• Fabric Ranges

  • Fabric Colours

  • Fabric Patterns

  • Fabric Composition

  • Fabric Usage

Leather – 101!

The basics

Leather is a natural product and thus each hide differs from the next with regards markings, grain, texture and colour.  Each finish or range has its pros and cons and one should always understand the intended application in order to make the best choice.

Subtle differentiation between hides is part of leather’s uniqueness and enduring appeal and is the result of factors such as the breed of the bovine, their age and sex, prevalent weather conditions, diet, and whether they are local or imported.  All the above factors combine to influence the manner in which the hides absorb the tanning chemicals and dyes, and this creates the resulting individual personalities of the hides.

Cattle also occasionally scratch and mark themselves on vegetation and fencing and they are susceptible to insect bites which can also leave permanent scars. These marks sit under the surface of the skin but can be seen in the more natural finishes and are accepted as an appealing addition to the character and uniqueness of some leathers.  Occasional hides even have brand marks on them which are used as a feature in some manufacturing.  Should these natural marks not be to your taste then a corrected grain leather, which hides natural markings, should be considered.

Good to know

  • Leather is a naturally strong upholstery, it will exceed a 200 000 rubs, but there are many different finishes thus each will wear differently depending on usage and other factors.
  • It is naturally fire retardant, but is still needs a special treatment for aviation use.
  • Although topcoats add a protective layer and a water resistance, most leathers do breath and liquids left on the leather will sink in. The more natural the finish the more easily it will absorb moisture.
  • Leather not cared for properly, will become more porous with age.
  • Leather can still fade. Try to avoid direct sunlight!
  • Domestic upholstery leather is not made with the same UV protection coating as car upholstery leathers, so don’t compare.
  • Raw materials, chemicals and finishes are constantly changing and this can cause variations in the finished product so please do always check current dye batches.

This article is intended as a guide only and is by no means comprehensive of all factors which influence the final look of individual hides.

See some great leather inspiration on our Pinterest page here.


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