Author Topic: Original leather supplier?  (Read 8469 times)

Shvegel

  • Associate Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, Cleveland Heights
  • Posts: 2978
Original leather supplier?
« on: March 07, 2020, 09:07:20 »
Does anyone know who originally supplied leather for our cars?  I had my seats done years ago but have yet to install them in the car.  The one thing that bothers me is that the leather doesn't seem to be nearly as nice as the original. 

Taleb

  • Full Member
  • Senior
  • ***
  • USA, NY, SPRINGFIELD GARDENS
  • Posts: 157
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2020, 10:24:12 »
Hi ,
//Www.GAHH.com/ if they are expensive for you then go for https://www.germanautotops.com/


Good luck

doitwright

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, IL, Willowbrook
  • Posts: 648
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2020, 13:39:18 »
The original leather was dyed only on the outer surface. Most of today’s suppliers offer leather that is dyed through the leather where it was soaked in huge barrels. This is commonly known as aniline dyeing or vat dyeing. I know German Auto Tops and probably GAHH and others do offer “Old Timer” leather which is only dyed on the finished surface. I believe they all get their leather from the same source https://www.hydesleather.com/leather/oem-mercedes-leather

A member did a nice presentation on leather interiors recently (Virginia 2017) and you will find a write up in Pagoda World.
Frank Koronkiewicz
Willowbrook, Illinois

1970 280SL Originally Light Ivory - Now Anthracite Gray Metallic

WRe

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Germany, Hessen, Seeheim-Jugenheim
  • Posts: 1397

wwheeler

  • Vendor
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, TX, Dallas
  • Posts: 2880
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2020, 16:07:31 »
I can chime in as well as far as the leather quality. I bought cognac leather for my W111 front seat sometime ago and was the standard that was available. I was not happy with the cognac look or the feel. The colors were off and the texture was close to nothing. The feel was cheap.

Then I discovered the “old timer” line of leather. While still not quite a good as original, it is far better than the standard line. It is more expensive but well worth it for me. Texture is close to original and the colors are spot on also. The feel is not as “firm” as original, but some may like that. Get a sample from GAHH or GAT and you will be amazed at the difference.
Wallace
Texas
'68 280SE W111 coupe
'60 220SE W128 coupe
'70 Plymouth Roadrunner 440+6

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2020, 23:09:38 »
The original supplier was Roser.  However, they closed down in the early 1990s, and are no more.  Sure, you can get the cheap stuff from GAHH, Word Upholstery, GAT, Cabrio, etc, and all of those sell the "Old Timer" leather which is make by Hans Reinke.  As DOITWRITE pointed out, Hydesleather is where to get the Old Timer from for the best deal.  I know the owner, Aaron Lathewait, personally, and is a stand up fella.  His color matches are spot on, too. He actually went to the archives at the Classic center in Fellbach to match all of the colors.  All other places put an asinine mark up on it, so buy from Hydes of you choose to use the Old Timer.

The Hans Reinke is considered the next best thing, and it's a beautiful representation of the original Roser leather. But if you want an authentic reproduction surface dyed hide, then you can buy the correct leather from Aeristo or Steenbuck.  Aeristo in in the USA, and Steenbuck is in Europe.  If buying from Aeristo, you'll want their Touranil line.  https://www.aeristo.com/products#leathers  Steenbuck is here:  http://www.steenbuck-web.de/index.htm Less shipping, you'll pay around $1,500 per hide, but you get exactly what you pay for.  Several years ago I did an extensive write up on the different kinds of leather compared to original leather on the M-100 forum.  Here is the link:   https://m-100.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=2155&club_id=406485&item_id=830165  Sadly, the M-100 site is apparently not working, and hasn't been for a while.  I tried to open the above link and it still errors out every time.  Maybe you'll have better luck than I. 

