Aniline Dyed: leather that has been through-dyed by immersion in a dye bath and has not received any coating of pigment finish. Dye used to color fine leathers is water based and no longer a toxic chemical.
Aniline Stained: leather that has been stained by brushing, padding, or spraying and has not received any coating of pigmented finish.
Antiquing: a method used for aging the appearance of a hide by hand or machine.
Belly: the part of the hide covering the underside and the upper part of the legs of the animal.
Boarded Leather: leather that has been softened and the surface of which has been lightly creased by folding grain to grain and then working the fold across the leather to and from by hand boarding or by means of a boarding machine.
Bridle Leather: strong, flexible type of harness leather of reasonably uniform thickness with a plain finish and a close shaved flesh. Made from ox or cow hide, vegetable tanned and curried.
Buffing: a sanding process that removes the top surface of the hide grain to eliminate scars and scratches. It is also used to give leather a nap or suede effect.
Chrome re-tan: leather which has been first chrome tanned throughout its thickness and subsequently further treated or tanned with vegetable and/or synthetic tanning agents and/or resin filling materials, these retaining agents penetrating notably, but not necessarily completely, into the interior.
Chrome Tanned: the tanning process for leather tanned either solely with chromium salts or with chromium salts together with quite small amounts of some other tanning agent that does not alter the essential chrome tanned character.
Corrected Grain Leather: even though all hides feature natural markings of the animal, some less desirable marks are buffed out to create a corrected grain leather. After buffing, an artificial grain can be embossed onto the hide. Corrected grain leather offers the sturdiest finish and is the most economical leather.
Cowhide: the entire hide of a bovine, varying from 30 to 70 square feet depending on the country of origin.
Crocking: the transferring of color or finish from leather to other materials by rubbing or abrasion.
Crust: leather that has been tanned, dyed and dried but not finished.
Drum Dying: also known as vat dying, this process assures full dye penetration. The hides are immersed in dye and tumbled in a wheel-shaped drum for hours.
Dyeing: the process by which hides are loaded into “drums” which are then filled with water, fats, resins and dyes of various colors.
Effect Coat: the process that gives leathers the desired look such as: smoky, marbled, antique or two tone. This process adds coloration and dimension.
Embossing: the process in which permanent artificial grain patterns are added through heat and pressure to correct grain hides. Also known as plating.
Enhanced Grain: A leather that is buffed to remove undesirable blemishes and embossed to simulate an attractive grain or to add decorative texture.
Fat Tanned: hide or skin which has been converted into leather by incorporating soft animal fats which undergo chemical changes in contact with the fiber, leading to fixation of fatty matter.
Fat Wrinkles: marks or wrinkles in the grain of the leather caused naturally by fat deposits. More prevalent in the belly and neck area of the hide.
Finishing: any treatment or process performed after tanning in the manufacture of dressed leather including: antiquing, dyeing, glazing, lacquering, pigmenting, and embossing.
Fleshing: scrapings removed from hides by the flesher.
Full Grain: leather in which the natural grain pattern has not been mechanically altered. Full-grain leather features the genuine grain texture of the natural hide.
Glazing: also known as top coating, this process involves the application of protective transparent resins to the leather and determines its shine or glaze.
Grain: any pattern embossed on the face of a hide to provide an effect. Usually the natural pattern of pores and wrinkles that creates the texture on a hide, applied to cover undesirable markings.
Hand: an industry term denoting the feel or touch of leather.
Hand Antiqued: also known as “hand rubbing”, this is the process where skilled craftsmen hand rub a contrasting color onto the surface of the leather to accentuate the natural grain or embossing.
Hide: the outer covering of a mature or fully-grown animal of the larger kind.
Kela: the mechanical process that adds a second color or sauvage-look to hides. This is an additional step in the finishing stage, in which a relief roller creates a marbled look and increases the finish’s character. The name Kela is derived from the name of the manufacturer which made the original machine. Other names describing the same look are Tache, High Lighted, Effect Coat or Two Tone.
Leather: a general term for hide or skin with its original fibrous structure more or less intact, tanned so it will not decay. The hair or wool may or may not have been removed. Leather is also made from hide or skin which has been split into layers or segments before or after tanning.
Liming: the process of removing hair from a raw hide using chemicals.
Milling: the process of massaging hides to ensure softness. After hides have been tanned, dyed and finished they are tumbled for several hours to achieve extra softness.
Nubuck: leather that has had its finished surface buffed to produce a slight nap or suede-like appearance. Most nubuck leathers are pure aniline leathers and many feature a moisture repellent.
Patina: the luster or shine that develops on leather surfaces with use over time. Usually associated with fine antiques and vintage furniture.
Pigmenting: an opaque coloring, which coats the leather surface to cover imperfections and produce hides that are wear and fade resistant.
Pigmented Leather: a leather that is finished with a solid pigment coating for consistency of color and texture. Pigment may be used to cover imperfections, as well as add protection. Generally used to denote more promotional leather. Sometimes called “painted” leather.
Premium Select: the finest leather hides available, exhibiting few imperfections. Number 1 selection, only 5% of all hides harvested are suitable for upholstery as premium-select quality.
