Leather is a highly durable material made by tanning hide or skin of animals. Animal skin undergoes a preservation process i.e. a chemical treatment called tanning to convert the otherwise perishable skin to a non-decaying material called leather. The skin of the larger animals like cow or horse is termed as hide whereas skin of smaller animals like sheep or goat is termed as skin. Leather mostly comes from cattle as a byproduct of the meat industry.
Cow Hide – The most commonly used leather is made from cow hide that is used to produce a large variety of leather products. Leather made from the hide of the adult cow is known as the most versatile leather. The cow leather can be soft and thick and abrasion resistant which makes it a good choice of leather for heavy duty wear.
Different Leather Grades
Full Grain – Full grain leather is the finest of all leathers where only the hair is removed from the epidermis and the hides have not been snuffed, sanded or buffed to remove imperfections or marks and comprises of the entire thickness of the skin. The leather has great strength and durability as the grain remains on the skin. The full-grain leather is available in two types of finishes called aniline and semi-aniline and it is generally used for the making of highest quality furniture, luggage and footwear.
Information about Leather Thickness
Leather is a soft material and hence measuring its thickness is extremely difficult. The thickness of the leather is determined with a predefined area and predetermined contact pressure. It is hard to measure uniform results over the entire skin surface because leather is not uniform in character and hence thickness measurement of the leather is regulated by national and international standards. However, leather is generally measured in terms of ounces or mm, where one ounce is equal to 1/64th of an inch thickness. Thus, 8 oz. thickness of leather means 1/8th of an inch thickness. Leather having thickness more than 1.4 mm is considered heavy grade used which is used for bags or belts.
Different leather products are made depending upon the thickness of the leather. Find below the given leather thickness that are ideal for making different products.
Difference between Chrome Tanned and Vegetable Tanned Leather
Vegetable tanned leather is leather that is tanned with natural process using natural ingredients like bark of chestnut trees and by other tanneries that have a rich heritage of tanning hides. Vegetable tanning is an age-old process and relies on extended and complex process of soaking animal hides in vegetable tannin. Since, plant extracts are used for the tanning process hence the color of the finished leather has rich tones of natural browns. Vegetable tanned leather is stronger and can withstand the daily wear and tear and with proper care can last more than a life time. This type of leather ages well developing a natural patina as you wear it.
Different Leather Finishes
Leather is given variety of finishes to enhance its natural beauty and some of the common finishes given to leather are Nappa, Aniline, Semi-aniline, Pigmented, Natural dry milled, Pebble Grain etc. Let’s have a close look at different finishes of leather. Aniline dyed Leather – Aniline dyed leather is the most natural looking leather that is available as it is with the unique surface characteristics of the hide remaining visible. It does not have any surface coating of polymer and pigment and is colored only with dye. Aniline finish is completely transparent so that the original grain surface is visible and the finish is unhindered by any pigment particles. Only the best quality skins can be used to be aniline dyed due to its transparency which makes it an expensive choice. This method of dyeing produces a very soft and luxurious feel and It is the considered the most premium quality of leather.
Embossed leather is made by stamping the leather using heat and high pressure to create a specific pattern or design in the hide or to represent that natural grain of the hide. There is different variety of embossed leather ranging from crocodile, snake, alligator, flowers, saffiano and other patterns. Stamping of pattern onto the leather gives a creative and decorative look to leather that is also water and oil repellent. The thermo-leather treatment on the embossed leather reduces the overheating of hides when exposed to the sun.