The ageing effect of leather is called ‘Patina’, it’s a very cherished and admired effect and it is almost impossible to replicate properly without submitting it to the natural wear and tear that leather bags go through from everyday use. There are however steps that can be taken to make sure your bags age beautifully.
1 POLISHING AND SCRATCHES
Scratches cannot be prevented, so if you don’t like the antique effect that scratches will give to your bag then it’s advised that you keep it away from sharp or metallic objects and generally give it careful consideration when handling. Another way to protect your bag is to apply a boot polish, Vaseline or saddle soap. This will coat the leather with a protective finish that will make it more durable. Please note that applying ANY form of polish, even a clear or natural colour, will almost always change the colour of your leather. So test a small area of leather first (such as the tag/keyring we supply with your bag) and then check you’re happy with the final colour before applying to the remainder of the bag.
2 DIRT AND DUST
If there are small dirt marks on the finished side of the leather then usually a little warm water and a little elbow grease will do the trick of getting rid of them.There is also a specially designed product for cleaning satchels called “Satchel Knight” that contains a solution of natural oils that prove to be very effective at removing dirt marks and stains from satchel leathers. The key to removing dirt and other such marks is not to use too much pressure, it’s much better to lightly rub a mark 100 times with low pressure than 10 times with a lot of pressure. The high pressure may be likely to remove the finish and damage the leather.
3 RAIN AND WATER SPLASHES
Leather satchels should not be allowed to get wet but if they do, they should be wiped with a dry cloth and allowed to dry naturally.If your satchel gets wet then never force-dry the leather by using heat. Do not place on radiators or use hair dryers, simply leave it in a place that is normal room temperature until it dries naturally. If you are going to continuously experience bad weather then we would suggest that you obtain some leather waterproofing products to help keep your satchel dry.
Keep your leather bags stored in places that are dry and clean when your not using them, ideally in the specially designed dust bag that came with your bag to help protect it.
5 EXTREME TEMPERATURES
Keep it out of hot temperatures, especially extreme heat. Heat exposure can cause the pigmented finish to bubble and to peel away. Freezing temperatures can really damage your satchel and the natural structure of its fibres, that give it strength, and make them brittle. Cold temperatures can also cause the pigmented coating to crack excessively, so if you don’t like that effect then it’s prudent not to let it get too cold. Try to keep leather out of direct sunlight for long periods, because this can fade your leather, although we have tested our leather in direct sunlight for periods of 6-months and have only seen very slight fading, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.
6 APPLYING CARE PRODUCTS
Always test a small, unseen part of the satchel before applying the product to the whole of the bag. This is to check that the product doesn’t react or even change the colour significantly to a colour that you dislike. Leave it for a day or so to verify there’s no unwanted reaction. If after a period of 24-hours, the small area appears good then you can safely apply the product to the whole of the bag. If you’re applying a care product that contains a moisturiser or oil then pay particular attention to the reverse sides of the leather and the edges where the pigmented finish isn’t applied as the leather will be more absorbent there and the leather will get lots of nourishment and protection from treatment in those areas and remain more supple. If your applying a waterproofing product then it’s strongly recommended that you first apply a care product to help lock in moisture and to keep the fibres of the skin supple before making it waterproof. Only apply the waterproof to areas that will be exposed to moisture. This will result in you still being able to treat the inner of the bag with care products so it can remain supple and won’t crease, crack, or peel due to drying out.
7 NATURAL LEATHER MARKINGS
All the leather that we select for our bags is a by-product of the farming industry. They will typically be dairy cows that have aged but sometimes larger buffalo and other farmed animals may be used, but we’ll clearly state which animal the leather is from. Typically these dairy animals will gather natural marks on their skin as they are significantly older than animals used purely for meat production.
Typical marks could include
Stretch Marks | Especially on the hind of the cow as it grows larger.
Tick Holes | These are small holes where an insect has pierced the skin to draw blood.
Scarring| If the animals have been cut or had an operation then it may have scars and stitch marks.
Veining| Larger animals will show veins close to the surface of the skin.
Flay Marks| These are where the fatty tissue is removed from the underside of the leather with a flaying knife and the flaying knife has left a small scar.
When leather is prepared it either has the very top layer of the skin sanded (like in our premium leathers), or ‘split off’ (like in our classic range) to remove almost all signs of these natural marks. Once tanned most of the remaining marks become almost unnoticeable but never completely disappear. They generally do not affect whether a hide is suitable or not. In fact, scarring can actually make a hide even stronger, just not what most people would consider beautiful. We check all our leather for natural marks and endeavour to cut our pattern pieces from areas of the hide that are not marked, but sometimes we may deem a natural mark to be ‘acceptable’ (especially if it’s on the underside of the hide.) Natural leather marks cannot be treated in any way to make them appear less visible, and if you have received a bag with natural marks that you personally think is not acceptable, such as an excessively deep flay mark, then we are happy to discuss the issue with you.
As durable as these bags are, they require special attention when cleaning. Never submerge one in water: If there's dye on the handles (or on the bag itself), it can bleed and stain the canvas; water will also cause the fabric to lose its shape. Instead, try spot cleaning your bag with a damp sponge and a detergent designated for hand laundering fine washables. Blot the stains but do not rub them, then air-dry.