featured

Bonded Leather

The Best Guide on Bonded Leather

The wide variety in the classification of leather can easily put one’s mind to unrest. Bonded leather is one of the vital segments of this story.

People purchase clothing, footwear, book cover, cases and cover for electronics, furniture and all kinds of products, made of it. So it enjoys substantial popularity in the real world despite its fundamental low quality.

Essentially it costs less and looks almost the same as top grade genuine leather. Therefore shoppers are not shy of going for it. Now let’s dive deep into the definition and other relevant aspects of it.

What is Bonded Leather:

In short, scraps and remnants of leather are blended into a pulp. This is then pasted on a backer, usually a fiber cloth or a paper backing.

They coat the whole thing with polyurethane and emboss it with a leather-like texture or grain to give it a genuine-leather appearance.

The pulp makes up for about 10-20% of the final product and in turn, it is called blended leather.

None can say bonded leather is completely artificial as it contains some elements of leather. But those components are in fact scraps and it simply indicates their belonging to the inferior quality.

A hide is cut into many portions to fit specific product designs in mind. After they cut off portions of hide for the best full grain goods, there arise some leftovers in bits and pieces.

Moreover, the natural sizes of all hides never match. This factor again contributes to some additional wastes. These unused pieces and small cutoffs of the hide are carefully collected and then sent to a specialized factory. They grind those scraps to a specific type of mulch. When these little pieces are glued back together using polyurethane, the final outcome of this process is bonded leather.

In terms of quality, it closely resembles its low end bi-cast counterpart. In no way, one can write off bonded leather as rubbish because of its credible smell as well as appearance.

As a result, manufacturers once in a while put genuine leather labels on it. An average person has no capability in determining its true state. The distinction goes too subtle for most of us to handle. We need to keep digging in order to resolve this issue as we at least know bonded leather is not on par with real leather.

What are some other names of Bonded leather?

Bonded leather goes with several other legal as well as popular names.

  • Genuine leather
  • Real leather
  • LeatherSoft
  • Reconstituted leather
  • Blended leather
  • Vero cuoio
  • Composite leather

How to identify bonded leather?

Sample of Bonded leather

You, as a buyer, are in a real dilemma while buying leather goods because of its variation in quality, materials and composition. Well, Leatherfact set a guideline to identify bonded leather at ease. Let’s check out the methods.

Legal guidance:

You already know that bonded leather makes up for about 10-20% of the materials. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the USA, has outlined a Leather Guide that guides the overall marketing strategy of bonded leather products. Normally, the manufacturer or marketer should adequately obviate the percentage of leather and non leather materials in the product, much clear for the consumer to see it and understand.

Label marker:

Apart from artificial leather, manufacturers use ‘genuine leather’ labels on all merchandise regardless of its percentage. Now, you can simply take a look at the label and decide for yourself whether it is real leather or not. None can deceive you into believing it to be durable and attractive top grain.

Price range:

Another signifier is the price range as reconstituted leather never dents your wallet. For most of the families, genuine leather product expenses starve out the other near future essentials. Full grain leather goods trail just the house and the car right from the behind in terms of cost.

Thickness:

You can tell the difference by sensing its thickness as well. Bonded leather goes thinner than their real counterparts.

Artificiality:

Bonded leather also feels kind of synthetic in nature and you can obviously sense it from the smooth surface with consistent texture all along. It feels thin and lacks softness. This duplicity takes it closer to low cost faux leather.

Coarse look & touch:

Real leather is never smooth in either look or to the touch as it contains imperfections and blemishes, apart from its irregular surface. If you graze your fingers across the surface, genuine leather does not feel easy and even. The surface stretches and wrinkles in case of pressing fingers on it.

Smell:

The distinct leathery smell is all but absent in bonded leather and you can say it from a mile away. It brings you none of the natural, organic skin scent as the smell is beyond artificial production.

Is bonded leather durable?

Normally, we may expect 2-3 years of non problematic use of bonded leather before it starts peeling, flaking and cracking. In comparison to genuine leather, this lifespan is frustratingly short.

However, we should compare its durability against the price and then we might say that it is rather satisfactory.

Remember you have not spent a fortune for it. So the loss is not particularly a regrettable one after a few years. Bonded leather is not a solid structure and is an endless mesh of scraps from leather, polyurethane, paper or cloth and so on.

Bodily oils, dirt and other external elements can exert adverse effects on its longevity. The strong initial formation or bondage of those materials fall apart within a few years. The plastic deteriorates, the surface starts wearing and cracks appear all over the place.

With a proper care, top quality real leather can last even several decades.

Water resistant:

Contrarily, bonded leather is extremely tolerant to moisture and spills like none of its counterparts. Daily use and abrasions can have little impact upon its durability as well. However once cracks get hold of it, the end is very near with abrupt collapses.

Peeling and flaking:

Lack of natural leather features result in inflexibility. Therefore, peeling and flaking are true worries for bonded leather furniture and products.

Over time, the materials come off of paper backing and the whole thing gets disjointed. Moreover, pet and children’s frequency can have a toll on its life too.

What is the use of bonded leather?

Bonded leather serves all kinds of purposes. We have listed them down.

Furniture upholstery:

Sofas, sectionals, chairs, stools, couches, headboards, ottomans, lounge chairs, and so on. Clothing & footwear: Surfaces and lining of clothes, jackets, pants, skirts, and hats. Shoes, boots, sandals, etc.

Bag:

Briefcases, bags, some handbags, backpacks, protective cases, makeup bags, electronic device protectors, and portfolios.

