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The Modus Operandi: Grinding and Polishing the No. 12 Business Tote

By Lotuff Leather

Our No. 12 Business Totes are back out on the studio floor today to be ground and polished. This could be called an auxiliary step in the process of making a bag seeing as it doesn’t contribute anything structural or completely required: the No. 12 Tote would still function as a tote if it were to be skipped over. What grinding and polishing does contribute, however, is added longevity for each design and a clear example of our commitment to quality. It’s an action whose value only becomes evident with the passage of time, but because we want each of our bags to last through generations, that value definitely has its place with our customers and in our studio. 

Every edge of every piece of the No. 12 Tote is ground and polished multiple times to effectively “raise the grain” of the leather and sand it back down again until perfection is achieved. To elaborate, painting these unfinished edges causes errant fibers to resurface above the paint, and grinding removes them, albeit along with some of the paint. The goal is to reach a point where the paint’s pigment has been buffed right into the leather and no coarse fibers are present, which usually takes at least four and up to seven rounds of repetition. 

This is all a little arduous, but taking the time to smooth it all out—literally—adds years to the lifetime of our bags. The peeling and splitting that tends to occur on the edges of some leather goods is a near impossibility here thanks to our artisans that take the time to grind and polish everything, and thanks to them, these No. 12 Totes will go on to look as amazing in ten years as the day they go out the door and into the world.