Ettinger’s iconic panel hide is a vegetable tanned semi-aniline full grain cowhide. It is tanned using only natural tanning agents, essentially different types of bark and plants. Vegetable tanning is not just a very natural process, but the longer time required to tan the leather means it develops a particularly natural look and feel.
Once tanned, we then apply a waxy coloured finish on top of the panel hide, to give it it’s colour and protect the surface. The colour we use is our special “London Tan”, which is a deep, bright golden yellow favoured by London leather tanners and merchants for centuries. We also make a black version of this panel hide to be used in certain products.
Panel hide was traditionally used to make the underside of saddles. These were the parts that went against the horse’s back, where the horse would sweat and that is why the natural tanning process was so important: so that no chemicals would cause irritation on the horse’s back.
As with any leather tanned in a natural way, this panel hide is slightly porous and it will darken with time. To ensure it ages beautifully, which it will, please follow our care guidelines below.
Panel Hide Leather: Care & Wear
As panel hide is a natural leather, it can take in dirt and impurities if you are not careful. You should ensure any dirt is cleaned off as soon as possible. Moreover, as with any fine leather, panel hide is quite sensitive to abrasion, so please do not rub the surface too hard as this may remove the surface colour and leave scratch marks.
The best way to clean any leather is to wipe it gently with a soft damp cloth, then leave to dry naturally. You may use a small amount of Ettinger Leather Balm, which will help to remove dirt. Applying a little leather wax once in a while will help protect and nourish the leather so that your leather item will last for many years.
Generally speaking, avoid using your leather accessories in very wet or humid conditions. If they do get wet, leave out to dry naturally, away from strong heat sources. Once dry, check for any water marks and apply a little leather wax if necessary. Leather is naturally a supple material so will take shape easily, which you may or may not want. In any case, please avoid compressing your leather accessories for prolonged periods (for example in a tight pocket) as this will deform the items and can strain the stitching.