Miscellaneou:

Book cover, bookbinding, belt, wallet, strap, keychain, eyeglass case, sunglass case, jewelry box, key case, credit card case, etc.

What are the advantages of bonded leather?

We cannot write off bonded leather altogether because of its fundamental low quality. Look, everyone is not looking for class and longevity all the time. They have different reasons for buying a product. We can effectively trace out several advantages of the best leathersoft goods. Let’s discuss them here.

Cheap:

Comparatively low priced bonded leather merchandise is a sound option for many as less expenses are always welcome in most of the families.

Ultimately stylish:

It offers an unimaginably wide array of colors and styles which are most of the time absent in case of genuine leather products.

Great appearance:

It introduces superb smoothness, highly consistent texture and is devoid of imperfections that many people actually prefer.

Real leather smell:

Well, bonded leather gets you genuine smell of leather unlike fake leather.

Animal friendly:

Animal lovers may find it to be a lesser evil choice as bonded leather is not the reason why the animal was killed in the first place.

What are the disadvantages of bonded leather?

We cannot ignore the downsides of bonded leather as well. Let’s focus on them now.

Inflexible:

Rigid build up of bonded leather product is responsible for causing some unease during use.

Short lifespan:

It lasts little over a few years unless you are not extremely careful about its care and maintenance. Scratches, peels and flakes literally ruin its durability.

Beyond repair:

Once it starts going down the drain, you cannot stop it from deteriorating even with utmost efforts. Fixing tears and scratches is almost impossible.

Fading:

The color degenerates pretty quickly if exposed to the sunlight.

Difficult cleaning:

Tough luck with the cleaning solutions as they also contain chemicals with abrasive properties that adversely affect the longevity of bonded leather.

Not eco-friendly:

They apply chemicals to bind the whole thing together and over time, the chemical loosens. Throwing it away into the garbage will impact the environment negatively.

How to care for bonded leather?

Despite its temporary nature of elegant service, bonded leather can brighten up your place well. You just need a few tricks up your sleeve.

We are going to discuss the care and maintenance procedures which will positively impact its durability.

Cleaning bonded leather:

Use a wet microfiber cloth to wipe the surface on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. In case of sticky dirt and grime, apply a soft bristle brush. Neither of these cleaning tools should be pressed too hard.

Take a gentle cleaner or a mild non alkaline, non detergent soap to wipe out resilient stains and dirt. Hard stains need cleaners specially developed for bonded leather.

Harsh chemicals bring hazards to its sustainability. You might occasionally vacuum it or use a crevice tool to handle the debris hiding inside the seams. In all of these instances, dry out the leather properly before storing.

Scratch:

Scratches need filling with a liquid of interchangeable color. Then level it up by heat pressing and applying a grain pattern.

Tear:

Fixing a tear goes way more difficult than a scratch. It requires careful use of fabric, flexible glue and a liquid of identical color.

Conditioning:

Simply massage but steer clear of rubbing a tablespoon of leather conditioner. Pay close attention to the zones that undergo the most wear, e.g. handles, straps, seats and arms. Mop away excess conditioner using a dry cloth.

Apply Conditioner on bonded leather at least twice a year. The protective surface coating makes conditioners pretty much useless as the leather remains hidden under the exterior finish.

Simple cleaning will keep it shiny and bright looking all the way. But a fitting leather conditioner is always welcome to protect and preserve the surface better.

Warranty:

Keep the warranty card close at hand as it might be necessary anytime. A futuristic leather manufacturer never shies away from dealing with factory defects or weaknesses as well as serious wear and tear.

Miscellaneous:

Try not to allow kids and pets in the vicinity of bonded leather furniture and accessories. Maintain the safest distance from heating vents and fireplaces as well. The heat dries out the leather and precipitates peeling. Spills are immediately followed with stains. So you must readily be on your toes to wipe out the water.

Store:

Cool and dry places are ideal for bonded leather. So you may set up the furniture away from the window which is a source of occasional direct sun. Sunlight can damage the protective coating and eventually, fade it. Besides, too much moisture may dent the longevity of accessories and clothing.

Final Touch:

Bonded leather puts forward some unique privileges under strained budgetary conditions.

It facilitates an almost similar look and smell of real leather at slashed down prices. With a proper set of care and maintenance program, you can surely extend its durability despite its essential shorter lifespan.

In case of bonded leather goods, if someone knows what he is purchasing, the deal could be a source of joy for years to come. Take a closer look at the label describing the percentage of leather in it, check out the warranty offers and jump on-board the world of bonded leather using your knowledge. You will never regret it if you follow through the expert advice.

Bi-Cast Leather

Exposing Bi-cast Leather Issues: A Comprehensive Guide

In short, bi-cast leather is neither fully genuine nor completely fake. It strictly maintains a fine line between these two distinct categories by taking things from both sides.

The embossing process asserts a leather-like grainy appearance on it and takes it to the brotherhood of cheaper faux leather alternatives. You can certainly sense a stiffer surface in comparison to top grain leather surfaces, marked with a consistent texture all along.

The finished goods apparently do not show any leather components whatsoever. A bunch of industries such as furniture, footwear, etc heavily relies on it.

So let’s check out what bi-cast leather is, its identification methods and care issues in this article.

What is bi-cast leather?

Basically, bi-cast leather contains two layers of components, namely backing and topping. A rawhide is basically split into two layers which are grain side and flesh side leathers.

While the uppermost layer or top grain is the priciest and enjoys the biggest demand, the lower layers could not capture the popular imagination as much.

