WHY CHOOSE LEATHER?

Many people start their project with the spark of an idea – they want to create a look that evokes luxury, has individuality and character, and yet will stand against the rigours of time and wear. The one material that can offer all of these fabulous qualities is leather.

Not only is LAPCO Leather an ethically sourced by-product, but unlike fabric, leather doesn’t accumulate dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens easily. In addition to being hypoallergenic, leather doesn’t readily absorb smells, which is great for smokers, pet owners and parents.

Comfort

Soft and pliant with pleasant aroma, leather adapts to the ambient temperature of a room. Natural leather will breathe and quickly assume the body temperature of its host. This also means that unlike its faux counterparts it will not become clammy. As it ages, leather becomes softer and more supple, a sweet mellowing that embraces its aging.

Durable and long-lasting

Flexible and tough, leather is a robust product that adds a sense of timelessness to furniture. It is this resilience combined with its enduring beauty that makes it real value for money. Lasting up to four times longer than textiles, aging contributes to its charm. In a world of fast-fashion, and disposable everything, leather is not doomed to fade, stretch, and go out of vogue.

Quality

Leather imbues a sense of style and quality, which has resulted in a proliferation of cheap alternatives. These do not breath and can be unpleasantly clammy. They will also have an unnatural stiffness and lack the durability of natural leather.

Easy Care

Leather is very simple to care for. Simply wipe up spills as they occur and apply a conditioning treatment every 6-12 months. So while the new furniture love may fade with the first stain on your fabric sofa, the charm of undemanding maintenance on your leather piece never diminishes. Eat, drink, and be merry!

Beauty

The range of pigments and dyes mean that there is now a breadth of choice in the colour of your natural leather that is astonishing. From the palest pastels, to vibrant primaries, and even exciting  metallics, imagination is your only limitation.

Leather traditionally means luxury. It affords a sleek timeless beauty, and its low maintenance qualities will save you effort and time. In a throw away world of disposable goods and fast fashion, leather ages with grace. The characteristic patina of well-loved leather is a hallmark of carefully considered thoughtful choices. It tells a story. It is no wonder that while fads, fashions, and styles change, a passion for the natural beauty of leather remains constant.

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LEATHER FOR YOUR UPHOLSTERY PROJECT

Timeless and sleek, leather adds an elegance to a room that the contemporary vibe of textiles can’t match. When considering a new project making the right choice on the type of leather is a crucial first step. Whether you are looking for vintage appeal or sophisticated chic, upholstering in leather is an investment you can’t beat.

Aniline

Only the highest quality hides are finished as full aniline.  Using transparent dyes, they have the most natural look, allowing the intrinsic beauty of the hide to shine through. As pigments or coatings are not applied, aniline leather will quickly absorb natural oils and will age, fade and polish over time, developing a rich patina and character. Nourished using waxes or oils, this high quality leather is for the antiques of the future.

Semi-Aniline

Combining luxury and durability, semi-aniline leather hides include the addition of a fine layer of matching pigment applied to even out the colour. Adding protection to the leather while retaining the natural look and feel, subtle natural markings can be present. This desirable leather retains the hallmarks of natures signature while providing more resilience to use.

Corrected Grain

Ideal where uniformity of colour, and enduring beauty are required, corrected grain leather is the upholsterers choice. Buffed free of blemishes, and embossed with natural grain or pebbled texture, the hide is then pigmented providing a rich uniform colour. Highly resistant to spills, stains, fading and scratching, it is ideal for large projects and the rigours of urban life.

Pull-Up

Treated with a silky wax topcoat, when this leather is pulled or stretched the waxes cause the dyes to spread giving the hide a two-tone or antiqued effect. Typically used on semi-aniline leather, this leather gives heritage to luxury pieces, creating the impression of depth and history.

Nubuck

Lightly buffed to raise the nap on the surface of the leather, nubuck feels like suede but is considerably stronger. A protective oil topcoat is often applied to add stain resistance to this velvety leather. Its soft luxurious handle adds an inviting texture to special projects.

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

ANILINE LEATHER: Leather that has been dyed by immersion in an aniline dye bath, resulting in a transparent finish showing the natural beauty of the hide. Sometimes topped with a resin, or lacquer protective coating; can also be waxed or oiled. These are quality upholstery hides that mark, fade and change with use.

BELT LEATHER: 3mm+ thick vege-tanned leather, which can be used in the construction of furniture.

NUBUCK: Leather which has been buffed or lightly sueded. This can be referred to as snuffed, buffed, nubuck, or grain-sueded leather.

CHROME TANNAGE: Leather tanned in chromium salts, generally chromium sulphate resulting in soft, mellow hides receptive to excellent colour variety. Currently the most widely used tannage in the world.

