tannin. Steeping the leather this way takes months, sometimes years. In the 1840s, tanning was updated using chromium salts. Not only is this a faster and cheaper process, it also makes a more waterproof leather that's often tougher too. Most leather goods are made from this.
At Pinegrove, we mostly use the leather tanned using the old natural "veg tan" method. To us, it usually has a superior feel and smell to the "chrome tan". To be honest, most people can't tell the difference. And we do use that too if it's very good and has a natural finish. We've come across some irresistible chrome tan in our time, either because of its feel or an unusual applied effect, such as a crocodile pattern embossed on cowhide.
Pinegrove crocodile-effect cowhide guitar strap
Yes, just about all our leather originates from cattle raised for its beef. Some pigskin occasionally. We don't use anything from a wild animal, or where the animal was killed just for its hide. As for ensuring quality, Pinegrove's main man Rod Boyes personally hand-picks every single hide. We buy from specialist leather suppliers in Yorkshire, Northampton and London, who source from tanneries across Europe and even the US. We only buy the best, as natural as possible. A lot of leather goods in fashion stores are hardly made from leather at all. This leather is made from ground up bits mixed with glue and spray-painted several times to look the part. We don't use this stuff!