The lower level or flesh side of split leather functions as the backing of bi-cast and its surface gets coated with polyurethane (PU) or low density polyethylene (LDPE). This coated surface is then embossed to lay down a grainy look that gives it a real-leather feel from afar. Without the coating, this layer of leather actually means little in terms of practical usefulness.

Initially, the footwear industry tapped into the benefits of bi-cast leather which was later reimagined by the furniture industry. Now, we see all kinds of products made of it.

What are the other names of bi-cast leather?

As it contains neither 100% natural leather nor completely artificial components, there are a number of other names indicating bi-cast leather.

Knowing these names clearly gets you ahead in differentiating genuine leather from bi-cast leather.

  • Bycast leather
  • Split leather
  • PU leather
  • Laminated leather
  • Reconstituted leather
  • Genuine leather

What is the quality of bi-cast leather?

Bi-cast leather introduces features of both natural and artificial components and sides closer to the bonded leather quality.

Basically, you get real leather inside a layer of polyurethane sheathing. So we should not expect thorough durability and patina from it. It is not breathable either, contrary to natural leather.

You will obviously find it lacking in strength over a period of time. Daily wear and tear pretty quickly leads to cracks and splits across its surface that could be genuine concern for all of us.

“If we pit genuine leather against bi-cast, we get a clear picture of the whole scenario.”

Whereas real leather lasts for several decades, bi-cast products may sustain for only a few years. In terms of quality, one must not blindly bet on it.

But many people opt for it essentially because of its slashed down prices, an attractive deal that runs in conjunction with the compromised quality.

How to identify bi-cast leather?

Looks can be deceiving and you know that. Well, nothing could reach as close to this maxim as bi-cast leather in this respect.

Anyone might fall for its trickery, considering its close resemblance to budget friendly genuine leather. We are divulging some of the top leather industry secrets for you to differentiate them from one another..

Price:

Real leather never goes cheap no matter what. If the price is too enticing to be true, perhaps it is. Take a note on price differences in the same kind of products and a significant variation should ring a bell in your mind. Enquire deep into this issue and your seller would probably respond to it truthfully by mentioning a chasm in leather quality in them.

Label check: For all kinds of artificial leather items, mentioning the percentage of real leather is mandatory. You can check out the label for this vital piece of information.

Suppleness:

Genuine leather introduces extreme suppleness all along. Bundle it in your grip and let go. It will immediately retrieve its original position as well as appearance. For even a second, you cannot restrict it to a certain formation, leaving room for free movement.

Outlook:

The texture of bi-cast leather takes on an eye catching and shiny plastic look. Moreover, it is, in no way, as thick as genuine leather. Additionally, the grainy texture is evenly distributed across its outer surface with a noticeably consistent spatial distance.

Fire test:

Of course, lighting a fire is the easiest way to demarcate them. Bi-cast leather instantly catches on fire and brings forth a smothering plastic smell. Contrarily, genuine leather produces a distinctly repulsive odor.

Patina and durability:

Bi-cast leather never develops patina and lasts far less than real leather products.

Cracks:

Splits and cracks are normal outcomes of non-resilient leather grades. Over time, bi-cast leather shows these signs of weaknesses unlike its genuine counterpart.

What is bi-cast leather controversy?

The names of bi-cast leather very often puts a rookie customer off guard. One may legally use a ‘genuine leather’ label if the finished product contains elements of real leather.

In this context, bi-cast leather possesses all the rights to be called genuine leather. Many crooked leather manufacturers and sellers utilize this window of opportunity towards a total misrepresentation of the intended meaning.

However, knowing the superior full grain items  superior full grain items can literally extricate you from all deceptions.

The customer understands the gravity of his mistakes, once he starts using the product. The arbitrary quality cannot hide under the rug forever.

As a result, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the USA, has provided a Leather Guide that outlines the marketing strategy of leather products.

Under this guidance, the manufacturer or marketer should adequately clarify the percentage of leather and non leather materials in the product on the label, much clearer for the consumer to see and understand it.

Bi-cast leather products:

Bi-cast leather contributes to the manufacturing of furniture such as counter stools, ottomans, couches, sofas and settees.

A number of accessories also come from it including handbags, men’s bags, belts, wallets, unisex toiletry bags, ashtray covers, camera case, phone casing, and glossy jackets.

In the footwear industry, they manufacture shoes, boots, sandals, moccasins, etc. Bookbinding, book covers, leather carving are some other utilities. Besides, cell phone holsters, gun holsters are a few things to consider. 

What are the advantages of bi-cast leather?

There are several powerful conveniences fueling the demand of bi-cast leather. They are as follows.

  • Price: Obviously, cutting down costs has always been a priority for customers and bi-cast leather offers just that privilege. Easy manufacturing process together with lower grade ingredients leads to a slashed down price.
  • Water resistant: Water intrusion is a genuine concern for real leather materials. Contrarily, bi-cast leather actively guards against it, thanks to its artificial chemical layer on the surface.
  • Stylistic variations: It allows grand diversity in both colors and styles which is quite difficult to copy on a genuine leather product.
  • Consistent appearance: The surface texture gives a consistent look and is appreciated in office settings and public places.
  • Simpler maintenance: Once in a while swipes with a cloth is plenty good for its upkeep.

What are the disadvantages of bi-cast leather?

We have to take the darker sides of bi-cast leather into account as well. Please, bear with us for a few more minutes.