If any of you end up recovering the leather covered panels on the dash, around the windshield, sun visors, etc, you MUST use Speltleder, or leather that is skived almost paper thin.  The edges of the door panel coverings and seat back coverings must also be shaved paper thin with a hand skiver for proper fitment. This "speltleder" is also required when making the piping that goes in the seats.  About 99.9% of people that make seat covers for these cars don't know this, and the piping ends up being too large in diameter.  Most of you probably won't care too much about this, but for a restoration being judged the correct diameter piping is important for authenticity. 

Below are some pictures. The first one is of three pieces of leather.  The top piece is an original piece of Roser leather from 1970.  The middle piece is a sample from Steenbuck, and the bottom piece is a sample from Aeristo.  All are wonderful examples, and the quality is unmatched. 

The second and third pictures are color samples of all of the colors available from Aeristo and Hydes.  Take note of the fine/smooth graining and satin sheen.  If you want a picture of a particular color please reach out and I'll happily oblige.  I believe Aeristo will send you small samples at no charge, but Hydes will charge you $50-$80 for a complete sample booklet, but it's worth it.  I don't know if Hydes sends separate samples anymore. 

Sadly, Cognac is something both have struggled with in getting the correct look.  What they offer for Cognac is beautiful, but the red flecking is not like the original.  Then again, if everything is done all at the same time it'll look just fine.   

wwheeler

  • Vendor
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, TX, Dallas
  • Posts: 2880
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2020, 03:03:18 »
Aaron,

My jaw just dropped. Your knowledge of automotive leather is unbelievable. I knew there was top quality leather out there, just didn't know where. I guess it all depends on what you after as to what leather you get. I was not happy with the standard line, and I think the Old Timer is good enough for me. The upper end would be nice, but probably out of my range.

You are so correct about the skived leather in certain areas. I know GAHH has a mill that can do that and I think the biggest they can handle is something like 16" x 42" or so.

Very educational and thank you.
Wallace
Texas
'68 280SE W111 coupe
'60 220SE W128 coupe
'70 Plymouth Roadrunner 440+6

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2020, 04:17:41 »
Aaron,

My jaw just dropped. Your knowledge of automotive leather is unbelievable. I knew there was top quality leather out there, just didn't know where. I guess it all depends on what you after as to what leather you get. I was not happy with the standard line, and I think the Old Timer is good enough for me. The upper end would be nice, but probably out of my range.

You are so correct about the skived leather in certain areas. I know GAHH has a mill that can do that and I think the biggest they can handle is something like 16" x 42" or so.

Very educational and thank you.

Wallace, thank you very much for the kind words!   

If you're doing just the seats, then you might be ok with buying two hides of the good stuff.  I think the Old Timer leather from HYDES is around $700-$800 per hide. So you'd spend double for the good stuff if you bought it.  The Old Timer is really good material, and for most of us, myself included, it will work just fine. 

For the skived edges, you can buy bench mounted skivers and do it yourself.  They're on ebay and the like.  But places like Aeristo and HYDES can skive whole and half hides for you compared to the small pieces that GAHH can do.  However, when asking for this service you must ask them to "split" your hides.  Skiving is a colloquial term that, technically, refers only to thinning the edges, not a whole or half hide.  They all know what it means to split a hide, but saying you want your hide "skived" might confuse some of them.  Terminology matters here. 

Be aware that if you buy leather hides from Aeristo or HYDES you'll have to have it shipped to GAHH to have the seat covers sewn up.  Aeristo and HYDES don't offer "kits" for our cars like GAHH does.  I recommend GAHH for the sewing because their patterns are spot on and fit like a glove.  I believe GAHH told me that of you supply your own leather the cost is 60% off of their website price......but you may want to call Norma, Geni, Barbera, or Jack at GAHH to confirm that. 

Peter van Es

  • Honorary Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Netherlands, North Holland, Nederhorst Den Berg
  • Posts: 4027
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2020, 12:51:56 »
Several years ago I did an extensive write up on the different kinds of leather compared to original leather on the M-100 forum.  Here is the link:   https://m-100.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=2155&club_id=406485&item_id=830165  Sadly, the M-100 site is apparently not working, and hasn't been for a while.  I tried to open the above link and it still errors out every time.  Maybe you'll have better luck than I. 

