Leather is practically synonymous with cowhide at this point. When people see a jacket or car seat made from the material, those who know anything about tanning just assume it came from cattle. Most of the time, they are right. Sometimes, though, and especially with less common leather products, they may be in for a surprise.
The skins of all kinds of critters have been converted into leather. You can find products made from the tanned hides of goats, deer, buffalo, sheep, snakes, and even stingrays. In this article, we will focus on pigskin gloves and explore the benefits of this material.
What is Pigskin Gloves?
Pigs, like cattle, are commonly raised and slaughtered for their meat. However, there is much more to them than just pork. In fact, according to the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), we use more of these animals’ bodies than any other. We make china from their bones, treat diabetics with their insulin, and even augment human heart surgeries with their valves. To borrow a cute phrase that the ASAS uses, inventive people across history have found optimal uses for “everything but the oink.”
More relevant to our discussion is how we use their skin. As we noted earlier, leatherworkers do not stick solely to cattle. Rather than throwing away porcine hides, we use them for many kinds of products. You can often identify genuine pig leather products by the presence of distinctive groupings of three dots or lines, from which hairs once grew.
The most well-known pig suede product is the football — or rather, was, as most manufacturers now recreate its qualities with synthetic substitutes. Even so, many people use the term “pigskin” as a synonym for footballs. You can also wear jackets, carry handbags, and even bang on drumheads made from pig leather. The same applies, naturally, to pigskin gloves. They are exactly what they sound like: coverings for the hands made from the tanned and treated hide of swine. One can also see them as an example of our species-wide effort to use every part of the animal — except, of course, the oink.
How Are They Made?
Like all other types of leather, pigskin only becomes pigskin by going through a lengthy process of careful chemical treatment. It begins immediately after the pig is deceased. Leatherworkers must act quickly before decomposition renders the hide too rotten to recycle. Within only hours to go, they must skin the animal and remove the flesh by hand or with a machine. Then they must immerse the liberated dermis in a layer of salt.
The next stage requires dousing the skin in a lime bath, meaning a calcium oxide solution, for one or two days. By the end of this stage, it will be bloated with moisture and capable of being split into two layers. The top one is finer and reserved for more high-quality goods, while the bottom layer is coarser and used for cheaper products. Either layer will still be skin at that point. To become leather, it must first be tanned.
Tannin extracts from tree bark were often used for this part of the process. Nowadays, leatherworkers also use chromium salts. This alternative mix results in more flexible leather, which is ideal for gloves and other clothes. Whichever solution one uses, it must be poured into a tanning barrel and the skin must be tossed inside and left for two days.
After being doused in so many substances, all that remains is to dry it out. The material can also be artificially grained, creating something that both looks nicer and feels smoother to the touch. The result should be a hardy yet stretchy material, which can then be sewn into pigskin gloves.
Benefits of Using Pigskin Gloves
Why go through the trouble of turning swine hide into suede? Why use pigskin gloves for work instead of mitts made from cowhide, or deer hide, or stingray hide? There are plenty of good reasons to go through this process, and we will describe just a few of them here.
When describing pig leather, we mentioned that it is covered in markings consisting of three grouped dots or dashes. These blemishes are used to pore for the swine’s fur. Now that the follicles are gone, this litany of pores allows air to come right in and remain longer. Pig leather is more breathable than any other type of leather, which means pigskin gloves will make your hands feel great.
While swine suede is great for letting air in, it is also great at keeping moisture out. This makes pigskin gloves ideal for humid environments, where one’s hands can otherwise get clammy and feel uncomfortable. The gloves themselves do not even stiffen in such conditions. They remain just as soft and pleasant to the touch as you would want.
If your line of work requires you to use your hands, your gloves need to be tough enough to protect them. At the same time, they should also be supple enough to let you move your fingers as needed. Pig leather is an excellent material for striking this balance. Work gloves made from it will not hamper your movement, but they do not sacrifice their strength along the way.
On top of everything else, pigskin gloves are machine-washable. While certain other types of leather require careful washing and drying by hand, the type made from pig hide can endure laundry machines. These mitts will retain their shape and size. More importantly, they will come out just as functional as when you put them in.
Get High-Quality Pigskin Gloves Today
Pigskin gloves are an excellent choice for anyone who works with their hands. They are soft yet protective, and they are flexible yet durable. If you seek them, you could hardly do better than the high-quality products available at DC Glove and Safety. Shop with us today so you can get a first-rate pair of pigskin gloves at fair prices and with speedy delivery.
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