  • Low quality: Compromised standard of leather grade and chemical components do not give it longevity as it degrades rather quickly. Cracks and splits damage it very shortly. Fake leather term is often imposed upon bi-cast leather too.
  • Poor look: The appearance of bi-cast leather erodes pretty rapidly as it does not develop patina. Therefore, the dull outlook pains you within a few years.
  • Smell: Bi-cast leather produces chemical smells which have proved to be repugnant to many clients.
  • Fixing difficulties: Repairing bi-cast leather poses a true challenge because of its deep scars and unnatural modes of tears. It easily gives in to pressures. So kids and pets are really harmful for its durability.

How to care for bi-cast leather?

Bi-cast leather maintenance is more about retaining the sheen and finish so that it gives a fresh and new vibe. We have laid down a clear roadmap for you in this regard.

Cleaner: Frequent dirt, oils and skin contact can tone down its vitality. So you may use a cleaner that is not based on waxes and oils and is specifically intended for bi-cast leather. Stay away from normal leather care products.

Cleaning cloth: For cleaning, a modestly damp lint free cloth performs the best for it. Otherwise, the leather might show cracks and stickiness.

Scratch treatment: Treating abrasions and scratches goes way more difficult and is most of the time, out of question. Hair dryer heating can remove the simpler ones. However, extra heat could damage the coating, literally anytime. But a cautious approach may bear unbelievably satisfying outcomes.

Bi-cast protector: Using a bi-cast protector is a simple hack that prevents stickiness.

Apply all tricks on hidden areas: Whatever fixation, technique or product you apply, do it in a less noticeable zone. So you can avoid doing it altogether, in case of things going out of control .

Conclusion:

Bi-cast leather sells with several names and appearance. Therefore we have emphasized on identifying it. In this writeup, we have also disclosed the pros and cons associated with it.

Finally, our experts delivered a list of to-dos for you in order to ensure its longevity. You see, many products come off bi-cast leather and the market is inundated with them. If you can make an informed decision, you won’t lose the game.

There are several reasons for a person to buy a bi-cast leather item as everyone is not looking for utmost durability and premium grade all the time. You may have a reasonable ground for purchasing a bi-cast leather product.

We have got you covered on all these aspects so that you ultimately enjoy the upper hand against the seller. Despite lacking in longevity, flexibility and heavier use, it is popular because of low price, consistent texture and shiny outlook.

However, with a little bit of care, you can significantly increase its lifetime.

Genuine Leather

Navigate the World of Genuine Leather Like a Pro

You should not jump on top of the cloud seeing or hearing about genuine leather goods. A leather buyer inevitably identifies marks as ‘genuine leather’, ‘top grain leather’ or ‘full grain leather’ on the underside of the products. It denotes leather standard but is not exclusively restricted to what one might have imagined solely from the words.

The store or shop might present some awesome product choices such as briefcases, belts or shoes as you are strolling past them dreaming. Should you jump on to the first one that says genuine leather on it? We are going to divulge all the issues attached to it right here. Bear with us because we are going deep into what genuine leather is.

What is genuine leather?

Genuine leather, in short, refers to a product that contains some leather materials in it.

But the name or title is not, in any way, equivalent to authentic quality and fullness of quantity at all. This grade simply means the existence of some authentic yet inferior quality animal oriented leather in the item.

However, the quantity of leather is specified on the label and the percentage could be either full or partial in reality.

Consequently, many experts point out that the finest bicast, split and bonded leather products can technically be called genuine leather as well because of their striking similarity in application or usefulness.

As the connotation and the denotation go quite the opposite directions, a newbie may experience a heartwarming feeling, seeing ‘genuine leather’ inscribed on the goods.

But in terms of look and durability, it cannot compete with full grain or top grain leather. Yes, genuine leather is real leather, okay, mostly.

But rest assured about their belonging to the lowest category of leather. To speak frankly, it scores poorly against almost all of its counterparts. 

Where does genuine leather come from?

Regardless of its source animal, genuine leather comes from leftover hides.

Usually, the most useful section of the hide goes for the costliest and premium products.

Similar to full grain counterpart, genuine leather is also collected from cattle, buffalo, calves, lambs, pigs, goats, sheep and some other wild animals such as zebras, bisons, alligators, elephants, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, ostriches and kangaroos.

Especially, cowhide, sheepskin and deerskin offer greater strength with a softer as well as lighter touch. However, cowhide is the most common among all because of its essential availability as well as thickness.

How is genuine leather produced?

Genuine leather lies in between top grain and suede leather. In many instances, genuine leather is, in fact, split leather. The exterior segment or top grain is the most expensive, thanks to its fibrous character.

Contrarily, the lower section or suede is used for comparatively cheaper products.

Stripping off those two other layers, you get genuine leather from the middle part. It is more indicative of the position of the hide than quality.

As a result of this splitting nature of production, genuine leather may also be termed as split leather. So the thickness of the skin matters a lot.

Manufacturers usually apply an artificial layer to the surface of split leather and emboss it with a leather grain which is then called bicast leather. Split leather is also used to create suede.

Should genuine leather be expensive?

Let it sink in, real leather always costs big bucks no matter what. Genuine leather goods will certainly dent your wallet’s health as it is real leather. The expenses depend on several issues which are laid out here in detail.

