1 – RAWHIDE DEPARTMENT
When rawhides arrive, they are stored in appropriate warehouse until ready for workmanship. The cutting of rawhides is the first phase of work done manually by experienced cutters. They divide the rawhides into various sections: bellies, butts and shoulders.
2 – PREPARATIONS OF LEATHERS
After cutting, the hides are transported and immersed in large drums, constructed by master artisans using a particular type of wood. During this process, salt and other impurities are removed from the hides, restoring them to their “natural” hydrated condition. After the soaking and liming phases of workmanship, the animal hair is removed and discarded.
Leathers take on a new aspects after these treatments and are ready for fleshing and splitting, operations done by machine with the help of a skilled worker. These procedures remove unwanted flesh and fat from the hide. Afterwards, a deleting process eliminates all the residual lime and neutralizes the hides while preparing them for tanning.
The pickling procedure concludes the preparation of the hides, making them more receptive to the following phases of tanning using vegetable extracts.
3 – VEGETABLE TANNING
The tanning phase now begins. Hides are immersed in a bath containing vegetable extracts for a number of days in order to obtain particular aspects. Leather, tanned using natural vegetable tannies extracted from trees, becomes softer, more ductile and durable. Colors become deeper through usage and the passage of time, as if tanned by the sun. A true marvel of nature.
This particular tanning procedure was used during medieval times even in Florence,. The drums were officially sealed by a notary and the reopened after eight months. A document was then signed certifying that tanning of those particular leathers was done according to specific regulations. Nowadays, immersion times have been shortened thanks both to technological advancements and modern machinery, but the process of vegetable tanning takes longer then other tanning procedures.
Once the hides are removed from the drums, pressing and shaving procedures begin. These operations remove excess moisture from the hides, bringing them to uniform thickness.
4 – DYEING AND FATTENING
A new phase of workmanship begins in this department: dyeing and fattening, usually done using precise mixtures and percentages. These operations add color to the leathers while making them softer.
Different articles are obtained, depending on the amount of products used for dyeing and fattening.
For this reason, each firm has its own secret formulas for tanning and dyeing leathers.
The wet cycles terminate here. Hides are then stretched and cleaned in the final operation calling “setting out”.
5 – DRYING
The hides are then dried.
Drying is done in a special area where the hides are hung up one by one. A mechanical operation known as staking softens the leathers by means of flexing.
6 – FINISHING STAGE
A great importance is giving to finishing procedures. In addition to the classic natural “Vacchetta” (Cow Hide), well know and requested all over the world, our tannery produces “hadstained” leathers, overlaid colors, oiled (grease) leathers, soft or hard leathers, spread with pure aniline with transparent and bright colors, which allow to see the “flower” of the leather. With vegetal leather you can make handbags, belts, shoes, small leather goods and upholstery.