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Horween Chomexcel Leather - What Is It and Why We Love It

Horween Chromexcel leather (CXL for short) is considered by many people to be one of the best leathers produced today.  It's strong, has a beautiful shine and color, a signature smell that is amazing...I could go on and on. Here is a little information on Chromexcel and why we use it on everything from camera and guitar straps to desk pads and notebook covers.

Check out this post for all the leathers we use, including Chromexcel.


What is Horween
Horween Leather Company was founded in 1905 and is located about three miles from the McMurray and Blonde studio in Chicago, IL.  They continue to be owned by the Horween family and specialize in high-quality leathers used in a variety of industries. You may know Horween from many different popular men's wear items including jackets, boots, bags, and even NFL footballs.

Check out this article to learn more about Horween and their methods

 

What is Chromexcel

To describe it on one sentence, Horween Chromexcel is a combination chrome/veg tanned leather with a soft feel, beautiful shine, amazing pull up and signature smell.  

 

Take a look here for a full description from Horween.

Horween Chromexcel is a perfect leather for so many applications.  I use it on all our camera straps and guitar straps.  When I have chunks available, I'll make notebooks covers, wallets and valet trays.  I also have a side or two to make desk pads and covers.  The following is a summary from Horween as to what Chromexcel is and how its made.  Picture courtesy of Horween

 

Cow (and equine) hides are first tanned in a typical chrome tanned method.  This changes the raw hides into a soft, blue, leather. Horween then uses bark and other natural ingredients to re-tan the sides.  This takes the soft, chrome tanned leather and imparts heft and richness to it.


The next step is where the magic of Chromexcel starts to happen.  The re-tanned sides are the hot stuffed with fats, oils, and waxes.  This yields the pull up that is so recognizable in Chromexcel. The pull up is actually the oils and waxes coming to the surface of the leather - give it a rub and they will go back inside the grains. 

 

The hides are then hand rubbed with coats of aniline dyes that provide the rich color and slight variation from hide to hide.


Why We Use Chromexcel
The first leather I purchased (even before I had come up with the name McMurray and Blonde) was a full side (half of a cow) of Horween Chromexcel leather.  Well before McMurray and Blonde, I had a pair of Wolverine 1000 Mile boots. I loved the look of the Chromexcel leather. So when it came to making my own strap, Chromexcel was my choice.  I actually learned much more about it after the fact and feel pretty lucky I accidentally found such a great leather for straps.

Chromexcel is great for all kinds of leather goods.  Its specifically great for straps because of how strong and soft it is.