  • Leather grade: The thing is that you do not need to spend as much for them as for a top grain product. But obviously you must pay more than that of affordable faux leather or semi leather items.
  • Exotic hide: Then we should consider the animal hide we are sourcing the leather from. An exotic animal such as ostrich essentially costs big bucks regardless of its being genuine leather. On the other hand, goat and buffalo hide could usually cost less.
  • Dyeing: fully dyed products naturally demand big prices than that of semi dyed items. White colored leather goods also command an eye rolling price. Machine spraying goes way cheaper compared to manual dyeing.
  • Tanning: Vegetable tanning costs both more money as well as time than chrome tanning because of its natural and methodical process. Vegetable tan relies on green method and is totally safe for skin and the environment. 
  • Handmade: Leather products produced en masse in machines go cheaper. On the opposite, handcrafted goods ask for good prices. Think about a craftsman gaining years of experience in leathercraft and putting all his knowledge into the production of an item for days or even weeks.
  • Geographical location of production: Normally, a leather product may be sold cheaper if it is manufactured in a labor intensive country in comparison to an industrially advanced nation.

So we can see that genuine leather does not automatically mean watered down prices. Rather, it depends on a number of inalienable factors related to its production.

Is genuine leather waterproof?

Real leather is barely waterproof because of its incredibly porous features. So never pin your hope too much on it unless the manufacturing process brings in a lot of artificial components into the mix. Its permeable nature does not allow complete waterproofness. But there are certain waterproofing methods you can apply in this regard.

Does genuine leather last long?

Genuine leather lasts at least for five years and long enough for you to make a good use of your money. But one should not raise too much hope about it. Depending on your care along with daily wear and tear, it may even go for 10-20 years. However, this is rather a rare scenario for just anyone. In general, you may expect it to serve you for five years in the best shape. 

How to identify genuine leather?

There are several marks to identify genuine leather products. Let’s check them out.

  • Genuine leather has one of a kind pattern which is not uniform at all. Fake leather introduces same sized small spots all over the exterior.
  • Rough underside of leather always indicates its authenticity.
  • Real leather is heavier than its fake counterpart.
  • You can certainly distinguish between real leather smell from artificial chemical smells.
  • Real leather absorbs water and therefore changes color into dark shades. Diversely, artificial leather shows no sign of color distortion even if it is plunged into water.

Genuine leather products:

There are a bunch of leather products coming from genuine leather including coats, jackets, handbags and gloves. Its softness grows as the years roll by. Besides, we may mention backpacks, belts, wallets, camera gear, watchbands, notebooks, footwear and sundry items.

How to take care of genuine leather?

Our experts have laid out a few tricks and techniques to keep at your disposal on leather care. You can overcome most of the issues with these leather hacks.

  • Vacuum and dust occasionally with a clean and dry cloth. If leather is excessively dirty, you may wipe it using a soft, damp cloth with a lather of any mild soap plus lukewarm water. Never opt for spot clean leather but clean the entire surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and dry with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Wipe extra liquid instantly with a clean cloth or sponge. Let the leather air dry.
  • Apply a mild hand soap with a clean and wet sponge. Rinse well and let air dry.
  • In case of butter, oil, or grease incident, wipe the leather with a clean, dry cloth and let the remainder of the oil dissipate into the leather. Do not apply water or try to wash a grease spot.
  • There are a number of inhibitions as well in this respect. Do not use cleaning solvents, saddle soap, furniture polishes, varnishes, oils, abrasive cleaners, detergents, or ammonia on leather. They might permanently ruin the finish, causing a sticky or cracked surface.

Conclusion:

Going through this writeup, you should have noticed that genuine leather is a tricky term with an obscure meaning playing underneath.

You have got a clear notion on its production method as well as the components of genuine leather.

A lot of leather products come from this grade despite its glaring deficiency in qualitative terms such as durability, quantity and appearance. You are now fully equipped with a bunch of highly effective techniques regarding how to uncover the leather originality of your choicest product.

Technically, all leather can be termed as genuine if it contains a little of real leather.

So, an alarm should ring inside your head whenever you are confronted with this term. Always remember that the first-rated top grain or full grain leather manufacturer or seller never uses ‘genuine leather’ on the goods because of its essentially compromised standard.

They carefully steer clear of it and you should be no exception to those experts as well. You may still purchase a genuine leather item but keep your guard up while you are doing so.

We can confidently say that you are not to be toyed around in the leather stores anymore.

Full Grain Leather

A Complete Guide on Full-Grain Leather

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather promises the best quality as well as exceptionality as one could imagine. Leather experts say that no two full grain leather products carry the same signature markings.

They grow their own unique characters which in turn, earn ultimate appreciation from the admirers. 

What is full grain leather?

Full grain leather comes from the top layer of the hide that lies right beneath the hair. The  grain pattern goes super tight at this segment of the hide and hence, the title ‘full grain’ comes into effect.

This compactness naturally averts any damage because of moisture. This is, in fact, the only real or genuine leather but the term is barely applied due to its essential flawed connotations.

Full grain leather does not undergo sanding, snuffing or buffing which causes alterations to the hide. It holds on to the grain layer together with the original texture and surface which over time, develops patina.

In fact, very little alteration takes place in its processing except for pulling out the hair. It involves no grain print on the natural surface of the hide. Unlike low cost artificial leather, full grain pledges extra strength and endurance as the top part remains untouched prior to laying out the surface coating.

Undoubtedly, this is the strongest and most durable segment of the hide as it is meant to guard against all kinds of exterior forces including insect bites, cuts, crashes and scratches.

However, these ostensible natural spots or blemishes are often considered as marks of honor as it denotes the premium class of the most pricey leather. This is why an individual full grain furniture or footwear takes on an exclusive appearance that resembles no other leather products.

Full grain leather must be top grade as it does not cover up the imperfections.

One must remember that only the highest quality rawhide can finally be processed into the full grain leather.

What is full grain leather used for?