I did some sleuthing. That forum is completely empty. They use a paid-service called Club Express. Either they did not pay their bills, or something went wrong on a conversion as the page id you reference is now different. Or... very likely, Club Express stopped functioning. The fact that they still do not have https (ie protected pages) is a dead giveaway for a commercial operation.

That's why Pagoda SL Group like to keep things in our own hands. If you still have the write-up, I'd love to add it to the Technical Manual...
1970 280SL. System Admin of the site. Please do not mail or PM me questions on Pagoda's... I'm not likely to know the answer.  Please post on the forum instead!

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2020, 00:45:16 »
They were supposed to soon allow anyone to join at no cost, but it's not happened.  Apparently, if you're not a paying member you get zero access to everything.  It's not a friendly place to be.  There is far too much high browing and condescending attitudes.  It's just as well. 

Since I wrote the material, they can't hold it hostage, per say, so I'll get access to what I wrote somehow so it can be viewed by everyone on here at no cost. 

johnk

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, Avon
  • Posts: 1158
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2020, 03:53:00 »
So how much and what type of differences are we taking about in the different grades is leather. I was just about to order a full leather kit installed on my components from Heritage. Everything is new so there is no old leather to match. I really appreciate a nice leather interior but my budget is not unlimited. Too many “might as wells” already.
John Krystowski
Avon Ohio
1968 Euro 280sl under restoration
2016 Jag F-Type R sold june 2021
1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS For sale
2008 E350
2007 GL 450
2019 BMW 540

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2020, 06:35:06 »
So how much and what type of differences are we taking about in the different grades is leather. I was just about to order a full leather kit installed on my components from Heritage. Everything is new so there is no old leather to match. I really appreciate a nice leather interior but my budget is not unlimited. Too many “might as wells” already.

The cost difference between the "Old Timer" leather from HYDES and the good stuff from Aeristo is about half.  A hide of leather from HYDES is around $700-$800 per hide, and a hide of leather from Aeristo is around $1,400-$1,500.  (all less shipping, taxes, etc.)  The cheap dead looking leather from other places is just about as costly as the leather from HYDES......it shouldn't be.  It's too low of a quality to merit such a price.

The visual differences are obvious to leather nazis, such as myself, but to most it'll be beautiful.  However, the difference between anything from HYDES or Aeristo and the cheap stuff one might get from World Upholstery, GAHH, German Auto Tops, or Cabrio will be very obvious.  By all means buy the leather from HYDES since you're concerned about your budget.  It's beautiful leather, and you won't be disappointed. 

Just remember to have at least half of a hide split.  Putting standard thickness leather on the dash pieces and pieces around the windshield will end in disaster.  In fact, some pieces may have to be thinned even more either by hand or machine.  Very thin leather is necessary in these locations. 

Heritage should be very familiar with HYDES leather.  Though, you'll probably have to buy the HYDES leather through Heritage.  I don't believe HYDES sells to the public.  So there my be a mark up.  Just make sure it's not more than 20%. 

johnk

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, Avon
  • Posts: 1158
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2020, 13:51:39 »
How many hides does a full interior take?
John Krystowski
Avon Ohio
1968 Euro 280sl under restoration
2016 Jag F-Type R sold june 2021
1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS For sale
2008 E350
2007 GL 450
2019 BMW 540

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2020, 20:10:34 »
That' a difficult question to answer in regard to this surface dyed leather. In a perfect world, or when using the inexpensive leather,  two hides would suffice........and two hides very well may give you all that you need.  However, there is a catch, as usual. 

When Mercedes selected leather for a leather interior they'd use only the part of the hide with the tightest grain and no imperfections for the seats, dash top, trim around windshield, sun visors, and door panels. Other areas would have had a little less than perfect graining, but nice and matching, nonetheless.  In addition, each hide will likely have imperfections that have to be cut around and/or not used.  Some hides are minimal in imperfections, some have many, and even a few have virtually no imperfections.  Depending on how many imperfections the hides have, as well as what areas you want to use for the visible areas, will determine how many hides you need.  Every hide I've ever bought had several imperfections in it.  This causes us not to be able to use the entirety of the hide.  Hence, the need for more than what would normally be necessary. 

