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Leather Glossary

Aniline (Dyed) Leather

Natural Leather that has been finished using aniline, a colourless oily liquid. In modern terms aniline refers to leather has the colour added in the dye drum and has no pigmented surface coating, Fashionable natural looking hides,  that mark and age.

Antique Grain

A method of aging a leathers appearance through the use of contrasting colour and the surface pattern of hollows, markings, and creases an antique leather is fashioned

Back

The main portion of a hide, obtained by cutting off the two bellies

Blue Split - Wet Blues

Chrome tanned hide or skin which has been split into two or more layers - we do not sell wet blue

Bovine

Relating or belonging to the genus of ruminant animals that includes cattle, oxen, and buffalo

Brushed Leather

Leather that has the grain side lightly buffed to produce a velvet like finish

Buffed Leather

Leather from which the top surface of the grain has been removed by an abrasive or bladed cylinder

Buffing

The mechanical process which removes scars and scratches from hides

Butt

The part of the hide after the bellies and shoulders have been removed, this is from the back of the animal.

Butt Split

The under layers, split from the butt of a cattle hide

Calf Skin

Calf hide leather  is very popular for shoes,   calf skin rugs with the hair on are very popular in interior decorating

Cattle Hide

The outer covering of a fully grown bovine animal. 

Chamois Leather

Soft pliable leather used for cleaning and polishing made from sheep or lambskin that has been tanned using oxidised fish or marine animal oils

Chrome Tanned

Leather tanned using chromium salts as the base tannage - the most common type of tannage.

Combination Tanned

The use of two or more tanning agents; chrome followed by vegetable (chrome re-tan), vegetable followed by chrome (semi-chrome), formaldehyde followed by oil (combination oil)

Corrected Grain Leather

Leather that has been partially buffed then embossed to remove minor imperfections in the grain surface, the leather then receives a pigments coating

Crust

Leather which has been tanned but not finished or "in the crust."

Cowhide Rug

Hide of a cow tanned for use as a floor rug, or furniture covering. Cowhides Rugs are popular for interior design 

Curried Leather

Leather usually vegetable tanned, which has been subjected to the currying process, i.e. a series of dressing and finishing processes applied to leather after tanning in the course of which appropriate amounts of oils and greases are incorporated in the leather to give it increased tensile strength, flexibility and water-resisting properties

Dermis

The thick sensitive layer of skin or connective tissue beneath the epidermis that contains blood, lymph vessels, sweat glands, and nerve endings

Distressed

A worn wrinkled look made by the application of wax before being tumbled, the tumbling causes a break in the wax were the leather flexes

Double Butt

Commonly suede splits cut out of the centre cut

Drum Dyeing

Full dye penetration is achieved when the hides immersed in dye and tumbled in a vat (drum)

Embossed Leather

A raised leather print or pattern used in corrected grain upholstery or fashion leathers to create certain looks

Epidermis

Anatomy the thin outermost layer of the skin, itself made up of several layers, that covers and protects the underlying dermis

Fat Liquor

Used in the retan process to add to the handle (softness) of the hide

Fat Wrinkles

Wrinkles in the leather caused by the animals natural fat deposits

Finish

The Surface coating applied to the leather

Finishing

Process used after tanning of the hide to create different effects such as embossing, pigmenting, lacquering, glazing, waxing, antiquing

Fluffed Leather

See buffing

Full Chrome

Leather tanned solely in chrominium salts

Full Grain

Leather with the original grain intact, these hides are used for high grade Natural upholstery leathers

Glazed (finish)

Leather which has a very bright or glossy appearance

Glutaraldehyde Leather

Leather tanned with glutaraldehyde, usually in combination with other tanning agents, to make the leather more resistant to deterioration under moist conditions

Grain

What is termed the grain of a leather is the patterns formed by the skins pores and growth marks

Grain Leather

Leather with the original grain intact, these hides are used for high grade Natural upholstery leathers

Grain Split

The outer (wool or hair) layer of a hide or skin that has been split into two or more layers

Hand

The term used to describe the feel of leather

Hide

Full leather  hide of an animal - generally cow in the leather business

Half Hide

1/2 a full leather  hide of an animal, cut down the spine of the animal.

Leather

Hide or skin which still retains its original fibrous structure more or less intact, and which has been treated so as to be imputrescible even after exposure to water. The hair or wool may or may not have been removed

Lime Split

Leather split before it has been tanned

Leather-match

Upholstery that is fashioned out of leather in the seating area and is matched with vinyl for the remainder

Metallized Leather

Leather with a metallic sheen through the use of powders or metallic foils

Milling

To ensure softness after the hides are tanned and finished they are tumbled for several hours

Mineral Tanned

Leather which has been tanned with mineral salts such as aluminium, chromium or zirconium salts

Morocco

Vegetable tanned goat skin with a hard grain pattern

Nappa

A soft full grain leather usually tanned with aluminium and chromium salts

Nubuck

Cow hide buffed to give a velvety nap effect

Oak Bark Tanned

A light weight unbleached bark tanned leather pit tanned at a low temperature for between three to six months

Parchment

Translucent skin dried, cleansed and degreased without any tannage suitable for writing and bookbinding

Patent Leather

Leather impregnated with plastic to make a smooth firm layer

Patina

The shine and wear  that develops on leather with time and use

Pearlized Leather

A leather finish with a pearl like lustre

Pigment Finish

A surface finish containing fine suspended pigment particles

Pigmented Leather

Leather which has been dyed then treated with a pigmented top layer and clear top coat

Print

A pattern embossed onto the surface of leather, often to resemble leather grain.

Protected Leather

Leather which has had chemicals added to protect against soiling

Pull Up

A waxy soft leather which has oils/wax applied. Any scratches or marks will stay until they are rubbed away

Raw Hide

A translucent hide which has been treated to preserve it prior to tanning

Retanned

Leather which has had an additional tannage

Rough Tanned Leather

Leather which has no further process after tanning except being dried out

Russet Leather (Vege - Vegetable tanned)

Unfinished vegetable tanned cow hide which has been dressed ready for carving, finishing and dying. Sometimes called skirt leather at heavier weights.

Sauvage

A process creating a marbled appearance to leather

Semi Aniline Dyed Leather

Leather with a light pigment finish giving a more transparent effect than fully pigmented

Shadow Finish

Leather hides that have been dyed using aniline to completely permeate the hide with a colour. There is either a transparent coating or slightly coloured finish applied to semi aniline dyed leathers to increase its resistance to wear, soil and light. Semi aniline dyed leather has nearly the softness of full aniline leather, with enhanced resistance to wear, soil and light.

Shrunk(en) Grain

Specially tanned to shrink the grain layer so as to have a surface of uneven folds and valleys

Skin

Leather made from the outer covering of an animal with or without hair ( with hair cowhide rug, with out hair leather)

Skiver

Tanned outer or grain split

Snuffed Leather

Leather which has had the top surface removed through a process of abrasion

Split

A single layer from a hide or skin, with no  top surface leather.

Suede

Leather which surface has been milled only

Shoulder

leather cut,  this is the top part of the hide

Tanning

Process used to preserve hides to create a chrome or veg tannage

Top Finished

Layer of final coating to create levels of colour, gloss to desired level

Top Grain

The finished layer of the hide

Tumbling

Milling of the leather to create desired effects

Upper Leather

Leather produced for the upper part of footwear

Vegetable Tanned - see Russet

Leather tanned with vegetable tanning agents

Vinyl

A synthetic material made to look like leather

Wet Blue Leather

Chrome tanned leather which has not been further processed and sold in the wet condition - we do not sell wet blue leather