:: Travelling through space and time ::

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

oak bark tan 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…

baker leather

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.

bark tanned leather

The old building of the tannery has tanned leather during the Roman invasion in the country in this very pits..

lime bath

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.

defleshing skins

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

oak bark tan

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.

john hagger


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.

bakers leather

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.