What is full-grain leather?
Full-grain leather refers to the uppermost layer of the animal skin. It has not been polished, sanded or buffed to remove any imperfections. It is the most expensive leather to produce as only flawless hides can be used. It is prized for its suppleness, durability and its magical characteristic of improving with age and use. It is not to be confused with top-grain leather where the surface layer of the hide has been sanded off and a “grain” texture artificially applied. Full-grain calf leather, also known as "calfskin", is the most prized of all traditional leathers - silky smooth and wonderfully tactile.
What is fish leather?
Fish leather is the tanned skin fish. We use salmon (Salmo salar) and zander aka pike-perch (Sander lucioperca).
How is fish leather made?
Fish leather is produced in much the same way as any other leather. The skin is tanned to transform it into leather. The tanning process changes the chemical composition of the proteins in the animal skin which prevents it from perishing and gives it the suppleness and durability of leather. The scales are removed prior to the tanning process; the remaining “scale pockets” give fish leather its distinctive patterning and texture.
Why do you use fish leather?
Fish leather is often mistaken for snake or lizard skin. It has a very similar look and texture but with more pattern variety. When dyed the scale pattern is further emphasised creating a beautifully marbled finish. Many fish, including salmon and zander, have a sensory organ on the skin running the full length of the fish called the “lateral line” producing a distinctive feature to the finished leathers.
Does fish leather smell of fish?
No, fish leather does not smell of fish. The skin is “tanned” to transform it into leather. In the same way that bovine leather doesn’t smell of meat, fish leather doesn’t smell of fish. All leathers smell much the same – like leather.
Is fish leather as strong as other leather?
Yes, fish leather is just as strong as other leather of a similar thickness. The strength of a fish leather depends on the type of fish and a multitude of other variables, but generally speaking fish leather is at least as strong, if not stronger, than most other standard leathers of comparable thickness.
Is fish leather new? I’ve never heard of it.
Yes and no. Fish skin has been used since time immemorial. Records of those who have used fish skin leather include Native American tribes, the Mayans of South America, Icelandic fishermen and the Nanai tribes of Eastern Siberia. Each developed their own techniques for preparing and drying the skins to produce a material best suited to their needs. For example, the Hezhe tribespeople of north-eastern China hammered the oily skin with small wooden mallets before drying it to produce a material “as soft as cotton and waterproof”. However, the techniques for tanning fish skin to create a workable leather suitable for accessories are relatively new.
Do you use other exotic leathers?
Fish leather is our signature material althougb we also use watersnake (Karung) along with the finest full-grain calf leather. We DO NOT USE any endangered species or any animals reared or caught for their skins alone.
Where are you based?
We have an office in London and a workshop in the city of Salisbury.