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Against the Grain

33-1729

Well-Known Member
My very limited knowledge on this would have me liken pony to horse as calf is to cow hides go.
Please correct me if I’m wrong. I understood calf would be preferred over cow as a younger calf would likely have fewer skin abrasion marks, resulting in a higher quality leather. I would assume the same about pony versus horse, but the U.S. Army specifications for both require them to be “free from obvious imperfections”, so I don’t know any other difference here than possibly cost. With identical success criteria, maybe they were willing to pay a bit more for pony in order to meet early-year production needs?
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Calf skin is normally only used for fine book binding.
It’s incredibly expensive compared to say goat or sheep for the small hides you get out of it. Some archival book binding calfskin tanned in sumac can go for $300 and up for a small hide.
Gloves
Boots/shoes
Some furniture leather
These are the items which often utilize calf.
It’s not as strong as goat for the same thickness and depends on the calf but it can have markings and insect bites too. Depends on where the calf was raised.

I would NEVER buy a jacket made from calf or deer. A type A2 jacket would have to be made in a small size to even be able to use calfskin anyway.
 

taikonaut

Active Member
Ok so a few ways I researched.
The Grayish middle is a good way.
Try and find a part of the leather where you can take your finger nail and impress it into the leather. Does it make a mark which stays? Like an impression? Chrome tanned leather cells are more saturated with chromium salts and will not hold the mark like veg tanned leathers will. This is why veg tanned leather can be tooled while chrome tanned leather really can’t in the same way.

Another test is the burn test. If you have a scrap piece you could try holding a flame to it. Chrome tanned leathers will tend to melt a little where as veg tanned leathers will tend to char up with prolonged exposure to flame.
That said. It’s not a perfect test as I have had some chrome tanned leather react like veg tanned with this test.
Hi Jeremiah, I tried your finger nail test on several WW2 original and repros that are veg tanned and my finding are not very conclusive.
WW2 chrome tan when I put a mark with my finger nail tend to generally heal faster. Then I tried areas were the hide are supple and not so supple and it seems in areas that are supple even veg tanned hide the mark heals just as fast. It seems the healing ability depend on how flexible the hide is and thats said chrome tanned are generally more flexible.
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
the pigment finish on your A2s will make that different. (Finger nail test).
If you are certain those Are indeed veg tanned that would be my guess, the pigment finish.
Try that with an aniline or semi aniline and results will be more conclusive for you.

Oil tanned which is chrome tanned can accept some minor impressions but never will sink in like good veg tanned will.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Calf skin is normally only used for fine book binding.
It’s incredibly expensive compared to say goat or sheep for the small hides you get out of it. Some archival book binding calfskin tanned in sumac can go for $300 and up for a small hide.
Gloves
Boots/shoes
Some furniture leather
These are the items which often utilize calf.
It’s not as strong as goat for the same thickness and depends on the calf but it can have markings and insect bites too. Depends on where the calf was raised.

I would NEVER buy a jacket made from calf or deer. A type A2 jacket would have to be made in a small size to even be able to use calfskin anyway.
Yeah, I was gonna say that may impression has been that calfskin isn't that durable as a leather, kind of like kid leather, though maybe not THAT thin. I suspect pony is similar to horsehide, though a bit softer and lighter.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Calf skin is normally only used for fine book binding.
It’s incredibly expensive compared to say goat or sheep for the small hides you get out of it. Some archival book binding calfskin tanned in sumac can go for $300 and up for a small hide.
Gloves
Boots/shoes
Some furniture leather
These are the items which often utilize calf.
It’s not as strong as goat for the same thickness and depends on the calf but it can have markings and insect bites too. Depends on where the calf was raised.

I would NEVER buy a jacket made from calf or deer. A type A2 jacket would have to be made in a small size to even be able to use calfskin anyway.
They made the A-1 out of expensive African capeskin, so a pony A-2 is possible but highly unlikely based upon your comments (if they had a choice). Note the pony leather would need to meet the strength requirements, so maybe big ponies? :)
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
note the silk and horsehide specs were struck out in a 1931 working version and both were omitted from all subsequent versions). An excerpt of the signed and dated 5-9-31 spec copy is below, showing both silk and horsehide specs were removed.
22251


The horse hide leather spec may have been struck out but the same spec was still in use in 1942.

If it can be found then it should answer the question about the use of chrome tanning in 1931.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
The horse hide leather spec may have been struck out but the same spec was still in use in 1942.

If it can be found then it should answer the question about the use of chrome tanning in 1931.
The specification number does not change, but it is updated periodically. Consider the first specification only listed horsehide, but later cowhide then goatskin were used. The silk and horsehide specification references were removed in the copy you posted above and all subsequent versions, including the first approved copy in post #19, so just one leather spec was not explicitly used.

Given chrome tanning started in the 1850's and a mature proven technology by the 1900's, was used on over 90% of production in the 1920's, took a day or two to process versus a month or two for veg tanning for much greater output, substantially cheaper, and manufacturers were writing letters to the government to save pennies on a jacket -- what would they use?
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
My very limited knowledge on this would have me liken pony to horse as calf is to cow hides go.
Calves are young cows but ponies are small breeds of horse of any age. While I doubt it very much but perhaps they incorrectly ascribed ponies as being young horse when in fact the correct terminology would be foal, yearling etc etc.

I do know that the skins of my adult ponies are similar to the skins of my adult and very large heavy horses.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Calves are young cows but ponies are small breeds of horse of any age. While I doubt it very much but perhaps they incorrectly ascribed ponies as being young horse when in fact the correct terminology would be foal, yearling etc etc.

I do know that the skins of my adult ponies are similar to the skins of my adult and very large heavy horses.
Ahhh yes....... horses ..... Did I ever tell anyone about the very first time I road a horse.........;)
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
My granddad had a horse on the farm called Old Creamy, a beige mare who, as he rightfully called her, was a sour old bitch. She used to run up against the fence post when he'd go through a gate to trap his leg and whack it into the post. Nobody else could ride her but for some reason he had a soft spot for that bloody horse.

Horses eh? :p
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
My granddad had a horse on the farm called Old Creamy, a beige mare who, as he rightfully called her, was a sour old bitch. She used to run up against the fence post when he'd go through a gate to trap his leg and whack it into the post. Nobody else could ride her but for some reason he had a soft spot for that bloody horse.

Horses eh? :p
Naturally mine are well mannered paragons with no vices whatsoever who are adept at striking artistic poses in idyllic landscapes....

Pearl Sun.jpg


...but even this old mare has her moments ;)

Someone best grab the Cat O' Nine Tails as I obviously require some severe chastisement for going off topic o_O :mad:
 
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