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Glossary of Leather Terms: 

ANILINE: Aniline dyed and aniline finished leathers, have no pigments, thus all of nature’s marks are fully visible.

BELT: These leathers a very firm and stiff.

BUFFING (corrected grain): Hides are often buffed with a large sanding machine to minimize the appearance of gross surface imperfections such as wrinkles or healed scratches in the finished product. This process makes leather more uniform, but also may reduce the natural grain and markings that make each hide unique and naturally beautiful.  We use the product name "BUFFED" in our descriptions.

CRUST: A stage of the leather after retanning and conditioning but before any finish applications.  May be called 'unfinished' or 'crust' at this point.

Custom Made Embossing Plates: Let us make your Custom Embossing Plate for Veg-Tan Leather!  Just send us your idea and we will do the rest.  They work great on moistened Veg-Tan tooling leather.  Use an arbor press, shop press, bench vise or any other clamping device you have.

LEATHER DIMENSIONS:  If you would like to know the basic shape of a whole hide, side or quarter skin please click here.

FULL FINISH: The coloring of a hide using a coating containing opaque pigments. This ensures uniformity of shade and resistance to fading.

FULLGRAIN: Natural grain surface, not corrected.

DESIGN: A finish operation where a design roll has been used with finish to create an antique look of the leathers surface.

NUBUCK: Is a leather buffed (corrected) and brushed to create a soft, velvety surface with a slight nappy effect. Unlike suede which is created from the flesh (inner) side of a hide. Nubuck is created using the grain side, giving it added strength.

OILY: A process where oils are applied to the leather.  A 'Pull-Up' may be created using oils.

OLD AGE: This is an upholstery product that has a look and feel of older leather.  Some may call it a distressed look.  Perfect for reupholstering antiques.

PRINTED: The process of embossing or plating that creates a texture on leather by impressing it with a pattern.

PULL-UP: When pulled tight or folded it produces a brilliant burst of color. Pull-Up's are full aniline leathers that have been oiled and/or waxed. When the leather is pulled or folded, the oil and/or wax separates causing the color to become brighter.  We use the term "PULL-UP" in our product descriptions.

QUARTER SKIN: Half of a side cut from the mid back to the belly.  Four quarters make a whole hide.

UPHOLSTERY: These are the whole hides (1 piece).  Mainly used in the furniture world.  We aslo cur these leathers into smaller pieces.  From our category list, you may drop down the list to find "Upholstery Sides", "Upholstery Quartered", "Upholstery Remnants" and more.

SEMI-ANILINE: A semi-aniline leather has been aniline dyed, then slightly pigmented.  Because pigment is solid, this type of leather helps to ensure color consistency.

SIDE(s): Half of a whole hide.  Cut down the back bone from neck to butt.

SPLITS: A by product from the hide being split to the desired thickness of which creates two parts, Topgrain/Fullgrain and the "Split".

SMOOTH: These are corrected leathers with a fully pigmented finish producing a very smooth and clean surface.

TEMPER: Defines the pliability/softness of the leather.

FIRM: Leather that has hard and bony characteristics.  Firm leather represents products requiring very little flexibility.  Belts, straps etc.....

REGULAR: Leather is slightly firm and having no bony qualities.  When worked, regular leathers display smooth, even folds.  Shoes, boots etc.....

MELLOW: This type of leather is very limber and pliant.  No snap when worked, tends to lack firmness.  Handbags, sneakers etc....

SOFT: Leather that is extremely flexible and pliant.  Garment, upholstery etc...
 
If there is a plus sign "+" after the temper term, it means it is a little more firm than the temper term itself.  For instance: "MELLOW+" means it is a little more firm than MELLOW but softer than REGULAR.  Like in between terms......

TUMBLED: The leather is tumbled in a large drum to produce a softer more pliable product.  Many times this operation can cause a pebble look in the surface of the leather.

WEIGHTS: Characterizes the thickness of the leather.  Click here for Weight Conversions.

WHOLE HIDE: For upholstery, the whole skin coverings of large animals.