Pressing & Printing: a mechanical operation where hides are run through a press to imprint a textured grain onto the surface of the leather. This is done for aesthetic reasons and to hide defects and imperfections.
Printed Leather: leather bearing a surface pattern produced by embossing or other methods.
Protection: a stain-resistant application applied either during finishing or after as a topical coat
Pure Aniline Leather: leather which has been dyed with aniline dyes. The dye permeates the entire hide and results in a soft, rich color.
Pull Up Leather – Oil processed: premium leather saturated with dyes/oils in a two step process. When this leather is pulled during upholstering, the oils/waxes dissipate and become lighter in those areas, which gives a two tone effect.
Pull Up Leather – Paraffin Wax processed: the wax gives a similar effect as an Oiled Pull up with the color change being less radical.
Raw Hide: a hide which has only been treated to preserve it prior to tanning.
Retanning: allows the tannery to alter the original tanning to more specific end use properties.
Sammiering: the process in tanning of pressing the water out of hides.
Sauvage: a marbled appearance, resulting from blending similar colors that adds character and depth to a hide’s finish. A true sauvage look is created as the hides are tumbled during the dyeing process and can be tone-on-tone or a contrasting effect.
ScotchGuard: application of stain resistant protectant.
Selection: the process of sorting hides for their intended use.
Semi-Aniline leather: hides which have been dyed in a shortened process and have a pigmented surface finish applied. These leathers feature a softer hand than leather finished with only pigment.
Shrunk Grain: leather which is specially tanned to shrink the grain layer and have a grain surface of uneven folds and valleys.
Shaving: the process by which leather hides are cut to a uniform thickness with tolerances of a tenth of a millimeter.
Side: half of a whole hide with offal (head, shoulder, belly) attached. It is obtained by dividing the hide along the line of the backbone.
Snuffing: the mildest form of sanding a hide.
Splits: the underside or second cut of leather generally used for suedes or reprocessed to simulate the top grain look. Splits are smaller than top grain hides generally running 25 to 25 sq. ft. in size, thus having a greater waste factor in cutting.
Splitting: the process of cutting a hide into 2 layers evenly throughout the hide of predetermined thickness. The resultant layers are traditionally referred to as Split and Top Grain.
Staking: a mechanical operation where hides are put through a machine equipped with a pin wheel to soften the leather.
Stucco: a filling material used to plug defects in the hide.
Super Split: the same as splits but with more attention given to elasticity so the leather can be used all over the upholstered item.
Suede: the reverse side of the top grain leather or the second cut of the split hide. Suede is known for Velvet like appearance.
Table Run: also called Tannery Run, this is the combination of the graded hide selections. Hides are graded by Alpha or numeric terms for typically 6 grades. Each tanner has its own definition of Table run selection but generally it is an even combination of A, B & C grade hides.
Tanning: the chemical and mechanical process used to treat hides in order to eliminate perishables.
Toggling: hides are anchored and stretched during drying in order to maintain their shape and size.
Top Coat: A transparent, protective coating applied to the leather surface. May also impart luster to the surface.
Top Grain: the uppermost layer of a hide after the splitting process in which the hair and epidermis have been removed. The grain may be either natural or embossed.
Trimming: the process by which all the unusable parts of the leather hide are cut off.
Tumbling: the mechanical process that softens, removes water and enhances the grain of the hides.
Vegan Leather: Vegan ‘leather’, which is not leather AT ALL, is widely touted as an ethical, eco-friendly and equivalent alternative to real leather. Vegan ‘leather’ is promoted as if it is an adequate and unquestionably better option than the real thing. But what most campaigns so conveniently omit, and consumers are therefore less aware of, is that these professed ‘vegan leathers’ are of course loaded with chemicals, and their environmental impact is often a lot more severe than that of leather. They are either synthetics – essentially plastics – or bio-based, but even then require a host of chemical treatments, or they would simply rot away.
The image of this beautiful, traditional, ancient, natural, lasting and renewable material – leather, which is a by-product of another industry, is being detracted by some industries.
Leather is a natural by-product : Modern leather manufacturing recycles over 270 million cow hides each year. These are a by-product of the food industry and without the ability of the leather industry to transform them into leather, over 7 million tonnes would go to landfill with huge environmental and biological impact. Leather makes a sustainable contribution to a society that needs to consume less, reuse more and a recycle everything. Leather at end of life will biodegrade, depending on type in between 10 & 50 years. We see leather trims being creatively incorporated into wall coverings, shoes, clothes, plus more and more companies are recycling the leather component from footwear and leather goods into something new.
Vegetable Tanned: leather tanned exclusively with vegetable tanning agents or with such materials together with small amounts of other agents used merely to assist the tanning process of to improve or modify the leather, and not in sufficient amounts to alter notably the essential vegetable character of the leather.
Water-resistant: leather resistant to the penetration of water, usually chrome tanned, or combination tanned, originally heavily greased, but other water-resisting (repelling) agents may be used.
Wet Blue: leather which after chrome tanning has not been further processed and is sold in the wet condition.