What Is Tanning Leather?
This is the process most people have heard about. Invented in 1858 whether they know what it is or not is a different question. This is when the hide actually becomes leather.
There’s a few different types of tanning:
- Vegetable tanning
- Mineral tanning
- Chrome Tanning
Chrome tanning is the most commonly used method. This is said to be the most effective.
To get technical, chrome tanning uses Chromium(III) sulfate ([Cr(H2O)6]2(SO4)3). In their original state, tanned hides are blue. Often called “wet blue”. Sulfate is a salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical.
Throughout the tanning process, it increases the spaces between the protein chains. Sodium bicarbonate is also used. This has 2 uses: Increases the PH and prompts cross-linking between the chromium and collagen.
The hydrothermal condition of the skin then increases as it’s resistant to shrinkage.