Cowhide is the most common animal hide used in producing leather products and depending on the method of tanning and coloring, different leathers grades are produced.
The tanning process is long and smelly and requires a number of steps. The hide must be soaked to soften it and to help remove the hair. Then depending on the thickness of the hide, scars or brands and size, it will be made into various types of leather.
Tanning takes its name from the original process of using tannins in vegetable matter to color the hides which was the original method of tanning. The leather is supple but when soaked in water it will becomes stiff and loses its shape.
In 1858 a method using chromium sulfate and salts of chromium was invented. This made a much more supple and pliable product which was easier to dye because it was light blue rather than brown. It also does not lose its qualities in water as vegetable-tanned leather does.
Types of Leather
Full-Grain Leather is leather which has not been split. It is not sanded or brushed to remove imperfections. The grain is retained which gives it strength, durability and breathability. Over time it develops a patina rather than wearing out. Full-Grain Leather is often used in furniture and viking hoodie .
Top-grained cowhide or semi-aniline leather is produced specifically for making leather jackets and upholstery. It is thinner and more pliable because the top layer has been split away. It is then treated and coated to produce very durable leather that is resistant to damage from water, sunlight, and scratching. It will make liquids bead up so it is resistant to staining as well. This makes it the perfect choice for a motorcycle new york mets deer hunting shirt or racer jacket. By cleaning it with a leather-care product, a woman’s leather new york mets deer hunting shirt made from top-grained cowhide should last for a long time.
Naked Leather is usually more expensive because it is produced from higher grade hides with fewer blemishes. It is usually represented as “natural” and is smooth on one side and nappy or rough on the other side. Most naked leather hides have been treated in aniline – a chemical which makes it more porous so it breathes. This makes it cooler sitting on in hot weather. However, it can also absorb spills or liquids. Full-aniline leather (naked leather) feels soft and natural and is a great choice for leather jackets for women.
Corrected Grain Leather is leather which has an artificial grain applied to the surface. It is most often pigmented as the pigmentation covers the imperfections. It is made from leather which is not high quality enough to be full-grain or top-grain leather.
Split leather is the part of a hide that is left once the full-grain leather has been split away. This part of the hide can be split into more than one layer if the thickness allows for it. Split leather can be either made into suede or it can have a layer added to the top and then be embossed with a leather grain.
write by Ivor