How Many of These Leather Terms Did You Know?
Aniline Dyed: Leather that has been through-dyed by immersion in a dyebath and has not received any coating of pigment finish.
Aniline: Stained Leather that has been stained by brushing, padding, or spraying and has not received any coating of pigmented finish.
Belly: The part of the hide covering the underside and the upper part of the legs of the animal.
Buffed leather: Leather from which the top surface of the grain has been removed by an abrasive or bladed cylinder or, less generally, by hand.
Calf: The skin of a young or immature bovine animal not exceeding a certain weight.
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: Leather tanned either solely with chromium salts or with chromium salts together with quite small amounts of some other tanning agent used merely to assist the chrome-tanning process, and not in sufficient amount to alter the essential chrome tanned character of the leather.
Combination tanned: Leather tanned with two or more tanning agents.
Corrected Grain: Leather from which the grain layer has been partially removed by buffing to a depth governed by the condition of the raw material and upon which a new surface has been built by various finishes. See buffed leather.
Cowhide: Leather made from unsplit cowhide or its grain split. In some countries (not Spain) the term is also loosely applied to similar leather from the hide of any bovine animal. The term is not to be applied to leather
Crocking: 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.
Embossed leather: Leather embossed or printed with a raised pattern either imitating or resembling the grain pattern of some animal, or being quite unrelated to a natural grain pattern.
Fat tanned: Hide or skin, which has been converted into leather by treatments, involving the incorporation of soft animal fats which undergo chemical changes in contact with the fiber, leading to fixation of fatty matter.
Finish: The final process or processes in the manufacture of dressed leather.
Fleshing: Scrapings removed from hides by the flesher.
Full-grain: Leather bearing the original grain surface as exposed by the removal of the epidermis and with none of the surface removed by buffing, snuffing, or splitting.
Grain: The pattern, characterized by the pores and peculiar to the animal concerned, visible on the outer surface of a hide or skin after the hair has been removed.
Hand antiqued: Also referred to as “hand rubbing”. The process where skilled craftsmen hand rub a contrasting color onto the surface of the leather to accentuate the natural grain or embossing.
Hand: Term that describes leather’s softness and feel.
Hide: The outer covering of a mature or fully grown animal of the larger kind.
Leather: A general term for hide or skin with its original fibrous structure more or less intact, tanned to be imputrescible. 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, but if the tanned hide or skin is disintegrated mechanically and/or chemically into fibrous particles, small pieces or powders and then, with or without the combination of a binding agent, is made into sheets or forms are not leather.
Liming: The process of removing hair from a rawhide through the use of chemicals.
Milling: Process in which tanned hides are tumbled in rotating drums using a combination of heat and a misting of water to soften the hand or enhance the grain.
Natural Grain: Leather whose grain has not been altered in any way, so the natural appearance of the grain is apparent.
Nubuck: Cattle hide leather, buffed on the grain side to give a velvety surface; white or colored.
Patina: A surface luster that develops on pure anilines and nubucks; grows more beautiful with the passing of time.
Pigment: Finished Leather to whose surface a finish containing fine pigment particles in suspension has been applied.
Printed Leather: Leather bearing a surface pattern produced usually by embossing, but sometimes by other methods, e.g. by silkscreen printing.
Protected Leather: Leather in which certain special chemicals have been incorporated to render it less liable to deteriorate through exposure to polluted atmospheres. The treatment is often applied to vegetable tanned upholstery and bookbinding leathers.
Pull-up: Refers to leather that derives color from dyes, waxes, and/or oils. When this leather is pulled during upholstering, the oils/waxes dissipate and become lighter in those areas.
Pure Aniline: Leather which receives its only color from dyes and exhibits natural markings and characteristics.
Raw Hide: A hide which has only been treated to preserve it prior to tanning.
Retanned: Leather which has been subjected to an additional tannage with similar or other tanning materials.
Sauvage/Kela: A two-tone effect which adds depth and character. Can be a tone-on-tone or contrasting effect.
Sammiering: In tanning, the process of pressing the water out of hides.
Semi-aniline: finished Leather which has been aniline dyed or stained, incorporating a small quantity of pigment, not so much as to conceal.
Shrunk (en) grain: Leather specially tanned so as to shrink the grain layer and having a grain surface of uneven folds and valleys.
Side: Half of a whole hide with offal (head, shoulder, and belly) attached, obtained by dividing it along the line of the backbone.
Split: The under portion of a hide or skin that has been split into two or more thickness. Splits may be finished and embossed to simulate a full top grain.
Suede Split: Leather made from the flesh split of hide or skin and finished with a velvet-like nap.
Suede: Velvet-like nap finish produced on leather with abrasive action.
Tanning: The processing of perishable raw hides and skins by the use of tanning materials into the permanent and imputrescible form of leather.
Top Finished: A leather which has been given a final coating of a finish to confer special properties such as gloss, level color, fastness to wet rubbing, waterproofness and so forth.
Top Grain: The top 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.
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(repellent leather): Leather resistant (repellent) to the penetration of water, usually chrome tanned, or combination tanned, originally heavily greased, but other water-resisting (repelling) agents may be used.
Wax(ed) (waxy) Leather: Upper Leather finished on the flesh side and dyed; vegetable tanned with a high content of hard grease, though not necessarily wax.
Leather bearing a wax finish.
Wet Blue Leather: Leather which after chrome tanning has not been further processed and is sold in the wet condition.