You may think of leather as something that is just that: leather. However, there's several flavors to this material, which may surprise you! We are going to go over four main types of leather you will find, which are used in everything from jackets to chairs. Without further ado, let's get right into them.
Full Grain & Top Grain Leather
Leather is considered top grain material if it is modified in any way. When the entire grain stays intact, it is full grain. Full grain leather may have certain blemishes, yet maintains a high price tag. Although Full Grain leather gets a lot of hype but Top grain leather is what is most widely used because it is a durable type of leather that keeps for a long time. Full grain and top grain leather are close enough to one another that they are considered in the same category of leather, yet top grain is more preferred. When there's grain visible, it's either full or top grain leather.
Aniline, Semi-Aniline, and Protected Leather
While grain leather can be split into either top or full grain, it can be broken down further into three categories: aniline, semi-aniline, and protected leather. Aniline leather is processed using soluble dyes to protect and extenuate the natural texture of the leather. Semi-aniline leather is treated with pigments or coatings, which can hide some of the unsightly blemishes, giving the leather a homogeneous look, as well as protecting it and making it a more resistant leather. Protected leather is sourced from the middle section of an animal hide. It will then get a colored spray top coating applied to it, which protects it. After that, natural-looking grain will be pressed into it.
When leather is initially separated from an animal hide, it is very thick especially in cowhide, which is why it becomes split into layers. For example suede is made from the underside of the split leather creating a soft plush finish. This is a type of leather is frequently found in products such as upholstery, furniture, work gloves, and shoes.
The last major type of leather is bonded leather. This is the lowest quality leather you will find. In fact, it is made of shredded leather parts and reconstituted using an artificial bonding agent, along with getting coated with embossed polyurethane. It is both the most inexpensive and the most inferior type of leather. Cheap furniture and accessories are bound to have this type of leather.
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