Vegetable Tanning: Not a “Lost” Art

Many years ago, in Morocco, I was able to tour an ancient tannery and see some of the process of creating beautiful leather.  I use leather for many projects and although I do some brain tanning myself, I purchase all of my truly “tanned” leathers from others.

Click the image to visit the Moroccan National Tourist Office on Facebook

Click the image to visit the Moroccan National Tourist Office
on Facebook

One very important lesson about tanning I learned in Africa was that I never want to work in a African tannery when it’s 100 degrees in the shade.  The smell makes a feed lot in Texas almost seem habitable.

Well anyway, the huarache blog has done it again… forced me to steal his excellent article and link to his great research in Mexico.  The post gets a very close inside look into the tanning process; a somewhat secretive business in my experience.img_0237img_0646img_0160Great set-up for the beams.  Spacious, indoors with a cleanable floor.

img_0218I think anyone who has tanned hides will appreciate this solid set-up.



img_0782This is just a picture preview.  For much more information, have a look at the Huarache Blog here.

I appreciate this work so much for having done some myself.  This is tough, back-breaking labor that goes unappreciated.  It’s good to know that there are still folks out there keeping these important skills alive.  More importantly, to know that there are alternatives to corporate factories producing little more than garbage and waste.  It must be tough on these small family businesses but I hope, for all our sakes, that they find a way to survive.


About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly
This entry was posted in craft, leather work, primitive technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Vegetable Tanning: Not a “Lost” Art

  1. Tony Nester says:

    Hi George
    Man, you have great posts and with a great diversity of topics! Good to cross trails recently.
    Take care, Tony Nester

  2. Reblogged this on Paleotool's Weblog and commented:

    Real Hide Tanning; a throwback post to show this fine art and craft upon which depend. Leather doesn’t just come off a cow. It must be carefully processed to become the beautiful, strong raw material we love so much.

  3. Pingback: Vegetable Tanning: Not a “Lost” Art | G2P leather Goods Thailand

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