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Guidelines in Choosing the Best Leather

Mar 14, 2008
Leather is the material made up of the hides of an animal with the hair removed from it. This material may come in different finishes, colors or textures. Leather is known for its sensuous feel, strength and durability. It is resistant to destructive factors like climactic conditions and punctures. Leather retains its shape but can also be stretched and molded. Leather is used for bags, shoes, belts, clothing and furniture. You may be often confused when buying leather. Some may be priced higher and some may be graded.

There are 5 types of leather that are used for furniture like sofas. They are the Aniline, Full Aniline, Semi Aniline, the Full Grain Leather and the Top Grain Leather. It is better that you know these types to help you choose the best leather in the market.

The aniline leather is for those who truly love natural products. Materials made of the finest hides are fall under the aniline leather. Only the best hides are used to make this type of leather. This type of leather once placed in a room creates beauty as it gets used through the years.

The full aniline is for products that are made from some of the finest hides. Unlike Aniline, there are lesser choices of hides that are used. There is also a slight protective finish that gives the leather some serviceability.

The semi aniline is processed more. This is done dying the material in large drums. This process will make the leather look like Aniline or full aniline. They fall under the Grade B category of hides and belong to next 15% of the supply. They are also finished on top like the full Aniline. The tops of the hides are sprayed with pigments to make an even finish and cover some imperfections. Semi Aniline products are resistant to scratch and light and can be easily cleaned.

The full grain leather has the natural markings and the grain features of the animal from which the leather was taken. The best leather of these types should be clean, supple and clear. Some are also dyed with clear aniline dyes. When a full natural grain is retained, that is the time you can consider it as a full grain leather. The cheaper leather of these types has the natural grains that were sanded away and the surfaces were embossed with grains. They have thick coatings to cover the imperfections, that is why they are stiff and look and feel like plastic. If the full grain leather was made with hides, the treatment is lesser and the natural grains should be exposed.

In choosing the best leather of this type, you should feel the leather to test if it feels supple and natural to your touch. You are sure that you chose the best leather if it smells good, looks natural and soft to your touch. Make sure to make a thorough inspection of the leather before you choose it and it should have the full natural grain. Full grain leather should be of the best quality.

The top grain leather is considered as the economy leather in the market. Top grain leather is often misunderstood by a lot of customers because of its name. The quality of this leather is the contradiction of what the name implies. The leather of this material is not genuine, which explains why it is called "top grain". In this leather, the grains are only imitations stamped on the leather since the original grains were sanded away. If however, the genuine grains are still intact, the leather will be called "full grain" or "full top grain". The top grain leather is also considered the much weaker type of leather. Most of the top grain leathers are graded lower but can be afforded by many buyers.

When buying a leather of any type, be sure that you know the grade of the leather you are buying. The leatherís grade will be based on many factors like the size, the severity of the blemishes and the location where the raw materials were bought. Those leather that were made from mark free and perfect hides are expensive and rare. Lower-quality leather may cost 10 times cheaper than the high-grade one. You may still opt for the lower-quality piece and can still wear well and look great.
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