Leather What is It?

By: Ron Winsor

Have you ever wondered what leather is? Where does leather come from? What makes leather what it is? There are many types of leather and different animals that we get leather from. The purpose of this article is to answer these questions so you can understand a little more about leather.

WHAT IS LEATHER?

Leather, in the largest scope is any hide taken from an animal that has been processed by tanning. There are many different ways of tanning leather. The end result of the leather being tanned is subject to the method used.

WHERE LEATHER COMES FROM

The animals from which the hides are taken vary depending on what leather product is to be manufactured. Each hide can be split into layers to manufacture different products some animals that are used are cowhide, goatskin, deer hide and then there are the exotic hides such as ostrich, snakeskin just to name a couple.

FULL GRAIN LEATHER

This leather is the most natural leather available. This leather shows the life of the animal it was taken from. It shows all of the scratches, cuts, different variations in the grain, all of which have healed over time. These imperfections or character marks are sometimes referred to as "nature's signatures".

ANILINE LEATHER

Sometimes when leather has to much character or to many imperfections manufactures have to sand or buff the hide to take out some of these imperfections. This process makes the leather more even while still maintaining a natural look a light surface coating may be applied to the leather to protect againist soiling and spillages while still giving it a natural appearance.

TOP GRAIN LEATHER

This type of leather comes from just beneath the hair on the hide of the animal. The hide is run thruogh a machine called a splitter which determines the thickness of the hide. This outer layer will show the imperfections in the leather. This part of the hide is the most durable and best layer.

SPLIT LEATHER

This leather is the layer of hide left from the TopGrain and has no natural markings left on it. It is the layer closest to the meat of the animal. It is not as durable as the TopGrain.

NUBUCK LEATHER

This leather is given the look of suede leather by lightly sanding the full grain leather to open the hair cells. This gives the leather a velvet look and a lush appearance. By running your hand over it you can tell Nubuck Leather by the changing of shade simular to the appearance of a vacuumed carpet.

SUMMARY

Animal hides that are made into leather are a way of life for us. Leather is a very durable product that has many uses. Full Grain Leather is the most durable and widely used leather. It is the most natural appearing leather. Top Grain Leather is the best and most durable available. This leather is used in upholstery, garments, footwear and tack for horses. Aniline Leather is a natural looking leather that has had some of the imperfections removed to make it more even. Split Leather is quality leather that has no natural marking left in it. Nubuck Leather has been lightly sanded to open the hair cells to give the appearance of suede leather. This is also a quality leather.
For more information on leather and to see what is available go to www.looksharpleather.com

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