Full grain leather is the tightest and mightiest of all grades and naturally resists moisture intrusion the best. Because of durability, it is used for a wide variety of sophisticated products. Most notably, full grain leather contributes to the making of high-end furniture and bags.

Manufacturers also save it for fashioning exclusive footwear items. Besides, wallets, dress belts, briefcases, weapon holsters and utility belts are some other leather merchandise in this segment. People opt for full grain due to its essential heavy duty and long lasting properties.

How do you protect full grain leather?

Light touch and mild cleaning products show the magic in full. If you are not gentle in its handling, it will warp, fade or peel in ugly manner. Lets’ jump into the list of dos and don’ts right now.

What you should do:

  • Dust with a dry or a damp cloth such as cotton towel and sponge to drive out grime and dirt buildups.
  • You may also use a mild hand soap and warm water solution to clean it up.
  • In case the leather runs dry, you can opt for a polish with a little amount of extra virgin olive oil. Judicious use of perfect leather cream and conditioners can maintain its essential suppleness and waterproof properties.
  • If it soaks in water, gently rub with a dry cotton cloth. Then place it in a breezy setting.

What you should not do:

  • Do not use harsh chemicals as they may damage it beyond repairment. The color, strength and texture may experience irrecoverable changes. No detergent, cleaning sprays should make it anywhere near leather objects.
  • Never go hard while polishing or rubbing its surface. It does more harm than good to its durability and look.
  • Heat and water are irreversible enemies of leather. So do not take it to the swimming pool or beach and also never abandon it in the parked car in the sun as you are heading to somewhere else.
  • Water spills lead to smudges or stains if you let it sit for a while. So take immediate action by wiping it out. Besides, leather cream can take care of scratches as you use a soft cloth to apply it on the marks until it vanishes.

What is patina on full grain leather?

Full grain leather lovers desperately crave for patina. This is the individual markings and features that curve out on the surface of the product. Bodily oil, moisture, external temperature and several other factors help develop it. Exposure to these outer elements gradually lends an elegant personality to the leather product.

Patina obviously certifies the finest character of the leather with signature marks of natural ageing. It brings in a glossy richness with freckled character that is subject to close inspection. Daily wear and tear leads to its formation. If you have an old leather bag or a pair of gloves, you may want to check it out right now.

It always tells an exclusive story that matches no other. The weathered look of leather is highly regarded and considered as a treasure. People will naturally notice its fullness of beauty and uncommonness. Patina is the legacy of ageing and declining in age does not necessarily cast the shadow of death on the top class full grain products. No weaknesses or or worsening conditions take hold of leather in case it develops patina very well.

We should mention that only the highest class of leather gives forth patina. All leather products do not naturally develop it. Inferior quality items, emanating from nominal bi-cast or economical bonded leather, may patina in the slightest form and often you may not even detect it at all. 

What is leather grain?

Leather grain denotes structural formation and outlook of the hide. This is what actually gives them an individual style or nature.

Many industry insiders point out a striking similarity between leather grain and wood grain which suggests a pattern of fibres seen in a cut surface of wood. The longitudinal arrangement of wood fibers results from wood grain.

Which animal hide is most used for full grain leather?

Cowhide is the biggest source of full grain leather. Its large size and availability makes it an ideal choice for all kinds of leather products. But we should not forget the contribution of mink, sheep, goats, pigs, alligators, ostriches and kangaroos as well.

Which animal hides are suitable for full grain leather?

Full grain leather is sourced from cattle, calves, lambs, pigs, goats, sheep and some other wild animals such as zebras, bison, alligators, elephants, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, ostriches and kangaroos.

Especially, deerskin offers the strength similar to that of cowhide with a softer as well as lighter feel. Extremely supple and amazingly smooth deerskin is used not only in greater fashion wear including coats, jackets, handbags and gloves. Its softness grows exponentially as the years roll by.

Faux Leather

Faux Leather: Your First Impression Matters & Lasts

Faux leather, PU leather, artificial or synthetic leather is the same thing with different names. Huge market demand has led to its diverse use very often replacing genuine leather. Low price and availability has contributed to its remarkable popularity and utility.

Obviously, there are underlying pros and cons involved with artificial leather. However, we must deal with the definition of faux leather at the very outset.

What is faux leather?

Unlike real leather that originates from animal hides, faux leather is an artificial object produced en masse in factories.

Apart from the other names mentioned above, it is also called leatherette, koskin, pleather, vegan leather and so on. These names derive from their manufacturing materials or their usages.

Of course, it is a man made object that comes from polyurethane and is called PU leather in turn. They laminate 100% polyurethane on a base component which can be either of cotton, rayon, polyester or nylon.

So the prudent combination of the base material and polyurethane brings forth PU leather.

On the other hand, there is PVC leather that resembles PU leather in terms of production method except for a little alteration in  materials. But here, they use polyvinyl chloride with stabilizers instead of polyurethane.

It also involves a combination of plasticizers and lubricants which is then applied to a base material. Stabilizers give protection, plasticizers soften it and lubricants lend flexibility to the leather.

What are the types of faux leather?

There lies a kind of gradation regarding quality and qualities among faux leather types. Clearly, the two primary categories are-

1. PVC. It is difficult to clean and not breathable at all.

2. Poly or PU. These types of synthetic leather are a bit more eco-friendly, breathable, and clean. Consequently, Poly types are generally preferred than that of their PVC counterparts.

How is synthetic leather forged?

Artificial leather came into being back in the 19th century in Germany. Since then, it has conquered the leather world with its versatility. The current form of faux leather is actually a culmination of a lot of experiments on the way during the last two centuries.

