mega888 Basic Education - Leather Education
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Basic Education


The Stages of Transformation

  • Liming (Removing Hair)
  • Splitting
  • Tanning (Preservation using Chromium Salts)
  • Re-Tanning - dyeing of crusts for the intended base color
  • Correction (buffing out defects, adding stucco, printing a grain)
  • Finishing
    • Pigmenting (opaque paint as on your car)
    • Aniline Finishes (dye as in coloring fabric)
    • Addition of oils and/or waxes for
    • Pull Up and double tone effects
    • Buffing for Nubuck effects
    • Hand Antiquing
  • Milling – Tumbling in rotating drums for softness





Hand Rubbing or Antiquing

Application of Pigment

Applying Oils & Waxes

Buffing Stucco from the Hide

Embossing the Grain Print

Top Grain vs. Full Grain

Full Grain
  • Only top quality A & B grade hides can be used due to the low number of markings and defects
  • Finish is with translucent aniline dyes so the touch is Natural Soft Leather.
Top Grain
  • C (lower grade) hides that contain numerous markings and defects require correction, such as buffing, stucco, sanding, pigmenting and printing a grain.
  • In this extra correction, the hide looses some of its natural feel but gains durability.

Hide Size & Origin

The size and quality of the hide greatly depends on the area of the world it comes from...

Europe and North America: Great Quality - availability makes for high price; low waste resulting from fewer insects and superb feeding and care.

South America (More Cows than People): Good Quality - great supply makes for low to medium price; low to medium waste resulting from good feeding and care.

Far East, Russia and Africa: Poor Quality - small size, high waste - resulting from constant branding, poor feeding, care and insects.

China & Italy: having few hides must import hides; cured in salt, and shipped from all parts of the world. Best results are achieved from fresh harvested hides which arrive several hours after harvest. S.A. has more cows than people

Pigmented vs. Aniline Finish

  • Hides are essentially naked (all natural markings and grains are visible)
  • Only the top quality hides are suitable for aniline finishes
  • Acquire their color by soaking in dyes that permeate through the entire thickness of the hide (similar to dyeing clothes)

Aniline Leather

Semi – Aniline
  • Same as aniline finish, but is micropigmented for protection and/or color contrast

Semi – Aniline Leather

Pigmented Finish
  • Hand, color consistency
  • Acquire their color by applying pigments to their surface only (similar to painting a car)

Pigmented Leather

Understanding Color & Natural Marks

Color Variation

Color Dependence on LightSource

Color Variation in Hides

  • Leather is a multi-fibrous material, and its thickness varies which causes absorption of chemicals to differ within and among hides.
  • Metamerisim - Color is a reflection of light, which permits some leather that appears to be the same under one light source to look very different under different light sources.
Natural Markings and Grain

Open Scar

Machine Folds

Manure Burn

Raised Wart

Leather Care

For All Leather Types
  • Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight (under windows or skylights). All materials will fade over time when placed in direct sunlight. Some leathers are especially sensitive to sunlight.
  • Maintain at least two feet between your furniture and heating sources. Prolonged exposure to heat vents and radiators will cause your leather to dry out.
  • Like all items in your house, leather can accumulate dust. You can fully remove dust particles from the surface with a soft cloth, making it ideal for dust sensitive persons.
  • Certain types of leathers perform better when preventative maintenance is practiced. Your retailer may offer additional Leather Care and Maintenance suggestions or products.
  • Use of general household cleaning products, chemicals and abrasives are not recommended as they can break down the leather's protective surface and cause damage. Never use harsh chemicals or cleaning agents (such as furniture polish, ammonia, or detergent soaps) on your leather furniture. Avoid all products containing solvents, silicones, or oils, as they may negatively affect the leather's surface.