- Why Elkskin?
Elkskin leather is the most beautiful leather on the face of the earth. When done properly it has an unmistakable look and feel. It is a full grain, uncorrected leather with a lot of give to it when compressed but it is very stretch resistant and strong. Native Americans used it for clothing, armor, and shields.
Elkskin takes well to washing and retains its supple nature if dried slowly at a low heat. Elkskin combines strength and suppleness to outperform deer and cow. The best test of any leather is to make a work glove out of it, use it and see what happens. Deer will outlast cow and elk will outlast deer. Elk is the most supple of the three and resists tearing more than deer or cow.
Despite elk's strength and thickness, it is luxuriously supple and soft to the touch. Elkskin leather has a distinctive grain. Items made from full grain elk are unique works of art that will last for generations. Variability and distinctiveness are the characteristics of any full grain leather but more so with elk leather. If you are looking for a consistent vinyl like appearance in your leather, where there is no variation in texture or shading, elk is not for you.
The surface of full grain leather is not sanded down or "corrected" to eliminate imperfections. Very often after this "correcting" process the leather is then sprayed and stamped with an artificial grain pattern giving the leather a more uniform appearance. This correcting process enables the tanner to use more of the hide. The drawbacks to this correcting process are that the natural beauty of a full grain hide is gone, it compromises the strength of the hide, and it compromises the feel of the hide making the leather stiffer.
A corrected hide will not be as supple and will have less give to it as you press your fingers into it. On a full grain hide you can read the history of the animal. Healed cuts, punctures, insect bites, etc., are all in the mix of the natural grain as it changes from tight across the back too loose on the belly.
Upon the inspection of any full grain hide one will see these tiny nicks and cuts. Elk being a wild animal will often have more of these natural markings than a full grain cow hide. If your preference is uniformity and straight lines you might not want full grain leather, especially Elkskin.
Availability of Elkskin is spotty. We have some in stock now and are offering it in our Build Your Own Classic Vest, the Build Your Own Vintage Vest, the Women's Build Your Own Leather Vest, and Build Your Own Motorcycle Chaps. Wanna feel it? Contact us for a sample today!