Superior Leather Since 1867
Originally from Toronto, Canada, now headquartered in Curwensville, Pennsylvania, Wickett and Craig tannery is making leather by using traditional ways since 1867. This is one of the only two vegetable tanneries left in the U.S.A.
Wickett and Craig annually produce 4,500,000 feet of both light and heavy-weight leather in their mind-blowing, state of the art facility that spreads over almost 16 acres of land. Traditional horse rider gear including saddles, bridles, and straps are made by heavy-weight leather while the light-weight leather is used to manufacture grandeur products such as bags, wallets, belts, shoes and watch straps.
What Sets These Tanneries Apart?
The thing that sets apart Wickett and Craig tannery from other tanneries is no doubt their working and design philosophy. The integrity towards their work and the experience they gained over 105 years are the key factors that make them superior to their competitors.The mastery of the traditional methods is easily visible in their leather, epitome of quality and grace.
The method chosen by Wickett and Craig’s tannery to produce leather, vegetable tannery, is longer and more difficult than any other methods of leather production. They are not only committed to producing what is best but also cares for what is important, that is why the Wickett and Craig tannery has been audited by the Leather Working Group for environmental certification.
This surely looks like a hassle but this is what makes them the best.
The Journey from Hides to Leather
At Wickett and Craig tannery the leather produced is natural, environment-friendly and inimitable. The superior quality leather with natural grain, saturated colors, supple hand, and durable life is made by a labor-intense, traditional method of vegetable tanning that has been perfected for more than 105 years.
The process used by Wickett and Craig Tannery to produce the unrivaled leather consists of 4 steps that include
3) Dyeing, Fat Liquoring, Drying
In order to start the tanning process, the proper preparation of the hides must be done beforehand. The hides are sourced from North American cattle of European stock. Two days are spent to rehydrate the hides and to remove the hair. Before cutting each hide into two sides, excess flesh is removed from the hides by using fleshing machines.
A tanning yard is a huge space which has 72 vats, with every vat filled with the proprietary blend of the bark of Mimosa and Quebracho trees, which are natural tannins. This is the place where the split hides are moved after going through pre-tanning steps. For the sake of deep allover absorption, hides spend two weeks special tanning liquor while being continually replenished and re-circulated.
After the procedure, the tanned hides are assigned a pre-grade, cut and shaved into desired lengths and thickness after removal of their moisture by saying.
Dyeing, Fat Liquoring, Drying
Here in this stage, the blank canvas, the tanned hides are transformed into a splendid piece of art, the richly vibrant colored leather.
The hides go through a process called drum dyeing where different dyes of varying shades are applied. After drum dying, conditioning oils and waxes are used to fat liquor the hides. To increase the durability and concentration of colors, the English Bridle and Harness leather are literally stuffed to the core by nourishing waxes and tallows.
The drying process starts after dyeing and fatliquoring. Before toggle drying, the leathers are put aside to remove any wrinkles after sammying. Before the final step of staking, which softens the hides, the stretched out hides are clamped over perforated steel screen and air dried in dehumidified, climate controlled space to remove any moisture.
By this point, the leather is perfectly tanned, dyed, conditioned and softened which means it is almost ready for delivery. But before that for the sake of protection and feel, the leather is sprayed with a mix of secret special waxes and for protection from abrasion, it is sprayed with polyurethane. Before shipping the leather is ironed for smoothness and evenness and assigned a final grade.
The entire process of vegetable tanning is almost six weeks long. This is a lot more than the chrome tanning but with pain comes gain which is easily visible in the final product.
What Do These Tanneries Offer?
The types of leathers produced by Wickett and Craig tanners are:
- Traditional Harness
- Show Harness
- English Bridle
- Belt Latigo
- Oiled Latigo
Where Can You Buy the Products?
You can purchase Wickett and Craig Tanner’s leather directly or through a network of their certified distributors. In order to fulfill the commitment of producing the leather “made for you” Wickett and Craig tanners provide leather customized according to your need and offer different options of weights as well. DaLuca Straps offers many high quality belts and watch straps made from genuine Wickett and Craig leather, that are some of the finest available.
What Do We Have to Say?
With tanneries producing leather all around the world, Wickett and Craig tanners managed to grab and maintain the top position in the industry due to their sheer hard work, integrity, commitment to quality and by integrating technology to their system while staying loyal to their traditions. Although the process they chose is not the easiest one, they sure know that with pain, comes ease, and their hard work pays off.