Hides also come in different sizes, so depending on what size the hide is will also determine how many you need.  They can range from anywhere between 30-60 square feet. 

These imperfections I speak of are from when the cows/bulls cut their skin, (barbed wire, fighting, rough housing), were shot, or maybe had some skin irritation that causes a bad spot in the hide. 

I suppose the short answer to your question is to buy two hides, see if the imperfections are few enough that more than two aren't needed, decide if you want to use the exceptionally nice areas of the hide for the visible areas or not, and go from there. 

wwheeler

  • Vendor
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, TX, Dallas
  • Posts: 2880
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2020, 23:55:49 »
Man, you sure know your leather! I have personally been through this on two cars. If you wanted only top quality in the end, you would only use a certain fraction of the hide. Every hide has imperfections and "soft" spots which are less than ideal. It feels terrible to not use all of the hide because of the cost. But if you want the best, that is what you have to do. And as Aaron said, the hides are all different sizes. There is no "standard" cow.

You cannot skive the lesser part of the hide, BTW. It must be from the better part. Ask me how I know. Because when the leather gets that thin, you need all the strength you can get.
Wallace
Texas
'68 280SE W111 coupe
'60 220SE W128 coupe
'70 Plymouth Roadrunner 440+6

Shvegel

  • Associate Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, Cleveland Heights
  • Posts: 2978
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2020, 08:20:36 »
Wow!  Way more information than I expected.  Thank you Aaron h for your information.  So many great tanneries closed their doors in the 80's and 90's due to pollution at their sites due to chromium and other metals.  Either the site was polluted or the cost to bring the tannery into compliance was too prohibitive.

I agree that it is better to buy more than you need.  I currently work on a large yacht and whenever I schedule a recovering for a leather surface I always buy one and a half times more than I need.  We also specify which surfaces are to be trimmed out first with seating taking a priority. 



« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 08:32:11 by Shvegel »

DaveB

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • Australia, Western Australia, Lathlain
  • Posts: 952
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2020, 00:28:45 »
Thanks Aaron for the leather information!
Can you also advise on the best available tex?
DaveB
'65 US 230sl 4-speed, DB190

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2020, 05:35:44 »
Thanks Aaron for the leather information!
Can you also advise on the best available tex?

As far as I know most places offer the same MB-TEx, but GAHH will offer coverings that fit like a glove.  The only problem is that the early model Pagodas had smooth grain MB-Tex, and to my knowledge no on currently offers the correct smooth MB-Tex.  Though, it's been a long time since I've ordered anything in MB-Tex, so maybe someone is offering the smooth MB-TEX now? 

114015

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Tecklenburg
  • Posts: 2077
Re: Original Roser leather supplier?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2020, 00:29:08 »
Quote
Below are some pictures. The first one is of three pieces of leather.  The top piece is an original piece of Roser leather from 1970.  The middle piece is a sample from Steenbuck, and the bottom piece is a sample from Aeristo.  All are wonderful examples, and the quality is unmatched. 

Oh wow, Aaron!
Thanks a lot for this very highly qualitative summary.  ;)
Finally ( I found) someone who is exactly of the same opinion regarding 'original leather' as I am (... and I thought I was the only fool who only likes the real-original looks of  our leather interiors  ???).
Sadly, most people (more than 95%) are happy with this far too flat and far to coarsely grained often wrong-colored everywhere-available standard aniline leather....

Thanks a lot, Aaron,
Chapeau!


