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 KNOW YOUR LEATHER TERMS

 

Aniline Dyed: Refers to color, which permeates the hide totally.

 

 Aniline-Plus: Also called “semi-aniline”. Leathers that have been aniline dyed are then coated with matching pigments to even out the color. This finish does not mask the natural characteristics of the hide.
 
Aniline Finish: A clear finish with little or no pigmentation.
 
Bark or Vegetable Tanned: Leather which has been tanned with vegetable materials that are derived from certain plants and woods.
 
Buffed: Leather which has been smoothed or sueded by mechanical sanding.
 
Cabretta: Skin of hair sheep, chiefly Brazilian, used principally for glove and garment leathers.
 
Calfskin Leather: Leather made from the skins of the young cattle and characterized by distinct grain or fiber structure.
 
Chamois Leather:  A soft, pliable absorbent leather made from the inner side of a sheepskin.
 
Cowhide Leather: Leather made from hides of cows. The term is generally loosely used to designate any leather tanned from hides of animals of the bovine species.
 
Crocking: The transfer of finish or color when leather is rubbed with a wet or dry cloth. Indicative of a poorly dyed leather.
 
Distressed: Buffing surface to create uneven coloration and markings for a weathered look.
 
Doeskin: Commercial term for white leather from sheep or lambskin, tanned with alum or formaldehyde or both.
 
Drum-Dyed: A dying process in which the leather is immersed in a drum and tumbled. This process fully penetrates the leather and produces the most even and long lasting coloration.
 
Embossed Leathers: By way of a mechanical process of permanently imprinting a variety of unique effects ( ie: snake, alligator, paisleys) to the leather surface, hides or skins are finished with designs stamped on by etched, engraved, or electrotyped plates or rollers.
 
Finishing: Process of applying materials to the grain of the leather to cover blemishes, create smoothness, and give uniformity of color and appearance which may vary from dull to glossy.
 
Full Grain: Same as top grain. “The best”! This means the leather is unaltered and in its natural state, having the original grain surface of the skin. See “Top Grain Leather” below.
 
Glazed Finish: Produced by polishing grain surface under heavy pressure of a roller of agate, glass, or steel. Infrequently made by a varnish or shellac coating.
 
Hand: The reaction of the sense of touch when leather is held in the hand.
 
Hand Antique: Leather is antiqued by hand applying a darker color over a lighter base, much as wood is stained to emphasize natural grain.
 
Hot Stuffing: A process that infuses dyes, waxes, and oils into the surface of the leather under heat and pressure.
 
Imitation Leather: Materials made and finished to resemble leather. Example of imitation leather: leatherette. Can be coated fabrics, rubber, and plastic. 
 
India-Tanned: Term applies to hides and skins from India, considered a semi-tanned raw material and generally re-tanned in the U.S. before finishing.
 
Mineral Tanned: Tanned with chemical compounds of mineral origin, without the use of vegetable tanning materials. The principal type of mineral tannage is chromium compounds.
 
Naked Leather:  Naked leather has been dyed only. Nothing is applied to it that would mask its natural state. Because of this, it is the softest and most supple leather available. It gives the unique natural grain of leather a distinct warm rich glow.
 
Napa: Commonly refers to the surface or top grain of any soft leather hide.
 
Nubuck Sueded Grain: This full grain layer of the skin is given a suede effect by lightly sanding the natural grain to open the hair cell and results in a velvety suede feel. Care must be taken against soiling or staining after this process, as it is difficult if not impossible to clean afterward.  
 
Nubuck: Top Grain leather buffed to create a suede effect.
 
Nude Finish: A leather that is usually vat dyed, but has little or no protective coat.
 
Oil-Tanned: Leather tanned with fish oils giving a soft and pliable leather like chamois.
 
Patent Leather: Leather with glossy, impermeable finish, produced by successive coats of drying oil or varnish.
 
Patina: A surface that has taken on beauty and character derived from age or use.
 
Pebble Grain: An embossed-leather grain finish resembling a pebbled surface, ranging from fine pebbled Morocco goat to heavy scotch grain upper leather,
 
Perforated: The process of die-cutting small holes to form a pattern in the leather.
 
Pigment Finish: Leather finished with compounds containing opaque pigments, which more or less conceal the grain pattern. Split leathers are often finished with pigments and embossed to simulate a grain.
 
Premium Select: A term describing hides with minimal amount of scars or blemishes, usually less than 5% of all hides.
 
Pure-Aniline: Buttery, glove-soft leathers which are tumbled for up to 12 hours in drums containing transparent dyes.
 
Sanding: Refers to the removal of grain, scars and blemishes from a hide.
 
Semi-Aniline: A semi-aniline leather has been aniline dyed, then slightly pigmented. Because pigment is solid, this type of leather ensures color consistency while having stain and spill resistance.
 
Snuffed: Portions of the grain surface lightly abraded with emery wheel or sandpaper so as to lessen the effect of grain damage.
 
Suede: Leather finished by buffing with an emery wheel to produce a napped surface. Suede is not as durable as top grain leather.
 
Tanning: Treating raw hides to reduce perishability.
 
Top Grain: Also full grain. “the best”! This is the upper layer of a hide, which is split into layers. This outer (top) layer will show natural scars and hair cell patterns if left as uncorrected natural grain. The hides can be colored and given various protective finishes. This is the best, strongest, and most durable layer of the hide.
 
Tumbling: A process in which hides are tumbled in a rotating drum to soften the hand or enhance the grain.
 
Water Repellent Leather: A leather which has been treated with any of several chemical compounds which repel the absorption of external water.
 

Wax Finish: A method of finishing heavier weights of upper leather on the flesh side by working wax into the substance.

 

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