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We will endeavor to answer your questions & give advice where possible we will discuss topics & cover some controversial issues.
The forecast is that the Internet will eventually become so large that it becomes unmanageable resulting in search engines having difficulty handling the volume. In fact looking in some categories you can find lists in excess of 1,000 sites a large percentage of which are unrelated to the subject. The future may well rest with this & other sites like it dealing with a specific subject. This is not the only site of this kind related to the leather industry & we share information with some of them. They all have their merits & are all worthy of a visit.
I get a lot of questions from the general public asking; what to do about Leathergoods that suffer defects shortly after purchase, what their rights are regarding returns or refunds, who is responsible the retailer or the manufacturer. Even how to change the colour of a leather object, (Most of these inquiries relate to leather furniture). Well I have written an e-book on the subject & it is Free, It is called "Help With Leather Problems" Go Here To Get It. You are free to give it away as long as it is not altered or re-branded.
No.1} 'Artisan' or any of the following: Craftsman, Craftswoman, Craftsperson Craftspeople. All the above were used in one article in a "Crafts Council ‘News Letter". In Europe the term Artisan is used this applies to both sexes. Then why don't we use it in the UK. This would certainly raise the "profile of all Crafts". I strongly object to being called a craftsperson or referred to under the general heading of craftspeople. It is impersonal & I find it demeaning. "Your views on this subject please".
No.2} 'Gladstone Bags' Why do some people always classify all types of framed bags as Gladstone Bags? My first illustration opposite shows 'Three Kit Bags' or to use another term 'Square Mouthed Bags' (they open up fully unlike some other derivatives, Valises, etc which use a ‘V Frame). The Kit Bags, used what is termed a 'Vanderbilt Frame’ but they are not & never were Gladstone Bags. The second illustration shows the true Gladstone Bag (open & shut) it was built on a hinged frame which opened flat much like the modern day ‘Two Suiter’ It was much favored by an early British Prime Minister & named after him. It is also regarded as a British design, unfortunately it was based on an earlier French Bag.
The Term ‘Carpet Bagger’ derived from the itinerant salesmen that toured the early Wild West towns in America by Stage Coach selling patent medicine cures. They carried their wares in bags made from old carpets & sewn to Vanderbilt Frames. (I suppose they were an early example of today's ‘Con Man’). But these bags were a variant of the Kit Bag & like all other variants bore no resemblance to the Gladstone Bag. (Note. There is also an earlier reference to the term Carpet Bagger that relates to the American Civil War), they picked up businesses & estates cheaply after the war in the devastated Southern States.
No.3} With Regard to manufactured leathergoods & the customer, we must point out that value for money must relate to the price paid. It would be unjust to expect top quality goods at local market prices. There has always been three levels of quality in the UK leathergoods industry, top, middle & bottom. Value for money applies at every level & customers are entitled to expect reasonable wear & use from any article purchased. For instance a wallet purchased from a top class store should be made from the very best leather (a ‘top split’) & last for many years. A wallet purchased in the local market (if made from leather) will not be made from the best leather, (possibly a second or third split) & consequently will not last as long. However it should provide reasonable service & last some time, the difference is reflected in the price paid. (The old saying 'You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear').
Unfortunately we are unable to intercede in any disputes over purchase of goods there are laws & regulations in most countries designed to deal with this issue.
No.4} For those visitors to this site with no knowledge of the leather industry I will explain the terms used above. The skin taken from large animals is generally too thick for most uses so it is split into two or even three layers in simple terms the top split being the outside of the skin is comprised of densely compacted fibres as you reach the 'Flesh Side' of a skin the fibres become much less dense. In this case a bottom split of three will have very loose fibres & will have less strength & wear quickly. The Top split will have it's own natural surface, a 2nd & 3rd split will have an artificial finish applied (unless it is used as a suede) To settle the question often asked why a suede jacket costs so much more in a reputable shop than one from a market stall, a top split will be used for the quality jacket & the surface of the leather will be roughened to expose the dense fibres, the resulting suede will be fine with a close grain that can be rubbed to change the shade much like velvet. The cheap suede made from a 3rd split will make use of the fibres exposed by the splitting machine, as the fibres are looser they will be more obvious to the naked eye and will not feel or react like velvet when rubbed. What is more of a problem is the loose fibres may pull apart (the leather tear) in places where it receives more strain, under the arms, etc. To be more direct you get what you pay for.
No.5} Since The last war the leather industry has faced many changes & with the emergence of new areas of production especially in the Far East competition for raw materials & business has led to a decline over the years in some of the traditional strongholds of this vast industry. The UK in particular was one of the worst hit, but with the gradual increase in living conditions in the developing countries & better wages we are gradually getting a more even playing field. Some of the leather manufacturing sections due to the nature of the material must still rely heavily on manual skills. Due to the closure of many companies & cessation of many courses skills are in danger of becoming lost. In order to redress this loss Francis is developing a series of Craft Instruction Manuals to pass on the knowledge gained in a lifetime working & teaching in the leathergoods side of the industry.
For Further information on the availability of the above Instruction Manuals click on the appropriate titles on the index list, or E-mail us to find out more about the subjects dealt with & the back up that is provided or use the 'PayPal' facility to purchase them. Or Click Here to go straight to the Available Manuals.