Achim
Achim
(Germany)

DaveB

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • Australia, Western Australia, Lathlain
  • Posts: 952
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2020, 10:14:02 »
Thank you Aaron. That's too bad. I hope some manufacturer might take up the challenge of reproducing early-style tex.
DaveB
'65 US 230sl 4-speed, DB190

stickandrudderman

  • Vendor
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • United Kingdom, England, Richmond
  • Posts: 2860
    • http://www.colinferns.com
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2020, 16:14:46 »
Great information.
One observation: AFAIK, sun visors 9and door pull handles) were never covered in leather; always vinyl.

mbzse

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Sweden, Stockholm, Stockholm
  • Posts: 1748
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2020, 16:40:12 »
Quote from: stickandrudderman
.../...AFAIK, sun visors (and door pull handles) were never covered in leather; always vinyl
Yes, that is correct. Sun visors always vinyl (plastic)

The "cow horn" on a Euro door skin was finished in leather, if the interior was leather (interior code starts with a "2").
This is also so for the "D" handle on a US or late Swedish 280 SL.  Finished in leather, if the interior was leather

The smaller "D"-shaped passenger-side pull handle always plastic material.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2020, 00:28:46 by mbzse »
/Hans S

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2020, 03:17:54 »
Great information.
One observation: AFAIK, sun visors 9and door pull handles) were never covered in leather; always vinyl.

My apologies.  I must have had W111/W112 cabriolets on my mind when I typed that.  Though, I don't think I mentioned anything about door pulls. 

Achim, likewise, it's a pleasure meeting someone who is as much of a leather nazi as I.  haha  I wish you could see/experience/smell the room in my house where I store all of this wonderful original Roser leather and new leather from Aeristo and the like.  The worst part about having/collecting leather is that you can't fold it up and put it in a drawer.  It has to be stored on a roll, preferably suspended.  I just like being able to go get a piece of leather and do what I want to do.  One of my favorite jobs to do is interior leather work on a W111/W112 coupe`/cabriolet or a 600.  There are sooo many hand fitted pieces of leather, which is the part I love doing.  Headliners and front/rear glasses are also a favorite of mine.  When done right, and with the correct leather, the visual sight of it all, or individually, is breath taking.....to me anyway.  No drug in this world could give me the same high. 

Dave, I know Jaguar cars of the era also had smooth vinyl, and places do sell that smooth vinyl for Jaguar, but it's too thick.  The vinyl used on Pagodas is almost paper thin.  Unfortunately, vinyl can't be skived or "thinned".  Like you, I have hope that someone somewhere will soon offer the correct vinyl.  It's a chore fitting the thick vinyl to a Pagoda door panel, and it never looks right.

Wallace, to add to your previous commentary, the stomach of the Bull is always the softest, most buttery feeling part of the hide.  This is because this area of the bull is always expanding and contracting as the Bull eats.  This part of the hide is my favorite part to use for covering pieces with odd curves/bends.  It's harder to skive, but will eventually thin.  This part isn't a part I'd use on seats.  It's would look and feel spectacular, but wouldn't hold it's shape after we sat on it for any length of time.  But you're right about the lesser parts not being able to be skived.  When a skiving machine catches a hole it's the most horrible event to witness.  Blades break, the hide may be damaged to an extent, and the machine might also suffer mechanical damage. 

SHVEGAL, do keep us abreast of your progress and what you decide to use/buy.  Even if you buy the least expensive leather I won't hold it against you.  I just like seeing progress. :) 

Shvegel

  • Associate Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, Cleveland Heights
  • Posts: 2978
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2020, 22:56:13 »
Aaron,
My seats have been done for years.  I bought covers off eBay and had probably the best upholsterer on the planet put them on as his last job before he fell into the bottle and never recovered. He was impressed with the fit.  Unfortunately, I too am a leather snob and as far as I am concerned the smell of good leather when you get in your car is a big part of the experience.  The question now is is it worth another $2500 to do the seats again?

Aaron h

  • Guest
Re: Original leather supplier?
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2020, 02:41:08 »
That smell is exactly why I have refused to recover the worn and tattered seats in my W109 for the last 10 years. 

The answer to your question is a very personal decision.  Any time I get asked this question I always say that if you have the means then go for it.  We've all spent $2,500 on much worse...or will eventually.  I wish it weren't so costly, but I'd also not think twice about it if I was able to swing the cost.  Zero regrets.  :)