June 22, 2020 3 min read
When it comes to leather couches and leather furniture, there is often a big misunderstanding as to what is “good quality”, “genuine leather” and what is “bad quality” or “fake leather”. This is due to the miscommunication and wrongful labelling of products by businesses. The quality of the genuine leather is predominantly determined by the condition of the grain/surface and the processing procedures which follow.
Leather is a general term that for many years has been widely used for the hides and skins that have been tanned. Leather is mostly from animals such as cows, sheep, goats and pigs, but more luxurious and exotic leather can be from animals such as crocodiles, snakes and deer. These more exotic leathers carry a much higher price tag than leather from cows due to the size and cutting usage of the skins.
Full grain leather is the highest quality grade of leather that money could possibly buy you. Full top grain leather is the natural hide with the hair removed. This hide was meant to protect the animal from natural elements and therefore is extremely durable and will last a long time. It is skilfully crafted from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grains and unique scars and blemishes that the animal gained over its lifetime. These unique markings are sometimes buffed out to create a more uniform and clean appearance but can also be left just as they are for a more unique and personal feel. Due to the high quality and the added level of difficulty that comes with working with the full grain leather, it is more expensive to buy. However, the high price tag that comes along with full grain leather is reflected in its high quality and the finish of the surface as well as the life span that comes along with it.
The thickness of cow hides can vary before tanning and in order to acquire a uniform finish, the leather is split horizontally to various thicknesses. A hide can be split up to nine times! Split leather is found on the opposite spectrum of quality, and the life span of split leather on areas subjected to stretching or movement, is not as good as top grain or full grain leather.
Split leather is found on the bottom part of the leather, after the leather has been split. Split leather is crafted from the fibrous part of the hide once the top grain has been separated from the raw hide. Split leather is often referred to as suede due to its rougher, "fuzzy" texture, and requires heavy pigmentation and plating to avoid having a rough, textured effect. Split leather is not of the best quality, and thus is mainly used for work gloves, shoes or handbags.
Some furniture retailers use split leather on furniture. Split leather on any movement areas should be avoided when crafting quality furniture as it will start to split, and fray after a while, and will make your furniture look cheap and become unsightly.
Split leather is often mistaken for being good quality leather because people attach the label “genuine leather” to the products. While the products may be made from real leather and not fake leather, it is not the highest quality of leather available, and thus people will find that their leather starts to split after a few years.
At Leather Gallery, we believe in using only the best raw materials that are sourced from renowned local and international specialist companies that manufacture and supply leather worldwide.
We pride ourselves in the high quality of the genuine full grain leather that we use to craft our premium leather furniture.