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All About Leather

Jun 22, 2008
During the ancient times, countless things have been made out of leather. It has been passed on from generation to generation and onto the leather that leaves a mark or a fashion statement in this era. Examples of these items are shoes and belts. In addition to this, leather jackets, protective aprons, hats and even pants have been created from leather. Thus, amongst these items, leather boots have come a long way in proving its durability.

Leather is known to be produced from animal skins. Any animal can be used to produce leather. However, to date, the thickest and strongest known skin best made into leather is cow skin. Once the butcher has already slaughtered the animal, the next thing he would do is to skin the animal. After this, the butcher would give the skin to a tanner, a person who makes leather. The tanner is the one in charge in making this piece of skin into leather, for leather bags, shoes, belts and boots.

In the olden times, people used different techniques in producing leather. After scraping of the flesh from the animal by using a bone, stone scraper or a metal knife, they would put a kind of chemical or salt on the skin in order to process it. Some even used urine back then. The tanners also collected urine from toilets in public areas as well as from certain homes. After collecting the urine, they would let it stand for about a week until the urine turns into ammonia, which they would put onto the skin so as to cure it. These processes are the ones used by tanners before just to create leather.

Aside from this, during the ancient times as well, countless things have been made out of leather. These were passed on from generations and up to now; they are still being produced and worn by leather lovers. Examples of these items are shoes and belts. In addition to this, leather jackets, protective aprons, hats and even pants have been created from leather. Hence, starting from the good old west where leather boots had a masculine statement for men; it still has that effect on those who love riding motorcycles, motorbikes and Harley's these days. Women have also taken a fancy on these leather boots. This is from sexy lingerie to nightlife outfits. Boots have become a fashion statement that brings out an aura of sexiness to whoever wears one.

Forms of leather

In these modern times, various processes are utilized in order to turn animal skin into another useful material called leather.

* Vegetable-tanned leather is processed by tanning it with the use of tannin as well as several ingredients derived from tree barks, vegetable matter, as well as other sources. It has a supple texture and its color is usually brown.

* Chrome-tanned leather is tanned by means of chromium sulfate and several chromium salts. This leather has a more supple texture. It is also more pliable as compared to vegetable-tanned leather. Having this advantage, it does not easily discolor nor lose its shape when exposed to water unlike in the case of having it vegetable-tanned. It has a wet-blue color due to the effects of chromium.

* Aldehyde-tanned leather is subjected under the treatment of glutaraldehyde or other oxazolidine compounds. It is considered as wet-white leather because it has a white or pale cream coloration. This kind of leather is mainly used for chrome-free leather such as infant's shoes as well as automobiles.

* Synthetic-tanned leather is known to be tanned with aromatic polymers. It is color white. This type of leather was invented due to the shortage of vegetable tannins back in the Second World War.

* Alum-tanned leather is cured with aluminum salts which are mixed with various binders as well as protein sources like egg yolk flour, etc. This kind of leather has a very light shade of leather and is not as supple as Vegetable-tanned leather.

* Rawhide is produced through the scraping of the animal skin until it becomes thin after which it will be soaked in lime. After soaking the skin, it will then be stretched while it is dried. This kind of "leather" is not considered as a genuine kind "of leather. It is just usually mixed with other forms of leather. It is much stiffer as well as more brittle as compared to other leather forms. In addition, it is mainly used for items that are not flexed significantly like drum heads. Moreover, it can be cut up in order to form cords that are used for stitching, lacing, as well as for dog chews.

To improve the leather's water resistance, it is usually oiled with natural oils. This can improve the leather's lifespan. Furthermore, leather that has hair not removed from it is known as hair-on leather.

Leather Types

In general, leather is sold in three forms:

* Full-Grain leather or Top-Grain is known to be hides that haven't been buffed, snuffed or sanded. The only thing removed is the hair from the skin. The grain is still in its original state, thus, retaining its fiber strength and durability. In addition, natural grain has good breathability which results to a more comfortable type of clothing.

* Corrected-Grain leather is known to be a kind of Top-Grain leather with its surfaces buffed, snuffed or sanded so as to be able to take out imperfections on its surface brought about by bites, scars or also brands.

* Split leather is produced from fibrous parts of hide that has been left once the raw hide's top-grain is segmented from the split hide. This type of leather can also be utilized in order to make suede.

Other known leathers that are less-common include:

* Buckskin or brained
* Patent leather
* Sharpen
* Hachette leather
* Slink
* Deer Skin
* Nubuck

Descriptions of leathers used for specialty products like wallets, briefcases, and luggage.

* Belting leather
* Nappa leather

The following leather is not regarded as genuine leathers, yet they do have leather materials:

* Bonded Leather
* Bicast leather

With regards to boots, there are different styles of leather boots. This would include:

* Ankle Boots
* Chukka Boots
* Cowboy Boots
* Duck Boots
* Field Boots
* High Heel Boots
* Hiking & Climbing Boots
* Knee High Boots
* Mid Calf Boots
* Motorcycle Boots
* Rain Boots
* Ski Boots
* Snow Boots
* Snowboard Boots
* Steel Toe Boots
* Stiletto Boots
* Thigh High Boots
* Waterproof Boots
* Work Boots
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