The assembly of any handcrafted leather bag, wallet, belt or purse begins with the selection of the leather hides. When you take a tour of the Pierotucci Italian leather workshop, not only will you see how they cut the panels, prepare the leather and put together the puzzle of pieces but you will have the unique opportunity to walk through their leather storage section and smell the rich perfume of vegetable and chrome tanned leather hides. There are two levels of quality control, that which is completed at the tannery with their electronic eyes that scan the size, color intensity and leather height. Once it arrives at the Pierotucci workshop it goes through another three phases before it goes from raw material to finished product. But instead of using modern technology, this time we use the extensive hands on experience of the Pierotucci leather craftsmen and women.
Each piece has a digitally printed red number on the back which indicates the number of square meters that correspond to the piece. The hides are run through two rollers which are equipped with an electronic eye and they calculate the precise area of useable leather. These numbers are added up to be sure the quantity delivered is the same as the quantity ordered … and paid for. Every order is composed of hides that vary in size and quality. It is easy for the craftsman to know the quality because it is indicated by the lines found next to the size of each piece. (1 line = high quality, 2 lines =medium high and 3 lines = medium quality.) Both the size and the quality are controlled by our Master Leather cutter before they are put into production.
Pierotucci offers a standard collection of classic handmade leather bags and in this case it is imperative that the color remains the same throughout the years in order to allow for coordinating combinations of bags, wallets, key chains and more. When each roll is opened to confirm the square meters, each piece is then compared to an original hide that was kept for just this purpose. When referring to a vegetable dyed process, the color saturation can change dramatically due to many factors however the contract pervades that Pierotucci will accept only up to a 10% color variation in order to produce a homogeneous line of products in the Toscanella line of Italian leather bags, wallets and more.
Perhaps the hardest thing to quantify is the quality control of the leather itself; though much of this is electronically controlled at the tannery only an expert eye will catch the fine details in a defective hide, defects that will make the difference in the integrity of the final product. After the master leather cutter confirms the square meters, the visual quality and the color conformity, he will make a decision if in fact the leather conforms to the Pierotucci standards of quality. In other words, he will pay attention to details such as the smell and texture. This is something only an experienced craftsman would be able to do, like Renzo, who has been with Pierotucci for over 35 years.
by Donna Denise Scharnagl