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Our Leather

cow-hide-all-cutsWe use a variety of different leather types. All selections are from European hides, are full grain and are vegetable tanned.

In general, a hide of cow leather can be 4.5 to 6 square meters in size.

Over the complete size, it will be of various depths and densities. Firm grain on the back but soft on the underbelly.

Tanneries will cut it appropriate for different trades. They also split it to specific thickness depending of tasks.


cow-hide-3-back4 –  5mm thick

Bridle Butt

This is the strongest equestrian leather.  It comes from the back of a mature cow, so it has grown thick. There is very little movement so it is dense and firm.

Typically used for horse bridles and stirrups.

I use a Bridle Butt for my Satchel Bag design.  This bag is made in a single folded surface, with the top tucking into the body to close it. The strength of the 4mm+ hide allows me to create the feature curve at the top and front of the bag. Any lesser grade of hide would simply flatten out into a fold.

The grain is very dense so pares well with a plane or blade.  Using hand tools, I can taper the hide from 5mm thick where required down to a more malleable 2mm for the main body and edges.


cow-hide-5-shoulder3mm thick                    
( or between 2.8 and 3.2mm)

Bridle Shoulder

Most of the collection is made in Bridle shoulder leather.  At 3mm thick it has a good balance of strength, firmness and weight. It comes from the shoulder and neck of the cow so it is hardwearing and robust.

I use two different qualities of the bridle shoulder.

  • An equestrian quality shoulder leather

These hides are structurally very strong.  They are tanned in the UK and typically used in saddle making. It is very stable with very little elasticity.

A visual feature is the tight surface grain and very polished finish. The shoulders have been hand finished with a layer of clear wax which Saddlemakers love as it lubricates the needles as they stitch. This wax will slowly polish though with use.

I use these Equestrian Bridle Shoulders in making my original designs like the Parachuter Bag as the strength is necessary for the unconventional construction.


  • An Italian shoulder leather.

These are vegetable tanned hides from Europe that are tanned in Italy. Also at 3mm thick it is really versatile leather that looks and smells great. It can have quite a character grain through it. It is a pleasure to work with and then the resulting bags are a pleasure to use.

I use this for most of my Luggage and Bag collections.



cow-hide-2-half1.8mm – 2mm thick

Panel Hide

A European leather that I use to make the exterior of all the Technology Covers and Accessories. It is very hardwearing and protective for devices. While being robust enough to hold the very defined, chunky stitching that features throughout the collections.

It is also very strong and I use it in a single wall construction for my Saddle Bags. These look particularly good after a few months of the leather being worn and softened with use.



cow-hide-1-full1mm – 1.5mm thick

Upholstery & Fashion Leather

This is soft and luxurious leather which I use throughout the Racing Collection. It has a rich glossy surface.  I use finer thread and stitching when working in this for a more detailed and decorative effect.

It also features as the lining in all my Tech Covers and Accessories.

It is supplied by the tannery in full hides so it gives a good yield for large items like my handmade Aprons.



Panel and Upholstery hide



3mm thick bridle shoulders.





Any traditional cream, polish or wax will work well to preserve the leather in your bag.

Applied with a cloth or a brush and buff to a high finish.


All our designs are handmade in Ireland by GARVAN DE BRUIR

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