Tackling waste is at the heart of everything we do at Billy Tannery. Much of our focus has been on stopping British goatskins from ending up in landfill, being burned or travelling to the other side of the world. But once we’ve tanned our goat leather and turned it into one of leather products, as careful as we are to design considerately, we are still inevitably left with some offcuts. We’ve always been careful not to throw any of these pieces away, but over the years boxes and boxes have begun to pile up in the studio waiting to find a purpose.
We will soon be offering mixed boxes of these offcuts to crafters for their projects, but we’ve always known they were destined for something great. It was during a catch-up with our friends at Savernake Knives in early 2020, that a spark of an idea ignited. While chatting about Savernake’s amazing collaboration with G.F. Smith, where they use layers of coloured paper to create beautiful knife handles, we asked if they could do the same with leather.
A SUSTAINABLE LEATHER KNIFE HANDLE
As luck would have it, Savernake were just starting a project to create a collection of outdoor chef’s knives, called The Elemental Series. Teaming up with chef and writer James Strawbridge and a host of other collaborators, these practical knives needed a suitable handle. Offcuts of our goat leather, themselves leftovers from the food industry, were the perfect fit and added another layer of sustainability to the story. It was only after we had delivered the first box of offcuts for knifemaker Laurie to work his magic on, that we realised quite how perfect the leather was for this purpose. Wonderfully tactile with clearly visible layers, the resulting handles grip even better when wet and will age beautifully.
THE MOTHER SHUCKER
What better then for the first of the series, The Sorn Shucker. Designed in partnership with gastronomic adventure company Sorn Dining, it takes the oyster shucker to the next level. Our vegetable-tanned leather offcuts are crafted into a weighty and ergonomic handle and paired with a short, sturdy blade made of Swedish steel. Perfect for prising open the often tricky molluscs and loosening the oyster from the shell.The Sorn Shucker is available to order online from Savernake Knives now. 10% of each purchase will be donated to help save Cornish native oysters as part of the #savingESTER campaign. Keep an eye out for more later in the year as things are going to get a little more goaty. Sign-up to our newsletter below to make sure you are one of the first to hear.