CORRECTED GRAIN:  The outside skin or top grain is lightly abraded to remove blemishes. It is then pigmented to cover the sanding and embossed with an pebble texture. A spray sealer topcoat is then applied.

CRUST (SEMI-FINISHED LEATHER): Leather which has been tanned, re-tanned, dyed (or not), fat liquored, dried and softened, but not finished. Such leathers referred to as being crust.

DRUM DYING: The application of dyes to leather by the immersion of the leather in a drum that is tumbled. This process allows full dye penetration into the leather fibre.

EMBOSSED LEATHER: A pattern is applied by extreme pressure in a press to give a unique design or imitation of full grain characteristics (light grain pattern or hair cell prints). Sometimes leathers are embossed to make them appear to be exotic leathers, such as embossing an alligator pattern into cowhide or a floral pattern.

FINISH: Surface applications on the leather to colour, protect, or mask imperfections. More specifically, all processes administered to leather after it has been tanned.

FULL GRAIN: The term used for the outside original skin or hide which has had the hair removed, but otherwise has not been corrected or altered. Full-grain leather possesses the genuine original grain of the animal.

GLAZED FINISH: Similar to an aniline finish except that the leather surface is polished to a high luster by the action of glass on steel rollers under tremendous pressure.

GRAIN: This term is used to describe the surface of leather. The hides finished surface consisting of pores, wrinkles and other characteristics which constitute the natural texture of leather.

PATINA: A surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use; an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit, or established character.

PERFORATED: Leather with small holes cut in the hide. Perforated leather is achieved by die cutting small holes in the leather to form a pattern in the hide. Commonly used in automotive upholstery.

PIGMENTED: The process of colouring and coating the leather surface with pigments dispersed in film-forming chemicals called binders which can be tailor-made to produce surfaces that are highly resistant to wear and fading. Leathers that have been sprayed with a pigmented, opaque finish. This is usually done to cover imperfections in leather.

SIDE: Half a hide cut along the backbone.

SPLIT LEATHER: Leather sliced in layers to give uniform thickness. The inside layers of split leather is trimmed and finished as suede (suede splits). Cheap leathers are sometimes pigmented splits with embossed imitation grain.

SUEDE: Leathers that are finished by buffing the inside of the leather (opposite the grain side) to produce a nap. The term refers to the napping process and is unrelated to the type of leather used. See: Split Leather.

 

CARING FOR YOUR REINDEER HIDE

Ethically sourced, our range of décor product adds luxury, texture and warmth to any room.

Each type of hide has unique properties, and applications, and when choosing your hide, it is important to factor these in. Reindeer hides are soft, with a very thick and heavy coat. The hair is hollow making it particularly warm. However, this also makes the hair susceptible to shedding and breakage and is a natural property of Reindeer hides.

Reindeer hides with their gorgeous nearly symmetrical markings in soft greys and fawns are a highly desirable decorative element. However due to the unique properties of the hair, we recommend that you avoid walking on the hide, as this will increase hair loss and shorten the life of your hide.

Direct heat can dry the hide causing the leather to stiffen and make the hairs brittle. Avoid placing near fireplaces, heated floors or in direct sunlight.

When you receive your new Reindeer hide, air it to allow loose hairs caused by transportation to fall away.

You can vacuum your hide on a low setting in the direction of the hair, however refrain from using a rotating vacuum head.

Reindeer hide can be cleaned, but with delicate care. Please seek professional advice. Absorb spills as quickly as possible.

Pets love the thick soft reindeer hides, but kneading claws will shorten the lifespan of your hide and increase shedding.

Incorrect storage can lead to mould and increase shedding. Roll, do not fold, and call your retailer for advice on how to preserve your precious hide whilst in storage.

 

CARING FOR AND CLEANING YOUR COWHIDE RUG

Natural hides bear unique markings and no two are the same. This is part of their character and rare beauty. 

Natural cowhide rugs are fade resistant, and we recommend that dyed or printed hides are kept out of direct sunlight to avoid possible fading. Similarly avoid condensate and damp environments to avoid mould or mildew.

Regular maintenance of your hide will help preserve its texture and lustre.

  1. Most hides can be vacuumed, and spot cleaned.
  2. Shaking out your hide will air it and remove dust. 
  3. Brush the hair gently in the direction it naturally lies to revive its natural gloss and lustre
  4. Rotate regularly to encourage even wear by foot traffic.
  5. Cleaning spills instantly will prevent them settling into the hide and becoming hard to remove.

When addressing a spill or stain it is important to work in small areas, so you do not spread the stain, or saturate the hide. 

  • Start by absorbing liquid gently with a paper towel.
  • Scrape solids/pastes onto a paper with a butter knife. Go in the direction of hair. Work carefully and avoid pushing the spill deeper into the hair. 
  • If spot cleaning, use a clean sponge and work on a small area at a time, being careful not to saturate the leather.
  • Work with the direction of the hair in small sections.  
  • Set the hair in its natural direction with a hard bristle brush. Allow to dry, and brush again in the direction of the hair to fluff it up.

