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Leather Glossary Part 1

Today we bring you the first part of our leather glossary because we know there could be some misconceptions or you probably don't know much about leather (which is great, because it means you're really interested in the first place) Then let this be your guide.

Altered Leather

Leather that has had the original surface of the skin or hide removed, (usually due to imperfections in the original grain surface), and a new grain embossed into the leather. This is also called corrected grain. Most top-grain leathers have altered or corrected grain.

American Bison

American Bison Leather is stronger than traditional steer hide and is also supple and durable. They showcase marks of a range animal, the natural grain of bison hides is not corrected with artificial embossing or plating.


The name given to the particular transparent dye used to color dyed leather.

Aniline Dyeing

The dyeing process by which transparent dyes penetrate the cell layers throughout the hide, producing deep, vibrant colors that preserve the hide=s natural markings and characteristics.

Aniline Leather

Leather that has been dyed through with aniline dyes. Pure aniline leathers represent approximately 5% of all upholstery leathers produced worldwide.

Antiqued/Distressed Grain

A surface pattern of markings or creases, in which the hollows are given a contrasting color to produce a two-tone effect that emulates the natural signs of aging.


  1. The main portion of a hide, obtained by cutting off the two bellies.
  2. Leather made from (1) Bark Tanned Leather vegetable tanned, mainly by means of the tannins contained in the barks of trees.

Base Coat

A color that is applied to a compatible crust color to achieve the final color of a semi-aniline dyed product.


  1. Part of the hide covering the underside and the upper part of the legs of the animal.
  2. Leather made from this part.

Belly Grain

The tanned outer (hair or grain) layer split from a belly.

Blue, In The

The state of hides or animals being chrome tanned after they have been removed from the tanning solution. Chromium salts cause the tanned hides to be light blue before they are dyed.

Blue Split

A hide or skin which has been split into two or more layers following the (chrome) tanning process.


An adjective applied to stiff, inflexible leather. This term is not to be confused with boarding, which is the process of softening leather.

Bonded Leather

Reconstituted leather that is leather fibers bonded together with latex.

Brushed Leather

The creation of a velvet-like nap on the grain surface through a process of controlled surface abrasion.

Buffed Leather

Leather from which the top surface of the grain has been removed by an abrasive or bladed cylinder or, less generally, by hand. In the case of upholstery leather, the buffing process is invariably carried out by machine, though it is sometimes incorrectly described as hand buffed.

Buffed Top Grain

The process of sanding or buffing top grain leather to smooth the high spots of imperfection.


The process of more or less removing the grain by abrasion.

Bycast Leather

Leather that is split with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed - originally made for the shoe industry.

Cattle Hide

The outer covering of a fully grown bovine animal.

Chamois Leather

Very soft, flexible leather made from sheep hides or lambskin; usually tanned with oils.

Chrome Tanned

Leather tanned with chromium salts and/or chromium sulfate for a supple, pliable effect and to prevent discoloration and loss of shape when exposed to moisture.

Combination Tanned

Leather that receives chrome and vegetable tannage to produce suppleness and body in the hide.


Leather made from the tight, firm shell portion of horse butts. Cordovan has very fine pores and a characteristic finish and is very durable.