Vegetable leather manufacturing process - From nature to you

Until it gets to you, the manufacturing of vegetable leather, at least here for cork, will undergo several stages.

Its cycle begins with the extraction of the bark of cork oaks, which is called stripping. It is carried out during the most active phase of cork growth, that is to say normally from May to August.

It takes 25 years before a cork oak tree begins to produce cork and is profitable.

The first cork to be removed, the so-called "virgin cork", also called "desbóia", will be quite irregular. After its first stripping, you will have to wait 9 years for a new cycle to be completed. The second stripping, called “secundeira”, gives a structure which will already be more regular.

After being harvested and cut into planks, they are transported and placed in piles where they rest for six months. These stacks are constructed to prevent microbial contamination and maximize air circulation between the boards.

The next step is cooking, where the boards are boiled in heated water, to remove any lodged solids so they are sterile. They are stacked to rest for a few days until they can be used.

After this process, the tables are separated by categories, taking into account their transformation objective. The cork that is not used for the production of cork stoppers is used for the manufacture of products for fashion, transport, civil construction, among others, the range of products is wide.


*Information taken from the Portuguese Cork Association ( ).

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