• portfolio maker jackie hartnack measuring leather for portfolio

    Leather Portfolios, Albums & Binders

We Use The Finest Veg Tanned Full Grain Italian Hides We Can Find

And from these, we make you the finest screw post portfolios, albums or ring binders.
Nestled within the beautiful rolling hills and countryside of Devon, Hartnack & Co are a small artisan bindery that specialise in handmade, individual binders and albums. This page is dedicated to telling you all about the leather we use and what we make from it.

  • image of leather used by hartnack and co for portfolio and albums

    Pick from a choice of four leather hides. 2.5mm or 3.5mm brown or black leather.

Hartnack & Co Leather Collection

luxury leather portfolio scrapbook with 50 fifty page protector sleeves

The Leather Presentation Portfolio

'Let your portfolio make a statement about you, while the contents speak for itself'. that's our statement, but "Its not just a pleasure on the senses of having a leather portfolio, its the statement it makes (to the client") which we have to attribute to a corporate customer we had.
And she was right, our leather portfolios are tactile and they smell wonderful. The message it sends is that you have certain standards and that they must be quite high. Actually, we have no idea about the latter, but it certainly is a beautiful product to present your work in and much in the same way as your clothing makes a statement and first impression, so will your leather portfolio.
Below are some images, if you click on the thumbnails, they will open up into a larger image.

Order a leather portfolio
personalised leather photograph album

The Custom Leather Photo Album

Not just for weddings, but for family celebrations our leather albums make for a wonderful gift. The process starts with us collecting your images and then laying them out for you. We send you on a proof just to make sure you are happy that we have placed everything just where you want it. We then concentrate on the cover - what is the title of the album? what typeface would you like to use? or in the case of a wedding, do you have a design made up for you by your wedding stationer which we can use on the cover of your album?
All you need to do then is wait for us to deliver your wonderfully large, A3 sized photo album - Click on the link below to find out more information.

Leather Wedding Albums
custom leather ring binder

Leather Binders

We can provide you with custom made leather binders of any size. We keep in stock a variety of ring binder mechanism sizes (we can also source 3 'D' ring, ring binder mechanisms) and three of our standard sized mechanisms are powder coated in black, adding an extra air of exclusivity to your bespoke binder.
As with all our leather binders and portfolios, each one is individually made which means you have a large degree of flexibility in terms of size, interior colour and personalisation. The three examples you see below are made in a choice of the leathers available to you (click the thumbnails below to view a larger version of the image).

Order leather ring binders
personalising and embossing leather in hartnack and co studio

Personalisation Options

What's the point of having a custom made and bespoke product if it does not have your name or company branding on it?

Leather can be blind debossed of foil stamped. We can set your name out using our house fonts, or you can send us finished artwork.

Debossed means stamped into. Embossed means raised, (in case your were wondering). On the 3.5mm brown leather, bebossing leaves a natural darkened impression, which look just wonderful! While on the 2.5mm leather it completely flattens the leather giving it a wonderful contracting texture.

Foiling also works really well on leather, particularly the 3.5mm leather where the foil adheres beautifully to the surface allowing for great detail.

For more information on personalisation, click the link below.

Personalisation guide
  • embossed logo personalised portfolio

"Debossed means stamped into. Embossed means raised, (in case your were wondering). On the 3.5mm brown leather, bebossing leaves a natural darkened impression, which look just wonderful!"

veg tanned leather hides to be used for leather albums and portfolios

A Little Bit About Our Leather

While we would love to feel that the price of our leather products are largely down to the craftsmanship that has gone into the actual making of your handmade article, the truth is that it's largely down to the raw material we're making it of. It is pretty special, have a read below. 

Where does our leather come from and what does "Veg Tanned" Leather mean?
Our leather is sourced from Italy, a country that is renowned for  the quality of its leather. Leather can be tanned (the process taking it from a skin to a leather hide) via a number of process's.
The soft feeling 'skin patterned'  leather in items likes bags or upholstery and on our leather-over-board binders, is largely 'chrome tanned'. It takes roughly a day to do, feels soft, is pliable and is very cost effective, though because it uses chemicals has environmental drawbacks.
The other process is something called 'Veg Tanned' or 'vegetation tanned'. There are no chemical involved, and the process involves using vegetation like tree bark, where over time the tannins are extracted from the vegetation to tan the leather - hence where the name Veg Tan comes from. It is labour intensive and takes 3 - 4 months to achieve the finished process.  The result of this long process, is a durable leather often used in shoe making and saddlery. One of the characteristics of veg tanned leather is its characteristic 'leather smell' which conversely isn't very obvious in chemical tanned leather.

What is "Full Grain" Leather?
There is precious little waste in leather tanning. A complete cow hide is roughly 4-5mm thick. Once tanned, the full hide is split with a huge knife to create up to 3 or even 4 skins. Not surprisingly, the top surface of the skin is the most prized and therefore the most expensive. You not only have the natural texture and grain, but the fibres of the leather are the toughest at the top. This piece of the sliced hide for obvious reasons is called 'Full Grain Leather' .  The second layer or hide is called 'Top Grain Leather'. It's still robust because the fibres are from the top of the skin, but the surface which appears like suede is sanded smooth and worked to provide a colour or texture. The third or bottom layer is called just 'Genuine Leather'. It is either left as suede or sanded with a pattern debossed on top.
Hartnack & Co 2.5mm leather is Full Grain leather and it has some from a hide that has probably been split into 3 hides. Our 3.5mm leather is also 'Full Grain Leather' and has been split just once.

What is "Tumbled" Leather?
Once the tanning process is finished and the hides split (see above), our leather hides are placed into a huge drum along with small pebbles and gently spun. The leather is tumbled together with the pebbles. What is the effect? Well firstly, all the fibres in the skin loosen up and the leather becomes slightly softer.
The other effect is that the natural skin texture becomes more enhanced and you notice the stretch marks, skin folds and scars on each hide. That said being an organic and natural product, each hide and also each area of the hide responds slightly differently. Some of the thinner areas soften quickly and become very textured, while other can remain quite smooth. The pebbles also give the hides a soft sheen. The photographic above illustrates this point perfectly! 

So there you have it! The leather in your album, portfolio or binder comes from a country famous for its tanning and uses a centuries old, environmentally friendly tanning technique. We also use the highest grade and highest quality leather available which is finished in very natural process - It's pretty special isn't it?

samples of 2.5mm and 3.5mm veg tanned leather hides showing the different textures

The texture difference between 2.5mm & 3.5mm leather

Apart from being thinner, 2.5mm leather has a great deal more texture to it than the 3.5mm leather.

This is down to the fact that final process undertaken by the tannery is 'tumbling' the leather.

The hides get placed into a big drum and are gently tumbled which break down the fibres and makes the leather a lot suppler (softer)

Because the 2.5mm leather is thinner it 'crumbles' a lot easier and quicker than the 3.5mm. Also the back of the 2.5mm is has been left with a suede back (less dense) than the 3.5mm which has been sanded clean, which is more dense.

Each leather hide has its own characteristics. As you will see from the photo's on this page, some 3.5mm portfolios still have texture!

  • 2.5mm black veg tan leather and 3.5mm brown veg tan leather for albums and portfolios

About 30 miles away from where we are in Devon, there is a tannery that has been in existence since Roman Times and is the oldest in Britain. Their hides are tanned for 12 months!