As told by Greg Carmack
Baby calf is one of those leathers that is just a joy to work with. In my custom boots, I like to use baby calf for all inlay work and for dress weight tops. Inlays come out smooth as silk and stitches lay as uniform and pretty as you please. I would like to point out why I prefer baby calf over some other options.
- Once again, we go back to raw material. All European raw stock tanned in the traditional methods, in the same European Tannery for over 100 years. Just baby calf. I have learned a lot in talking and reading about these old tanneries. This tannery has only ever done baby calf. The equipment they use is small and especially for baby calf. This is what they know.
- Baby calf has the tightest and finest grain of all the bovine. This fine grain allows for very easy skiving and sewing. It also causes the very short stitches of fine work to hold strong. Some looser grained leathers such as kid or goat have a much coarser grain and will not hold up as well under use. Maybe you have seen a stitch line in kid tear like a postage stamp. It is scary as a maker. Kangaroo can be compared to baby calf. Both have good tight grain. The difference I see is that kangaroo usually has a pigmented finish to help cover some of the scratches that are common on these wild kangaroos. Baby calf won’t have these flaws and it is 100% aniline finish. The yield on baby calf will be much better than kangaroo because of the bug bites and scratches present on kangaroo.
- The versatility of baby calf is also a great attribute. Baby calf is very common in wallets, shoes, bags, cowboy boots and English hunter/jumpers. Wallet construction requires very thin materials, but also very strong. It is amazing to me that the calf in the wallet credit card slots can hold up to the abuse that they are given. You can split down other types of leather to the thickness required for things like wallets, but then you lose all the tensile strength required for such a purpose. The rainbow of colors that are available also makes it an excellent choice.
- Another crucial factor is the reliability of the baby calf. In the 25 year relationship with this tannery, 100’s of 1000’s of feet shipped, there has never been a claim filed for any reason. Each piece is like the last and the next.