Popular leather types and why we love them
Leather comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms.
Do you know what leather is anyway?
Leather is basically the byproduct of tanning animal raw hide to make it more durable and pliable. Cowhide is the most common, but leathermakers all over use different types of mammals and reptiles.
Upholstery is a common use for leather, because even outside of leather lounges and seating, the seatbacks of cloth furniture are often leather too.
In furniture picking, decision making can simply become overwhelming as you have to consider material selection, style, “if it’s a fit or not”, and a host of other factors. While the process can be intimidating, choosing leather can narrow things down a great bit; however, there are several types of leather to consider.
Choosing the type of leather will boil down to a few things like usage or desire of the appearance, even budget.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular leather types available on the market today.
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather in most expert’s opinion is the finest of all the leather types. It is also the strongest and most durable due to its composition. Full grain leather is composed of vertical fibers that not only make it the most resilient. The fibres also prevent this type of leather from being punctured, cracked, or peeled.
These qualities make full grain also the most expensive, as the hides used undergo precious tanning and processing to make the fine leather. Full grain leather is difficult for manufacturers to buy and work with from a processing perspective which increases costs that they have to pass on to consumers.
Another unique quality about full grain is how the hide will feature markings that could potentially depict an animal’s life. You will sometimes see scars or bites or even wrinkles.
Choose full grain leather when you are looking for the leather to last a life time.
One of our other favourite leather types would be a nice top grain construction. Top grain is the second “top” layer, because of the removal of the outermost hide. The removal of this hide allows for a more workable, thinner leather thus allowing for less processing and cheaper manufacturing costs.
While other leathers feature imperfections and nicks from the animal’s life, top grain is smooth and sleek. The rough top layer is sanded away giving the material an even texture and uniform appearance.
This smooth layer comes with a price as removing the strong outer hide reduces the strength of the leather, making it easier to puncture and tear over the time.
Top grain is finished with a coat that will protect against stains of the like but this coat diminishes the breathability of the material.
Top grain leather, especially in seating furniture, is extremely popular due to its appearance and comfort.
Nubuck is a form of top grain as it has not been processed completely but has still been brushed so the leather fibers create a soft smooth velvety surface. Nubuck is similar to suede but much stronger and thicker, and even more expensive.
True to its name, nubuck originated from elk and has strong properties because it is made from the outermost layer, just sanded over. Because nubuck is made of the outermost layer, timilar to full grain, one can see the blemishes and imperfections of the hide.
It is quite common to stain and dye nubuck which makes it a popular furniture choice due to the range of colors you can have.