Böle Tannery

Vegetable tanning

Besides our own spruce bark tanned Swedish cattle leather, we use also vegetable tanned Nordic reindeer leather and Swedish vegetable tanned cattle leather.

Vegetable tanning is the use of vegetable tannins rather than mineral or synthetic tanning agents. Spruce bark tannin is only one – our favourite and probably the rarest – of many vegetable tannins. The most common vegetable tannins are bark (from quebracho, oak or mimosa) or fruit (tara) extracts.

Vegetable tannins used to be the standard before chrome (being the most common mineral tanning agent). They are now becoming more popular again, which is a good thing. A lot of what is referred to as “non-chrome” tanning is however using synthetic tanning agents, which may be as hazardous to the environment as minerals. And some leathers that are called “vegetable” tanned, have actually been pre-tanned with mineral or synthetic tanning agents, before being vegetable tanned.

Our definition of “vegetable tanned”, is that hides have only been tanned with vegetable tannins, and that they have not at all been exposed to mineral or synthetic tanning agents.