4 Basic Types of Leather, An Overview Guide to Leather Qualities

4 Basic Leather Qualities An Overview Guide to Leather Grades

An Overview Guide to Leather Grades; Types of Leather.

Leather is a material loved by many for its flexibility and durability. It is made from tanning animal skins or hides and many different animals are used to make leather. Leather has four basic grains or qualities; those are full-grain leather, top-grain leather, genuine leather, and corrected-grain leather.

Full-Grain Leather Is the Best Quality

Full-grain leather is characterized by its luxurious, smooth surface and it has few, if any, flaws. It is the most popular type of leather. It has not been snuffed, sanded, or buffed to remove any natural marks or imperfections from its surface. Its fibers are stable and durable because the grain has not been removed. There is less moisture in the leather from any prolonged contact as the grain has a characteristic of breathing. This type of leather does not wear out easily. Instead, it develops a patina, which is a thin layer that protects the leather from damage from wearing or corroding; it also gives the leather an aesthetic look. It is used in making high-quality footwear and furniture.

It has two finished product types; Aniline and semi-aniline. Aniline leather is the most desirable finish in the manufacture of leather. It is exclusively dyed using soluble dyes without covering the top with insoluble pigment or topcoat paint. Semi-aniline has a thin protective coat, which protects it from staining and wearing out.

Top-Grain Leather Is the Most Common

Top-grain leather has the second-highest leather quality of the high-end category of leather products. It is more pliable and thinner as its layer is separated away. Its surface is sanded, and a finish coat is added to make it less breathable with a plastic feel and this makes it seem cooler. Also, it develops pinna that protects it from damage and corrosion making it last longer. It has better stain resistance and is less expensive than full-grain leather. Many people prefer buying this type of leather as it is durable and readily available.

4 Basic Leather Qualities

Genuine Leather Is Not a Statement about its Authenticity

Genuine leather is made from real lather. In a class of real leather products, genuine leather products are the lowest in quality. These products are made from the leftover of leather after the high-end products are made. The products manufactured from it do not look or feel as pleasing compared to those made from high-quality leather. Likewise, products made from genuine leather do not last as long before they wear out. However, most people can afford this type of leather product as they are widely available.

Corrected-Grain Leather Has Corrected Imperfections

Corrected-grain leather is also referred to as the lesser-known grain. It is a special type of leather, which is corrected and fixed by experienced leatherworkers to better its functionality and aesthetic qualities. Hides used in making it do not meet the required standards in making aniline and vegetable-tanned leather. An artificial grain has been embossed on the top and dressed-out using dyes and/or stains. Imperfections are usually sanded off and then corrected. Corrected-grain is used to make pigmented leather. This type of leather is usually readily available in the stores and is more affordable.

CP Slippers Luxe collection are made from a single piece of Napa leather, which is then handcrafted and sewn to perfection for your feet’s comfort. In our next instalment we will introduce our readers to the art of vegetable tanning and answer the oft-asked question, “Is it Vegan?

Check our new collection:

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  • Dr. Michael Fuchs

    I purchased 2 Stressless recliners, that I spent thousands on each. I did not pick the no.1 leather quality, as I live in Florida, and the company warned that human oil would damage the color in a year. So I chose the 2nd best, and for over 5 years it has remained perfect. Yes, the hand is not quite as luxurious as the finest, but there were several grades below my choice. I love these chairs, and they remain as beautiful as the day they were delivered. Why is the leather so much better than the items in fast turn around stores, like Rooms T G. It took an 8 week turnaround to make my chairs in Norway, and the “hand” of the leather is FAR superior.
    A friend of mine purchased a suite of RTG "leather " furniture. Within 2 years I noticed that the leather was stitched to fabric underneath the sown cushions. The stitching was separating. It was heartbreaking to explain what was (fairly) cheap, was cheap. Just as disposable fashion is filling our landfills, fine furniture makers are being driven out of business by deceiving companies, and customers who want products yesterday. A leather family room set, is only the leather you can see. There must be many grades, and quality of care that determines the end result of one’s product. I have beautiful leather luggage, yet my Buffalo briefcase will most likely live longer than I will. If you desire quality, you must do your homework. Who can you trust any more?

  • Metthew C. Kirk

    This article is so amazing. What about Cafe Racer Jackets?

  • Abby Lytle

    Thank God for an honest person! I love everything leather and all the misinformation is hugely confusing. If you can share more about leather furniture, I will be ever grateful. I spent $1,000 on a leather couch that is showing a much lighter color in areas of high use after just 5 years. When I replace it, I want leather that will last 15-20 years. How do I find that??

  • Lin

    Hey Mike, Thanks so much for your storytelling :) I learned sooooo much; you actually gave me a lot of insights as I’m new in the leather industry and wanting to deliver the highest quality of it to my clients. Blessings to you!

  • Prosenjit Biswas

    Please give me an idea about which leather is best for making leather handbags, laptop bags and office bags.

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