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Eel Leather : What Is It and How Can I Care for It?

If you don't know or haven't heard about Eel before, they are some slimy, wriggly ocean's worm but don't worry, Eel leather isn't actually made from eel at all. Eel leather is made from the hide of the Pacific Hagfish, native to the Sea of Japan (like Godzilla of yore), a slimy, wriggly, worm-like fish that puts on thick layers of mucus to deter predators and feasts upon the dead and decaying by burrowing itself into their putrefied carcasses. This type of leather is thoroughly cleaned and outfitted for safe and cleanly human usage as much as any other leather. The constitution of its skin is actually what puts it in such high demand as one of the most prominent exotic leathers you’ll find. Eel leather is remarkably smooth and supple, yet lightweight and two to three times and strong as ordinary leather. Its beautiful sheen is instantly recognizable, with a moist looking pinstripe pattern refracting light like the ocean waters it once called home. A healthy absorption rate allows spills like soda or oils to become more nuances than serious threats, and it is among the easiest of all leathers to maintain. Also, Eel skins are a by-product of the fishing industry (sushi) and they have a fabric-like quality and are sold in sheets commonly referred to as panels. More than 70 small skins perfectly sewn together will create a true first-grade eel panel. Eel has recently become very popular in European high fashion, which has lead to a steady increase in demand overseas.

How Resistant Is Eel Leather?

Eel leather is really really resistant and more importantly, very water resistant. Although exposure to water in a spill will likely darken your leather temporarily, the color will return as the skin dries. Sodas or juices, on the other hand, will need slightly more attention. Splash a small amount of water on the stain to rinse out the leather, and allow it to dry in a cool, indoors place away from sunlight and direct heat. If you need to, soak up excess water by blotting it with a paper towel or soft cloth. Do not rub eel leather when it is wet, or stretch it. Although eel is tougher than general cowhide, it is also thinner, and is usually laminated over cow skin to provide greater durability When we are dealing with oil spills, like maybe a grease stain or hand lotion, we have to act quickly. The best option for getting rid of the stains is Apply rubber cement (you can pick it up at a craft store) sparingly to your stain, let it dry, and then peel it off. If it doesn’t come off the first time, apply again and peel off. You may have to do this several times to get a stain out of it has set in. If you get an ink stain, try rubbing it off with a clean finger. If it doesn’t give, grab an eraser and gently erase the mark from your eel skin. Again, the quicker you act, the better. Permanent ink stains may not be able to be removed.

How Regularly Do I Have To Care For Your Eel Leather?

Eel Leather is actually very low maintenance. Good Eel leather care only dictates that you clean it regularly (AKA just three times at year which is very low maintenance when compared to other leather types).

How Much Do I Have to Condition my Eel Leather?

Eel skins need to be conditioned fairly regularly. For this task, it is best to use an exotic conditioner intended for reptile skin – these conditioners tend to be a bit lighter and gentler than other conditioners. A wax conditioner isn’t terrible, although multiple coats may make the skin less flexible. A cream based conditioner is a safer and healthier choice for eel leather care. Gently blot conditioner onto your eel with a soft cloth until its surface is covered evenly, and leave it to dry for about fifteen minutes. Afterward, blot any remaining conditioner off with a dry, clean cloth. Also, keep your eel leather in a dry, cool, and clean place indoors when you are not using it. Keep it inside of a box or dust bag to prevent dust from gathering on it, and a comfy bed inside packing paper or a few newspapers can also help. Also, don’t stress the leather by putting anything on top of it, or else it might crease.