Types of Leather

Types of Unfinished Leather

There are only 3 types of unfinished leather depending on what’s been done to the surface.

  1. Full Grain Leather:
    This is leather in its most natural form with its surface left untouched by sanding or buffing.
    • Full grain leather can be embossed or dyed without damaging the natural fibers.
    • Only 15% of all hides are suitable for use as full grain leather.
    • This type is expensive and is used only for the highest quality leather finishes.
    • Full grains vary based on different origin, thickness and tanning process.
  2. Corrected Grain Leather:
    The surface of the leather has been sanded to minimize natural imperfections
    • It can also be dyed and embossed with an artificial grain.
    • This type of leather is the most commonly used.
  3. Nubuck:
    Nubuck is brushed grain sueded leather. It has been lightly buffed or sanded to produce a very fine, soft leather with a textured, suede like appearance.

During the finishing process the leather is given its final surface treatment and look. Through a variety of finishing processes, the leather becomes:

  • matte or shiny
  • two-tone or uniform
  • smooth or grained , depending on the demands of the application

Types of Finished Leather

Aniline Finished: The most natural of finishes, colored mainly through the dying process, and light if any, extra finish is applied. This leather has a soft natural and luxurious feel. It is recommended for formal, light soiling areas only.

Antiqued: Leather that is finished with one color over another (usually darker over lighter) so as to create rich highlights and an artificial aged appearance.
Semi-Aniline: Aniline leather to which a matching pigment layer is added to even out the color and add protection.

Pigmented Leather: Leather that has been spray or roller coated with a flat surface color on top of or instead of the usual dye finish. Leather is usually pigmented to add durability and hide natural blemishes. This type of leather is uniform in appearance and very resistance to wear. Recommended for high wear areas.

Embossed Leather: Leather that has been "stamped" with a pattern applied by extreme pressure in a press to give a unique design or imitation of full grain characteristics. Sometimes leathers are embossed to make them appear to be another leather, such as embossing an alligator pattern into cowhide.

Hand Antiqued: Also known as "hand rubbing". The process of skilled craftsmen hand rubbing a contrasting color onto the surface of the leather to accentuate the natural grain and embossing.

Oil or Wax Finish: Leather whose surface has been applied with oil or wax to create a soft pliable finish