Once a hobby, now a full-time business, Adam Tanner opened his own leather-making store, Tanner Custom Leather, in 2009 on the east side of Tucson.
Having grown up around the cattle industry, horses and rodeo, Tanner’s interest in leather making came at an early age. He received his first Tandy Leather craft set at age eight and has been perfecting his leather making skills ever since. Over time, Tanner started making leather products for family and friends merely as a hobby. By 2002, he turned his hobby into a part-time business, which he did from home until opening Tanner Custom Leather seven years later.
“It’s really fun and a big challenge,” said Tanner. “You have to refine the leather, change it, and refine it some more. It’s like making a puzzle and putting it all together.”
The leather that Tanner uses is from a company based out of Missouri called Hermann Oak Leather, which is one of the oldest tanneries in the U.S.
“In my opinion, they have the best quality of leather to work with,” said Tanner. “I try to find the absolute best pieces of leather for my projects.”
Tanner Custom Leather provides a variety of leathered products, including saddles, tack, chaps, ranch, belts, holsters, cellphone cases, briefcases, purses and wallets. All are hand-tooled and custom made by him.
“What I make is full blown western floral, traditional type of western leather art. I can do contemporary or modern stuff, but my passion is in the tooling of the western leather,” said Tanner. “Everything is handmade by me from start to finish and that’s what I like about it.”
It takes around 40 hours to make a base plain saddle, which is a saddle with no tooling, bells or whistles, according to Tanner. Right now he is working on a custom-ordered saddle, which he says will take a total of 200 to 250 hours to complete.
Because Tanner’s business is newer, there are no backlog orders, which allows him to get projects done in a reasonable amount of time. Apart from selling products, Tanner also does a lot of repair work for customers.
Tanner Custom Leather
Where: 150 S. Camino Seco
Tucson AZ, 85710
Owner: Adam Tanner