LEATHERS THAT MATTERS
The London Tanners Implements are all hand crafted. This makes each product unique and enables you to request a specially made implement as well. To make these implements, the quality of leather is one of the most important parts.
The London Tanners only uses the very finest British Oak Bark Tanned Leather. We do not use cheap imported leather or chemically processed hides. In over 30 years of working with leather this is the finest quality available. In the 1970s there were over 60 Tanneries in England; now there are only five. From those remaining, we chose our leather from Britain’s only remaining traditional oak bark tannery.
It has been a tannery since Roman times. Rebuilt over the centuries, the current buildings are set among orchards, fields of grazing horses, and the gentle rolling hills of rural English countryside. Sun filters into the serenity of the tanning rooms. Hides hang in calm country air.
Their exclusive methods produce the rich coloured organic leather favoured by distinguished shoe makers and top stables for its quality, durability and finish. Using river water, oak from renewable sources, and time dedicated to slow tanning, the natural weave of the fibres in each hide is preserved, resulting in unique hard wearing luxury. They do not buy seconds or remnants of hides and in fact, look for the specific requirements of their clients when choosing leather.
In the first few weeks, when the hides are in the weakest liquor, they need to be moved about, or handled, to ensure an even permeation of tannins. The hides are tied to poles attached to frames. The frames are connected to the waterwheel and the hides move to the ebb and flow of the river. After this the hides are ready to be placed in layer pits, where the hides rest in the thickest of the tanning liquors until they are ready to come out for drying and rolling. In contrast with the speed-tanning of chemical methods in which the natural weave is lost, this traditional method preserves the natural weave and ensures long lasting materials.
The London Tanners’ leathers are tanned with a process of vegetable or oak bark tanning methods using many Tallows, oils and waxes in the finish. This gives the leather a unique suppleness and durability. This consistency is perfect for replicating the authenticity of Victorian Leather Paddles, Tawses, Whips, Straps, Strops, Spanking Belts, and Martinets.
Here at The London Tanners we work with hides anywhere between 9-12+ ounces (4-6 mm) depending on the implement’s requirement. If it is a single thickness item such as a Tawse or CP paddle, we will use a thick 12-16 oz (5-6 mm) leather. If it is a double or triple layer item such as a Boudoir Paddle or Spanking Strop where it is sewn together, then an 8-10 oz (4-5 mm) leather is used.
Please do not confuse our work with cheaply made mass-produced leather implements. We have had many people try to copy our designs using both inferior materials and workmanship. For this reason all of our work is embossed with this stamp:
Our Austere English Collection is made with this incredible leather and all items are made in Rich Tobacco Brown or Old Black. Leather being a natural material, and because of the tanning and dying process, shades and thickness’s may vary slightly from hide to hide. Although we try to select the perfect piece of leather for our implements, sometimes the leather does have slight blemishes and grain. Also, because this is a natural material, colour may vary slightly from hide to hide. This however, we feel is what adds to its individual natural character.
“When theirs are wearing out, ours are just getting worn in.”
With care, your London Tanners implements should last a lifetime and can be passed on to your heirs. Avoid excessive heat as this will cause the leather to dry out and crack. Always clean your leather with a non alcohol and non spirit cleaner.
We recommend you clean your leather items about once every six months. Use a leather balm such as Fiebings leather conditioner, Lexol or comparable beeswax, or a lanolin leather conditioner. A good dubbin (where available), as used on football boots, also works very well to soften and protect our products. Use it on the leather implement the same way by working in with the fingers, allowing 24 hours to soak in, and then removing any excess with a dry cloth.
For cleaning after playing, use a baby wipe, specifically made for babies, as that is a mild enough bleach and will not hurt the leather or remove its natural oils.
Of course, although our items are very supple the best way to increase their suppleness is to USE them 🙂