I’m a huge fan of veg tanned, high quality cowhide – it’s strong and ages well. However, I tend to use biker wallets (which means that I sit on my wallet lots, and I’m no small man) and I find that cowhide just isn’t strong enough. Bronco hide & bull-shoulder leather are much stronger, but still, not strong enough… skins I tend to favour include elephant, stingray, rhino, hippo, croc, etc.
Here’s a custom elephant hide biker wallet with row-stingray accent pockets I used for a couple of weeks, with a custom made box-chain maille lanyard. This wallet now belongs to my brother 🙂
Couple of close-ups on the texture of the wallet, the hide has really darkened up after 2 oilings, but is still very, very stiff. I’ve scratched the leather multiple times with metal whilst I was attaching the chain to the grommet, but the leather shows no markings at all!!!
The second pic has the texture of my key-holder (elephant hide from trunk) for comparison, the grain is finer and hasn’t darkened as much as the wallet, even though it has been used much, much longer.
Here’s my new one, with one-piece, white crown crocodile on the outside and high-grade Italian vegetable tanned cowhide for interior & edge braiding. The choice skin on each croc (the bump/crown) is used for the wallet, so each croc only makes one of these wallet (don’t worry, the rest of the skin are put to good use too).
Btw, a tip on caring for reptile leather (crocodile, lizard, alligator, python, water snake, etc) – you DO NOT OIL them like you would mammalian leather. They need to be WAXED! Reptile leather can be very, very strong, provided that the leather is kept moist and the membranes well sealed.
Of course, it pays to pick good quality skin – the Caiman crocs and many of the croc/alligator skin from the Americas tend to be very dry by the time it reaches the wallet maker (but yes, this wallet is a Caiman croc). By the time it gets to you, the skin is almost unsalvageable – if the skin dries out during the manufacturing process, any amount of waxing is redundant. I much prefer crocodile skin from Australia or Thailand.
Anyway, enough ranting:
The hardware, made of 925 silver:
Details of croc skin:
The lanyard is a 9 braid veg. tanned cowhide construction.