The Beauty of Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather and Developing Patina

Natural vegetable tanned leather goods

“Judas” iPhone Sleeve and “Dante” notebook sleeve


Ahhh, natural vegetable tanned leather. It looks so beautiful when its brand new and just like a human traversing through life, it truly becomes more beautiful and filled with character as it evolves and ages. It’s called patina. No two veg tan pieces are alike. And no two pieces will ever age the exact same way.
Photo 2-07-2013 7 59 54 am

Natural veg tan starting to develop patina

Natural vegetable tanned leather is like a blank canvas. It’s beauty will start to materialise as soon as you move through life with it. As soon as you start to use veg tan leather products they will start to darken or caramelise in color. There is no stopping this from occurring. At all.  How it darkens depends on what you expose it to, the environment in which it lives, the amount of light it’s exposed to, whether it’s exposed to water, dirt, the oils of your skin, the indigo of your denim or the application of leather conditioner. All of which will affect your leather in a very different way. The bottom line is the more you use and handle it, the darker it will become. Some are scared of it. Don’t be. Like ageing, it all just looks more and more interesting. Natural vegetable tanned leather starts off looking a range of different tones. It can look light beige, light tan, a slight bit pink or a very very light caramel. You will notice is turning various shades until it darkens. Its a fascinating process. Some people find they absolutely love helping their veg tan along in the ageing patina process by handling the leather a lot with their hands, applying conditioner, sitting it in the sun to tan like our skin does.
"Nathan" wallet with six months of patina

“Nathan” wallet with six months of patina

The first time your leather gets an accidental splash of water or oil on it, might distress some, but we promise you it will all just blend in and you eventually end up with a beautifully patinated piece of leather that will be as unique as you. We think it really looks better with age.
Matching accessories

Veg tan accessories with about a one month patina

For most people, veg tan leather will always keep a caramel look to it if they limit the amount of light it receives and if they manage to keep it fairly clean. Not everyone is this neat. The majority of people will manage to get it a darker caramel color.

Tips for assisting your veg tan leather with the patina process

Expose it to the sun
Sitting it on a very sunny spot will darken your leather. It will tan just like skin does. It will go from its natural color and start to first develop a pink tone and gradually it will get more of a red tone
Bas and Lokes handmade leather leash wth beautiful before and after patina

Veg tan dog leash with three months patina

Apply leather conditioner
Certain conditioners and oils will darken leather in different ways. We use a range of products but our two favorites are Neatsfoot oil and Obenaufs. Neatsfoot comes in an oil form and you applying it lightly over the leather. Don’t apply too much as over application can over saturate your leather which can cause it to rot. Neatsfoot tends to give natural veg tan leather more of a golden caramel color. Obenaufs comes is solid and you rub that into the leather lightly being careful not to get any in between the stitching as this will be hard to remove and also doesnt look very good. Obenaufs tends to give help your leather darken in more of a reddish tone.
vegetable tanned leather wallets comparison

“Nathan” long wallet with 1 year patina and lots of use and “Keryn” short wallet with six months patina with minimal exposure to light.

Expose it to life
Don’t be afraid to get your product dirty. Handle it, oil it, leave it sitting in the sun, drop if a few times, put it in your denim pockets, don’t freak out when a little splash of water falls on it or when you see some dirt on it from your hands. The culmination of all these stains over time will all blend in together and start to look a beautiful dark caramel and even a dark brown in extreme situations. Have fun with it.
Vegetable tanned leather with two years of heavy use

Vegetable tanned leather with two years of heavy use

Got any of our natural vegetable tanned leather products? Send us some photos. We’d love to see how they are coming along and developing their own patina.
Bas and Lokes

10 Things About Us (Well, Bas, really! lol)

Bas and Lokes Omega Speedmaster 3592.50 handmade leather watch strap and Oak Street Bootmakers Trench Boot

Boy oh boy are you guys ever the nosiest lot. LOL. I receive emails all the time from you guys wanting to know a bit more about me. Interested in dating me? Lol. 🙂 Ok. Here are ten things about me (Bas).

1. I LOVE delicious hand crafted beers from all over the world.

2. I’m very handy and go to Bunnings (Aussie Home Depot equivalent) almost every weekend and never seem to run out of things I need to buy from them to make or fix something.

3. I got into the same elevator as JFK Jr. on several occasions.

4. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, way back when it was crack central and well before all the hipsters moved in.

5. I hablo español et un peut francaise.

6. I’m ALMOST 40!!!! (Bloody hell)

7. I absolutely love land based fishing and can do all day long on a warm day, though I have been known to fish through massive rain down pours with a smile on my face.

8. I’m a workaholic, have a strong work ethic and am extremely goal oriented.

9. I’m a notorious writer of to-do lists and I always cross everything off them.

10.  I sleep on a Tempur mattress thats as soft as a marshmallow

And yes, I am an absolute and total boot freak, watch freak, accessories freak. I love life’s little luxuries.


Stand Out at Your Next GTG with Our New Watch Storage


Get a load of some of the beautiful handmade leather watch rolls and watch pouches we’ve created recently. All kinds of goodness going on here. We have them in a variety of different leathers and suedes. You’re SO gonna look all the business at your next Red Bar event or other GTG. You’ll also look pretty darn awesome when you travel with your prized watch(es) and our awesome watch storage. Check them out here.

Bas and Lokes handmade leather watch pouch Bas and Lokes handmade leather suede watch rollBas and Lokes handmade leather watch roll Bas and Lokes Lumtec M50 and Manolo Black Leather Watch PouchHandmade leather watch pouch and bas and lokes leathter watch strap Omega Speedmaster Manolo Handmade Leather Watch Pouch Bas and Lokes  Bas and Lokes Manolo Leather Watch Pouch