Leather

I have this sentimental feeling towards things that I have. It was hard for me to throw things away when I was younger. I would think there i value and memories in the things I own. It has walked down memory lane with me for awhile. There were a few weeks Products, a few months and sometimes years. Then when I became a teenager, I was exposed to leather products because. In my social circle, there were some who boast about the leather wallet they bought and how much they spend on it. In that young age, I’ve always thought genuine leather means very good leather and there is only 1 type of leather. Year 2014 was the year I discovered I was wrong. Took me awhile to discover that I needed more education than I thought. There isn’t 1 type of leather in this world there are 3 types of leather in this world. They are called Full-grain, half-grain and genuine leather. This new found knowledge launches me off to learn and understand more on these 3 types of leather. 

Leather is hold together with these things called fibres. Fibres are tissues that hold the structure together. Without fibres, the structure will just collapse. So having more fibres means the structure is stronger and durable. For most leather products in the market, it uses genuine leather for their products because it is cheaper than Full grain & Top grain. So then some of you may say we bought a leather that is full grain at a cheap price. Well from my experience, full grain leather is never cheap because that is the most valuable part of the leather. Full grain leather with quality tanning method, the leather will last you many years and some even decades. 

Below is an image of a close up view of a piece of leather where I will share more of the differences between these 3 types of leather.

 As we can see in this image flow, the top part has more tight fibres than the middle and bottom. That will be called full-grain. The fibres crisscross each other creating a strong bond of fibre layer. Hence this is the most valuable part of the leather.  The middle part that has a combination of top, middle and bottom fibres is called Top grain. The fibres on this part do crisscross each other but not as much as full grain layer. This part of the leather is considerably cheaper but yet i still cost a little more. I've yet to find a top grain leather. So if you do know, do drop a comment in the box for me. Would appreciate that a lot.  Whereas the bottom part with all the loose fibres is called genuine leather or some called it suede. They don't really crisscross each other as in the image we can see they look rather loose in their placement. This part is the cheapest in the leather. Due to its cost, many leather products uses this.   You must be wondering those leather products that has an imprint on them saying genuine leather are they suede?  "FYI, sometimes we can't trust what is written so we should develop a habit to ask the seller".  Yes they are and how tanneries work with suede to make them feel and look like leather is going through a process that combines epoxy and some heat that produces a smooth top feel "that's from what I've been reading & researching".   

As we can see in this image flow, the top part has more tight fibres than the middle and bottom. That will be called full-grain. The fibres crisscross each other creating a strong bond of fibre layer. Hence this is the most valuable part of the leather.

The middle part that has a combination of top, middle and bottom fibres is called Top grain. The fibres on this part do crisscross each other but not as much as full grain layer. This part of the leather is considerably cheaper but yet i still cost a little more. I've yet to find a top grain leather. So if you do know, do drop a comment in the box for me. Would appreciate that a lot.

Whereas the bottom part with all the loose fibres is called genuine leather or some called it suede. They don't really crisscross each other as in the image we can see they look rather loose in their placement. This part is the cheapest in the leather. Due to its cost, many leather products uses this. 

You must be wondering those leather products that has an imprint on them saying genuine leather are they suede? "FYI, sometimes we can't trust what is written so we should develop a habit to ask the seller". Yes they are and how tanneries work with suede to make them feel and look like leather is going through a process that combines epoxy and some heat that produces a smooth top feel "that's from what I've been reading & researching". 
 

On my next post, I will share more about different tanning methods, their advantages & disadvantages.


Food for thought
There are tanneries in France & Italy that raises their own cattle for leather and meat. They will feed them with top grains, fresh green grass, massage them and the place the cattle lived in as no bugs or flies. The cattle are treated like kings before they go into the slaughter room. But this is done so that the skin is of top quality. From my readings and research, there are 1 - 2 tanneries that does this method to the cattle, cows & calf. And of course they don't entertain small orders.