LAPCO encourages owners to obtain professional advice prior to cleaning your hide. Some cleaning products can be contraindicated for certain stains, and in fact make them worse.

 

REMOVING CREASES FROM YOUR COW HIDE

Hides folded for storage or transport for short time frames may develop creases, which should smooth out naturally over time. However hides that are stored folded for longer periods of time may develop more stubborn creasing, as the leather dries and contracts within the fold

We recommend allowing the hide to uncrease naturally lying flat. You can mist water along the crease being careful not to saturate the hide. If the creasing does not resolve in a couple of weeks, you may try the following treatment.

  1. Lay hide on a smooth heat proof surface.*
  2. Heat an iron to the cotton setting.
  3. Place a damp tea towel on the crease.
  4. Iron over the tea towel working in the direction of the hair.**

* You may use a towel underneath the hide to protect the floor from the temperature of the iron.

** Be careful to keep the iron moving at all times to avoid leaving an imprint from the iron. Only use for the minimum amount of time to remove the crease.

 

FIXING A CURLING COWHIDE RUG

A cowhide rug will typically curl at the edges due to two main factors. Heat exposure or a lower grade hide. 

The cause of curling is due to the cowhide drying out and the skin contracting. In a lower grade hide the edges are thinner, and dry out faster than the thicker centre of the hide. This can create uneven surface tension resulting in the edges of the hide curling up.  

Heat exposure can have the same net result - from above either from direct sunlight, or positioning near a heat source such as a fire, or from below with underfloor heating. 

How To Fix it

Lightly mist the top and bottom surfaces of the curling portion with warm water and squeeze massage the leather to help rehydrate it and even out the surface tension. Alternatively to the massage place a towel underneath, and on top of the curling piece of hide. Pile up some heavy books and leave overnight. This method works well with early intervention. 

If this method fails, you can try using a warm steam iron over a clean, cotton cloth to press both sides of the hide, using plenty of steam to keep the leather moist. Ensure this is done on a flat heat proof surface. 

If the curling continues to be a problem you can trim off the curling edges. Using a sharp craft knife, and following the curve of the hide, carefully cut the dried edges from the underside of your cowhide. Cutting from the underside cuts the leather but not the hair, leaving you a nice fringe of hair falling over the edge.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT HIDE RUG

Size Matters

Smaller spaces, and living rooms enclosed by walls and doorways, usually benefit from a single large rug. Whereas large open plan spaces can benefit from multiple rugs which can be used to define spaces in the absence of walls.

Measure your space and determine the size you will need to give your space the right amount of coverage. Hides can range from under 1.5 square meters, to over 4.3 square meters depending on the animal. 

Focal Point or Accent Piece?

When choosing the right hide for your room, consider if you want it to be the feature, or a compliment to your existing decor. The extensive variety of colours and markings available in natural hides gives you incredible choice in how you style your room.

Brindle - Featuring gradated stripes in brown hues, these hides range from light to dark brown. 

Speckled - A light or white coloured hide with a dappling of small spots in blacks or browns.

Salt and Pepper - A dark hide, with white spotting 

Hereford - A distinctive hide characterised by warm reddish-brown tones with a pure white accent. 

Black and White - The classic Friesian with its bold black and white spots.  

Brown and White - Exhibiting large well-defined brown and white spots. A high impact hide.

Printed - Dyed and stencilled hides can give you an exotic hide effect.

Patchwork - Sewn into stunning patterns these rugs are bespoke pieces of cowhide craftsmanship.

Quality

Regardless of size, your hide should have a proportional and balanced natural shape. The hair should be glossy with no bald patches or unattractive brands.  Appealing colours and markings that have an element of symmetry are a sought-after feature. When choosing your hide, check for reinforcements and repairs as these should not be visible on the top of the hide.

 

CORRECTLY STORING YOUR HIDE

Store your hide in a well ventilated, cool, dry place out of the light. Do not place inside plastic wrapping or any other airtight bag, as this can cause condensation which will result in mildew or mould - your hide needs to breathe! 

Some hides may be folded for short periods of time, and this may be practical when moving the very large cowhides. However remember that folding can result in creasing so it is best not to leave them folded for very long. Reindeer hides should never be folded due to the hollow nature of the hair, as this can cause breakage and shedding.  

For best results roll your hide around a cardboard tube, and wrap with a cotton sheet. This will help keep your hide free from dust and debris while in storage. The storage location needs to be:

  1. Well ventilated
  2. Dry
  3. Cool
  4. Out of direct sunlight

When bringing your hide out of storage, give it a good shake, and gently brush through the fibres to restore the soft lustre of the hide.