Unfinished Leathers :

Aniline Dyed (with no resin coating) : Aniline dyed leathers that have little or no pigment coating have a buttery-soft hand (or feel) that is most commonly associated with raw leather. In the dyeing process, the color penetrates into the fiber structure of the hide, and will not be entirely uniform across the face of the hide. Natural scarring and hide characteristics are visible, though the hides chosen for this level of upholstery are generally the cleanest available. Consequently, they tend to be the most expensive. There are no corrections made to the epidermis, and these types of leathers can also be referred to by the manufacturers or sales-people as "untreated", or "full-grain", or "top grade". They usually have a matte (or dull) appearance, and are very natural-looking. Because they have no resin coating on the surface, any water- or grease-based staining agents can transfer into the leather, leaving a visible reference unless blotted up quickly.

The appeal of this leather is its initial look and feel. Dyes are translucent, resulting in a deep, rich coloring affect that accentuates the natural beauty of leather. The soft, supple texture is also very attractive. The downside is aesthetic vulnerability. Aniline dye is susceptible to lightís UV spectrum, and can fade quickly, leaving the color looking drab and dull. Further, due to the porous nature of untreated leather, it stains easily. Therefore placement should be carefully considered. The leatherís initial beauty will be quickly compromised through staining in a dining room or active family room, and through fading in a room with abundant sun exposure.

Pull-up : Pull-up leathers are either impregnated with oils, or have a wax (or other non-cohesive resin) coating applied to them. When stretched, the hide will lighten due either to a displacement of the oils in the stretched area, or a super-extension of the resin coating. Many times, these hides are tumbled to achieve a creased, aged effect. This is often referred to as distressed leather. These leathers tend to accumulate light scratches quickly (from fingernails, etc.). They have some initial stain resistance due to the oil impregnation or wax coating. But, after extensive use, the oil or resin coating is displaced from the high-traffic, high-flex areas, allowing water- or grease-based staining agents to penetrate into the fiber structure. The coloring agent is typically aniline dye, and as such this leather is prone to fading.

Nubuck : A nubuck leather is an aniline-dyed leather that has been lightly abraded, leaving the leather with a soft, velvety nap which appears to change color slightly when brushed in different directions (much like carpet). These types of hides feel wonderful to the touch, and warm instantly to your body temperature, making them ideal from a comfort stand-point.These hides have no stain protection whatsoever, except possibly a Scotchgard ™ -type application by the manufacturer, or retailer. This is merely a water-repellent loose particulate applied to the leather's surface. It does not bond to the leather, and is removed through use or normal dusting. Staining by water- and/or grease-based staining agents is common, especially in high-traffic situations. As with all aniline-dyed leather with no protective pigment coating, fading is a reality for nubuck as well.

Suede : Suede is produced either from simply reversing a hide in the upholstery process, and having the loose-fiber side visible (which does not compromise the strength and durability of the hide), or having the grain layer (or top-grain) physically split from the flesh layer, and then using the flesh layer for upholstery applications. Splitting a hide will result in a flesh layer that does not have the tensile strength of an intact hide, because those fibers are the least mature, and loosely knit. Suede has a much longer, coarser nap than nubuck, and is also very absorbent, resulting in very poor stain resistance. Expect suede to fade as well.

top of page

© 2000-2010 Advanced Leather Solutions, Inc.