Hand and Hide LLC - Makers of Fine Leather Goods in Portland, OR

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4 Leather Terms Explained

July 12, 2016

I asked in our survey what you guys wanted to hear from us, and several people said our process and general leather info. So today I am going to give you a brief introduction to leather types and terms.

The term I hear the most out and about is 'genuine leather'. This really just means it came from an animal, and is not made of plastic. 'Genuine' really doesn't say anything about the quality of the leather or how it has been processed. Many products will also say 'top layer genuine leather' as well, which means the leather is likely very thin, really just a genuine leather frosting.

In our listings we use words that refer to different types of leather, leather that has been processed and finished in different ways. Here are a few of those words explained:

Grain- The outside of the hide or skin consisting of the pores, wrinkles and other characteristics which constitute the natural texture of the leather.

We use 'Full Grain' leather, which means the texture of the leather is intact, it has not been sanded down, or removed in anyway. Nor is it an embossed grain (a fake texture stamped onto a smoothed leather). As Tandy (one of our leather suppliers) says on their site, full grain leather  "is the most genuine of leathers, retaining all of the hide’s original texture and markings. The hide’s best, strongest and most durable layer."

 

Veg-Tanned- Tanning is the process of animal skins into leather. Veg tanning uses natural materials, instead of chemicals like chromium, and is much better for the environment. Veg tanning also produces a uniquely malleable yet firm leather. 

We use Veg-tanned leather exclusively for our device cases. We use it as much as possible for our other products as well.

Oil Tanned- Leather tanned with oils this produces a very soft, pliable leather.

We use some oil tanned leathers for our totes and bike bags.

If you want to learn more about leather and leather terms, check out this page and this page, which I used to put together this little intro.

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