At the last traditional tannery in Britain

:: Travelling through space and time ::


The Oak Bark Tan leathers by J & FJ BAKER, Devon

russian calf leather

In the end of 1700’s, a Russian ship sank. This ship had a container full of Russian calf leather with a very unique pattern on the grain. Almost 200 years later, an expedition of divers managed to rescue this treasure. Masters in restoration gave these leather life back, as they were cracking due the salt and age. For decades, J&FJ Baker managed to replicate the exact techniques used to tan this particular Russian leather. Gaucho Ninja will offer special edition with this very leather…

 work area


Finest quality oak bark tan leather in the UK

Last Monday I went to the oldest and last remaining tannery in the UK, J&FJ Baker. My friend John Hagger from Tanner Bates introduced me to the tannery owner Andrew (photo above) and showed us the tannery and some of its secrets.
The old building of the tannery has tanned leather during the Roman invasion in the country in this very pits..


 Baker tannery

Cow and calf skins arrive fresh in salt from all around the country. They first go to these lime baths were the Ph is alkaline and the porosity will allow the hair to come off easier. Then the skins are dehaired and defleshed.
 Baker tannery


The skins are ready to be further prepared by hand and will receive the pickleing bath of oak bark tea.

 Baker tannery

Each one of these batons contains a skin being tanned very slowly for a period that can last a year. There’s a very gentle current that makes the water flow very gently.

 Baker tannery


Here John and I are seeing how Andrew is using this old polishing machine in inmaculate condition, whilst leather is now tanned and drying, ready for the currying and finishing touches.
 Baker tannery
This leather from Baker is the finest of leathers I've ever seen. The old building was tanning leather in times of the Romans and the knowledge had been pass down by generations.




So beautifully crafted and excellent communication.
They arrived so much faster than I expected too which was a lovely bonus.
Thank you Lisandro!