No Two Hides Are the Same: What to Expect When Ordering Custom Leather

No Two Hides Are the Same: What to Expect When Ordering Custom Leather

October 7, 2022

When ordering custom leather products, it is important to know a little bit about leather beforehand to ensure that you are getting a quality product. Learning about leather can help you have realistic custom leather expectations. This quick guide will help you better understand the different types of leather available and how these types can affect the finished product. Keep reading to learn more about leather differences and leather discrepancies.

Leather Basics: Cowhide

The entire cowhide cannot practically be used for leatherworking. The hide is actually cut down into two main integrated layers. These layers are known as the corium and the grain. These two layers are used to make different types of leather products.

Types of Leather by Grade

Leather is graded by how the leather is processed. Let’s look at each type individually.

Top grain – This is leather that has been corrected in some way. It has decreased durability and longevity. This is not often the most sought-after type.

Full grain – Full grain leather, although it may appear blemished at times, is actually more expensive and more sought after. Full grain leather is leather that is entire and has not been corrected. This type has the most durability and longevity.

Split leather – Split leather is created by the bottom part of the leather that was split away from the grain/corium. Although this part may go by many different names, for practical purposes we will just refer to it as split leather. Split leather is appealing because it can be cut down into even thinner layers and used for many purposes. It should be noted that these types of leather are not very durable or long-lasting.

Suede – Suede is actually a type of split leather. This type has been textured to have what is called a napped finish. Suede is very similar to another type of leather called nubuck. Nubuck, however, is actually a grain leather that has nap finish as well. Nubuck is stronger and longer-lasting than suede, though. Suede is often sought after because of its softness and usefulness for many different types of products.

Bonded leather – This is considered to be the lowest grade of leather. In fact, this isn’t really leather at all. Bonded leather is actually leather scraps combined with a filler and then stabilized with a polyurethane coating. Bonded leather is very cheap, but falls apart because it is made of many smaller pieces.

If you are shopping for leather items, be sure to look out for the term “bonded leather.” These types of products can be advertised as leather, but you will usually find the term “bonded leather” somewhere in small print. This type of product is sometimes also called blended leather.

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