Discover Pittards » Manufacturing Process » Shoe and Leather Goods
Raw material selection
Pittards leathers are produced from the best available wet blue hides, which are a by-product of the premium cattle herds of Europe.
By working closely with the markets, and even the farmers themselves, Pittards are able to search out and control the high quality required for production.
After removing the hair, all hides must be tanned - this is the all important process that turns them into leather. Put simply, it preserves the skin into a stable, consistent condition that can be worked on in many ways to produce different leather types.
After tanning, the resulting product is a distinctive blue shade - therefore known as "Wet Blue".
Each Wet Blue hide is then cut down the length of the backbone into two sides before further processing - hence the phrase "side-leather".
Side leather is predominantly used for footwear and leather goods which have smaller pattern pieces. The hides would be left whole for upholstery leathers, for example, where larger areas need to be cut.
The sides (which at this stage are fairly thick), are then split horizontally through their structure to produce two thinner pieces.
The uppermost piece i.e. the outer skin surface, goes forward for processing as Full Grain Leather, the underside is suede- sometimes also known as "split-leather".
Dyeing and Retannage
Next is dyeing and re-tannage. Dyeing is self-explanatory, but what about re-tannage? This process starts to impart to the leather some of its final characteristics. To be straightforward- different re-tannages produce different leathers!
For example, a leather that is required to be supportive in a hiking boot will receive one re-tannage; a leather that needs to be very soft for say, a children's shoe, will receive another.
NB: This is where the most important stage of the Pittards WR100 process takes place- tanned right through the leather.
Once dyed , the leather is dried on overhead racks before being conditioned. Having reached this stage you will have realised that leather manufacture is a highly technical, skilled business.
Finishing, the last stage, is an art in itself and there are many types - some a closely guarded secret!