The production story of faux leather begins with a fabric base such as cotton, rayon, shredded leather, nylon or mostly, polyester. Manufacturers apply an imitation of leather finish as well as a texture using wax, dye, polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) on the fabric base.

How to identify faux leather?

Real leather and faux leather very often confuse rookie eyes and we are going to get you to the expert level with five simple hands-on tricks.

Let’s sum it up once and for all. You are never going to be tricked into believing faux leather as real. One of these five characteristics will determine its authenticity.

Label check:

If the label says things like, artificial, synthetic or polyester on the label, it is not animal leather. Authentic leather may denote their label with top grain, full grain or genuine leather.

Touch it:

Graze your fingers across the surface of it. You will feel extreme smoothness if it is artificial leather which almost resembles plastic tops in terms of sensation.

Contrarily, genuine leather contains rough exterior and you never miss its nuanced coarse surface with essential softness and flexibility.

Smell test:

In a leather store, you certainly smell a distinct skin scent with an oaky accent.

Unless you are habituated to it, you most probably consider it repulsive to some extent. This leathery smell cannot be replicated to the fake leather.

Check out the edges:

Smooth edges denote fake leather whereas a real piece gets you natural and rugged edges. 

Look, pores all over it:

Authentic leather such as the premium full grain items brings in all kinds of pores, imperfections and blemishes. Faux leather lacks all these natural markings.

Why buy faux leather?

No leather expert can write off the significance of fake leather because of its inevitable utility. We are going to light up some of the outstanding reasons for buying faux leather.

Cost effective: Real leather costs good many bucks and this is the single most important reason to go for fake leather.

So it is easily replaceable in case of damages. Many short term plans involve artificial leather rather than its pricey counterpart.

Long lasting: If you pit price against durability, synthetic leather has an incomparable edge. Scratches, scrapes and cracks do not bother them too much. Stains and UV rays cannot fade them pretty easily. 

Easy cleaning: You are free to use harsh chemicals on it. So the cleaning process does not take a lot of patience or effort.

Color variation: Faux leather comes in all types of colors, patterns and designs suiting a wider array of individual taste.

Animal friendly: Demand for hides lead to the slaughter of innumerable animals across the world. Animal lovers may find it offensive to their morals. So they choose artificial leather instead.

Low maintenance: Simple wipes with rugs is enough care for synthetic leather. Warping and cracking is mostly out of question as it does not hold on to water or moisture. 

Why not buy faux leather?

Faux leather products show some weaknesses as well. We are going to dig them here.

Not environment friendly:

When it is time to ditch artificial leather items, you are probably going to cause some unavoidable harm to the environment. Toxic chemicals such as PVC and polyurethane are detrimental to the soil, air and water.

Unhealthy:

For the same reason as stated above in case of the environment, your health is subject to damages due to PVC and polyurethane components. Children, who are undergoing brain development phases, are especially prone to the ill effect of the chemicals such as flame retardant. We very often than not inhale these elements from air as our sofas, upholstery, rugs, and even electronics emit them.

Durability:

The true concern lies in its lifespan as it does not age very well. Peeling is a great challenge and then it loses elasticity with the advancement of age. Pets, children are hyperactive and they could exert bad influence upon the longevity of fake leather.

No breathability: It does not stretch and so breathability is not an option at all. Moreover, it develops a lackluster look over time

What are the utilities of faux leather?

Fake leather has spread out all over the place. We are going to mention some of the remarkable sectors here.

Furniture upholstery:

Chair, sofa, cushion, headboards, tabletop, etc. 

Clothes & accessories:

Jackets, gloves, leggings, shirts, sheath dresses, belts, bags, wallets, purses and so on.

Footwear:

Shoes, boots, sneakers, etc.

Auto upholstery:

Auto carpet, auto vinyl, auto cloth, auto leather, auto headliners and all kinds fabrics come from fake leather.

Aviation upholstery:

Aviation leather, aviation vinyl, aviation fabric, aviation carpet, aviation vinyl flooring and so on.

Marine upholstery:

Marine canvas, marine carpet, marine vinyl, etc.

How long does faux leather last?

With good care and at good prices, it lasts even 5-10 years. Over time, it creases and cracks may appear all over its body which are beyond repair. We should not kid ourselves by comparing its longevity against real leather.

However, you can rest assured that you cannot categorise artificial leather as rubbish. It will give you sound service for a relatively long period of time.

Conclusion:

Faux leather products come at unimaginably lower prices which is very difficult to resist. Well from now on, do not jump on to the first one you see at the store. If you are willing to pay for a real leather product, stay away from this segment.

We have given you several names here so that the identification process becomes easier for you. The manufacturing process and environmental impact stories tell us that they are not eco-friendly either. Less durability and artificiality has contributed to its slashed down costs.

However, you may have to specifically buy a faux leather item in case you are trying to cut down right through the budget. Then you are really not worried about its worth or appearance or class.

Putting all these inevitable issues aside, we may easily go ahead with faux leather goods. They last long enough to do justice to the money you spend for them.

However, do not consider it rubbish at all and take careful notice of the faux leather buying guide as our leather experts have outlined in this write up.

Keep it away from kids and pets and polish as well as clean it. Take good care of it and after a few years, you may even become completely surprised at their longevity and endurance.

Top Grain Leather

Most Precise Insights into Top Grain Leather

Top Grain LeatherTop grain leather or corrected grain leather basically points to the outermost segment of the cowhide that undergoes light alterations before making it to the market.

The changes or customizations such as sanding or buffing are designed to shield the smaller imperfections. These changes are meant to make it look smooth and to mask natural markings.

