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The Grades of Leather Coats

Jun 30, 2008
When you are shopping for a new leather coat, it assists whenever you are aware of the grades of leather the coats are made from and what the rewards and disadvantages are for each type. This extra knowledge can aid you in selecting the best coat for you at the ideal cost.

Not only coats, but all leather goods, are made from one of 4 grades of leather. These grades are full grain, top grain, split grain, and bonded. The highest quality and normally highest priced grade of leather is top grain. Bonded grade is typically the lowest quality and usually the lowest priced leather. We will discuss each of these grades below beginning with the highest quality then working downward.

Full grain leather is the choice for the highest quality leather goods.Full grain leather is made by the outer layers of the hide and it is not processed or sanded except to remove hairs. This maintains the beauty of the natural leather and its markings. In general, full grain leather is the most sought after because of its beautiful appearance matched with its durability and strength. Full grain leather is reserved for the highest quality leather goods so unfortunately a full grain leather coats will be the most costly choice. If you can afford it, or if you get lucky and find a full grain leather coat on sale, then you will have a gorgeous premium coat you are sure to enjoy wearing.

Top grain leather is a strong leather that can be fashioned into exotic imitations. Top grain leather is less expensive that full grain and is made from the outer layer of hide. It is processed and sanded to cover up imperfection. This outer layer of the hide is strong so top grain leather is very durable even if the look is not as luxurious a full grain leather. Since it is processed, the leather may be fashioned during this process to imitate exotic skin such as ostrich skin or alligator. If you are seeking a leather coat made from such an exotic skin, you can save money by purchasing an imitation made from top grain leather.

When leather goods carry the label, 'genuine leather', it is usually an indication that the product is made by split grain leather. This leather comes from the inner layer of hide and is not as strong as top grain leather but it is stronger than bonded leather.

Bonded leather is the least expensive leather on the market so if you want to save money on your leather coat, this might be the option for you. It is not the best in terms of durability, however. Although the coat appears to be made from a single piece of leather, bonded leather is actually made up of leather scraps that have been bonded together. Therefore it is the most fragile leather but has the advantage of being the least expensive also.
About the Author
Leather craftsman and knowledgeable Ethan O. Tanner explains the different grades of Leather and the process for selecting the grade of leather for yourleather jacket
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