Leather is a natural product and thus each hide differs from the next with regards markings, grain, texture and colour. Each type or range has its pros and cons and one should always try and understand the intended application in order to make the best choice.
This subtle process of differentiation is part of leather’s 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.
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 but can be seen and are accepted as a naturally occurring addition to the character and uniqueness of leather. Some hides even have brand marks which are used as a feature in some manufacturing, alternately they can be hidden in an obscure place on the finished product.
Good to know
- Leather is a naturally strong upholstery, it will exceed a 100 000 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.
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