Terms to know:

Aniline Leather – A type of leather dyed exclusively with soluble dyes without covering the surface with a topcoat paint or pigment.  The resulting product retains the hide’s natural surface with the grain.  Referred to as pure aniline, aniline and naked leather.

Belly – The underside of the cow, some hides will show belly wrinkles which are authenticity of pure aniline leathers.

Bovine – An animal belonging to the cattle or ox family.

Brahma Hide – A type of cow that has a hump in the neck area of the hide which creates a small slit or hole.  Typically these areas are not used when cutting leather and have no impact on yield.

Breathability –  A characteristic of leather, due to the intact grain and pore structure leather will breathe.  This means leather adjusts to temperature and moisture.

Buffed Leather – Leather that has the grain removed to alter or correct the grain.

Chrome Tanned – Leather tanned with chromium salts resulting in soft hides.

Corrected Grain – Referring to the surface of the leather, which has been sanded, buffed and altered to form a uniform grain texture.

Distressed Leather – Leather that has been made to appear cracked, brushed, waxed, faded or wrinkled.

Drum Dye – The application of dye/color by immersion in a large drum and tumbled.  This process allows full penetration of the dye into the fiber of the hide.

Embossed Leather – Hides or skins finished with designs pressed into the surface by engraved plates or rollers.  Embossed designs may be an imitation of ostrich, crocodiles or floral patterns.

Fat Wrinkles – Wrinkles in the grain of the leather which are authenticity of pure aniline leathers.

Finish – Usually defines the surface application on leather regarding the color or protection added.  It refers to all processes to leather after it has been tanned.

Foil Leather – A decorative paper transfer process applied to the surface of a suede based leather.

Full Grain – Leather in which the original grain layer has not been altered.

Grain – Referring to the outside of the hide or skin consisting of cells, wrinkles and pores and other characteristics.

Hair on Hide – Leather that has been tanned and conditioned without removing the hair from the skin or hide.

Hand – A leather industry term used to describe the feel, softness or fullness of upholstery leather.

Hide – The pelt or skin of a large animal.

Kip – The hide from a grass-fed, immature bovine.

Leather – An animal hide or skin that has been preserved for use.

Nubuk – A finish produced by running the surface of leather on a carborundum or wheel to lightly separate the fibers in order to give the leather a nap.

Patina – A natural characteristic that develops on full grain or aniline leather through normal use over time.

Pigmented – Leather that has been sprayed with a pigmented, opaque finish.  Pigmented leathers provide consistency in color.

Protected Leather – Leather that has been dyed and pigmented to ensure color consistency and provide protection against wear.  Durable leather that is meant to last.

Pull Up Leather – When pulled tight this type of leather produces a burst of color.  Pull Up leathers receive an oil or wax application.

Sauvage – A marbled appearance created by blending two or more similar colors.

Side – Half a hide cut along the backbone.

Semi-Aniline Leather – An aniline leather that has a pigment base applied to give the leather an opaque color, then an aniline or pigment finish is applied by hand for a two toned antique surface.  In most cases a top coat is added for protection.

Split Leather – Leather made from the bottom split which has an imitation grain embossed into a heavily finished surface.

Suede – The underneath portion of hide or skin after splitting has occurred, a fibrous leather.

Top Grain – The grain split of a hide from which nothing has been removed except the hair.

Unfinished Leather – Usually defines an aniline dyed leather with no additional finish applied.

Upholstery Leather – A general term for leather used for furniture, aircraft, automobiles, handbags and other leathercraft.

Vegetable Tanning – A generic term to cover the process of making leather by the use of bark, woods and other parts of plants and trees.

Water Repellent Leather – Leather which has been treated with several chemicals which repel the absorption of water.