Top grain leather craftily differs from the best full grain leather which is actually the costliest and most appealing part of the hide.

What is top grain leather?

Let’s analyze the issue to the fullest. The uppermost section of the hide gives forth two layers of nearly unidentifiable leathers. The natural exterior part is called full grain and top grain lies right beneath that part. If a hide is relatively blemish free, full grain is the way recommended by the experts. 

Top grain means the second highest leather quality after shaving off the top layer. It is actually the top cut of a cowhide with the outermost layer of the skin removed or corrected to bury the bruises and imperfections. While top grain leather is the same cut from the hide just as full grain, it requires adjustments such as sanding or buffing beyond the removal of hair.

Which features differentiate full grain and top grain leather?

These two types of leathers are intricately attached to each other. There are several marks of clear distinction in case we discuss top grain vs full grain leather. Now, we are going to light up a few obvious lines of demarcation between them.

  • Quality: Full grain is the highest quality leather and top grain trails it from right behind. All other grades technically lag far behind including genuine leather materials, etc
  • Cost: Naturally, full grain costs big bucks as it is incredibly difficult for the manufacturers to work with because it calls for greater care and expertise. Contrarily, top grain brings in a thinner and modified layer which is easily workable and accordingly, the price dips a little.
  • Outlook: Full grain leather promises stellar appearance with its natural fibers and marks poking out of the hide. Extreme breathability and diverse surface of these products also takes out many hearts. On the opposite, the top grain exterior sands away all the imperfections. It gives a kind of monotonous, uniform or consistent look.
  • Durability: Full grain leather is fascinatingly robust and way more durable than any of its counterparts.  Top grain outperforms all other leather types such as almost artificial bonded leather, except for only full grain.
  • Fading and aging: Amazing things happen to a full grain product as it matures. It takes on a unique look and feel with a character of its own. Many leather admirers resort to full grain products only because it will patina. Noticeably, top grain leather loses touch with its finish coat and it does not develop a natural patina, a gradual change in color over time.
  • Maintenance: Both types of leathers give in to stains pretty easily and require a lot of care and constant alertness. But if the finish coat is any weaker on the top grain, it may spell a disaster on its longevity. For full grain, cleaning is preferred with a damp piece of cloth, a mild hand soap and lukewarm water. Top grain products accept simple cleanups together with high quality leather conditioners and solutions.

What is top grain leather used for?

A bunch of high-end leather products including purses, satchels, handbags, wallets, briefcases and keychains are made of top grain leather.

It performs the best when the exposure to the exterior section goes low and rough use is mostly out of question.

Top grain leather: good or bad for you?

It really depends on what you are looking for in it. We have sorted out several reasons for you to select top grain leather on top of other choices. You can make an informed decision from this list of advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros- 

  • Cost effective: If you are looking for budget friendly leather products and unwilling to compromise with the quality to some degree, top grain is the way to go.
  • Workability: Manufacturers clearly have an edge in terms of maneuverability and workability with it.
  • Durability: It stands a better chance of enduring a long time use than other types of leathers apart from full grain. If the finish coating is up to the mark, it may even outlast any other alternative out there.
  • Variation in styles: Wide range of dying and patterns can give the taste of exotic designs thanks to its great utility.

There are a range of issues that may deter you from using top grain leather as well. 

Cons- 

  • Qualitative compromise: Sanding and buffing inevitably leads to less breathability and endurance. Brittles and cracks appear on it and thus shorten the life of the product. But with proper care, it may even last 10 to 15 years.
  • No individuality: Full grain leather products show up with one of a kind personality and appearance which is conspicuously absent in top grain items. Due to lack of breathability and patina, it does not tell an exclusive story about its life long journey.

What color does top grain leather offer?

Top grain leather comes in all imaginable colors as there lies a distinct difference in dyeing and coating. Dyeing is usually done in a uniform color whereas the shiny protective coating may incorporate several colors or distinguishable layers of the same color. 

The coating envelops the dye underneath it. But you can have a glance at the original dye by taking a look at the inner part of the leather. 

How to waterproof top grain leather?

Take it in, real leather is astonishingly porous. Obviously, top grain leather is made from the strongest segment of the hide.

However keeping leather characteristics in mind, admirers treat it with beeswax cream or spray protectant coating to enhance its waterproof properties. Even then, complete waterproofness is often a far fetched dream.

On a note of caution, leather experts suggest that you spray the protective patch on a rather low-key area of the product before going all over it.

So, any mishap stays within the range of tolerance. There are prior cases of color or texture alterations that you may find repulsive with its darkening effect. This small precaution will help you in that regard.

Conclusion:

Top grain leather comes from the best part of the hide and performs just below that of full grain leather.

In short, it is superior to all other leather types except for full grain. To speak frankly, the removal of imperfections slightly mars its natural beauty.

However, one can easily rely on its excellent quality. It avails you almost all the amenities of full grain, barring the look. Amazingly, it costs you a little less with all those privileges.

So, less expenses team up with greater stain resistance and this unique combination seals its fate with ever growing demand among the leather lovers. 

You already know full well that sanding and buffing takes out some of its longevity and it does not give an individual vibe.

These light alterations and lack of uniqueness should not break your heart as your wallet does not feel excessive pressure as well. With a little care and maintenance, it will still last longer than any of its rival leather grades.

This is essentially a strong type of leather that ages far better than its split and artificial counterparts. If you need a top performing leather product in a limited budget, there is barely a competitor to top grain leather.

Scroll to Top