July 25, 2018

Leather and Properties of Leather Types

Leather is a word that refers to materials made from animal skins such as cow skin, goat skin, buffalo skin, sheepskin or crocodile skin, but the most common is still cowhide, which has undergone many different processes called tanning. Leather has always been considered a material used to produce high-class and luxury handbags, wallets, and belts. Leather is soft, supple and exceptionally durable. Leather is many times more durable than other imitation leather materials. More specifically, the skin can "breathe". This means that the skin can regulate its temperature according to the weather outside, so it will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

Leather can be divided into the following categories: 

Top-grain leather 

A piece of leather whose thickness depends on the age and type of animal. This thick layer of skin can be split into several layers. Top-grain leather is the top layer of the leather. 

This top layer is about 1.0 -1.5 mm thick and is also the best and most beautiful part of the skin. Top-grain leather is divided into two types: full grain leather and corrected grain leather. Original leather is the skin that is kept in its natural state, without adjusting the grain, even keeping the color. Meanwhile, the adjustable leather is applied to the surface to reduce scratches and create textured effects to the leather. Most customers prefer modified leather because the surface of the leather has a protective layer that helps prevent the leather from becoming water-repellent and scratch-resistant while the original leather doesn't. Full-grain leather has very durable properties, does not peel off during use, the longer it is used, the softer the skin will be. When using it, you should pay attention to avoid much friction on the leather surface, especially in the corners of bags and wallets to ensure the durability of the product.

Split and surfaced tanned leather 

Delaminated leather is the lower layer of leather, after the top layer of skin has been removed, with no smoothness. Therefore, it can be processed into suede or split leather and surface coated. Coated split and split leather is usually harder and less durable than top-grain leather. Because the inner layer of real leather and the outer artificial coating have different expansion rates, in hot and humid weather like in Vietnam, the skin can still be peeled and broken after a period of use. The durability of split leather is highly dependent on the quality of the artificial coating on the leather surface, which is difficult to assess with the human eyes. However, the advantage of split-layer leather and surface coating is that it can create leather panels with a certain hardness, suitable for the production of fashionable handbags and purses, box-shaped – something that whole leather piece is very difficult to do (because  the more you use it, the whole piece of leather become softer or if you leave the whole piece of leather really thick for the necessary hardness, the bag/wallet is too heavy, not convenient to use). 

Split-layer and surface-coated leather can still produce the same texture as full-grain leather, but when looking at the cross-section of the leather, it can be seen that the skin is not united (separated into two layers), the leather is harder. The skin surface does not have pores like full-grain leather, or if there is, it is human-made, so the skin surface is very unnatural and when pressing on the skin surface, the elasticity of the skin is lesser. 

Leather is a natural product, not a plastic or vinyl material, so there are color differences. Even on the same skin there can be differences in texture between positions. This difference is not a manufacturing defect. This is the natural property of 100% genuine leather. Such natural marks are also the reason why skin is so loved. Although leather is a very durable product, it still requires careful care and maintenance. If the leather is left in the sun for a long time, it can fade, no matter how good the leather or fabric is. In addition, you should also avoid placing leather near hot heat sources as that will dry the leather causing cracking, and avoid placing sharp objects on the skin and limit the use of polishing chemicals or soaps. 


Distinguished tanned leather

Tanned leather is durable, beautiful, and has good elasticity ... Tanning products are always popular among fashion lovers. So how do you know if it's leather or imitation leather? 

Here are some tips to help you distinguish skin types: 

  1. Pig skin: Pores appear on rounded and rough surfaces, slightly slanted, three holes clustered together. On the face, there are many small triangles, hard and flat to the touch, often used to make leather shoes, suitcases and bags. 
  2. Cow/buffalo leather: Cowhide has round-shaped pores, not tight together and evenly distributed. As for buffalo skin, the pores are larger, the number of holes is less, softer than cow skin, it does not look as smooth and beautiful as cow skin. These two types are often used to make leather shoes and sandals ...  
  3. Horse skin: Pores are oval, indistinct, larger than cowhide pores, arranged in a regular pattern, on the soft, dark spongy surface. It is often used to make suitcases, bags. 
  4. Goat skin (chamois): On the surface of the skin, there are arc-shaped veins on which there are 2-4 large pores, around there are small holes. The skin looks smooth, tight, supple to the touch, Often used to make gloves, bags, hunting wear. 
  5. Sheepskin: Thin, soft, with tiny pores and oval shape, every few holes combine into long rows, evenly distributed throughout, often used as handbags. 


How to distinguish real leather from imitation leather?

  • Common imitation leather materials have two main types: simili and PU. With simili, you can easily identify this material because it is cheap, hard, covered with a layer of polyester on the surface, so it is very glossy, often sewn for the market. As for PU, it is easier to confuse, because this is a high-quality, soft imitation leather material that is almost like real leather. However, the nature of PU is still a form of artificial synthetic compound, so it can peel off over time. 
  • Real leather has a natural smell, while fake leather has a nylon smell or a chemical smell (like the smell of plastic or paint, perfume). 
  • When heating leather products: If the leather is real leather, the piece of leather is scorched and has a burning smell of organic compounds (smells like barbecue), while imitation leather has the smell of burning plastic. 
  • Put a few drops of water on the surface of the skin. If it is real leather, after a few minutes, you will see the water streak spreading, penetrating the skin. Real leather always absorbs moisture and imitation leather does not. 
  • Visual observation: the surface of the leather is slightly rough, has very natural skin textures, or has protrusions, depending on the tanning and processing techniques, the surface of the leather will be flat, soft... However, it still leaves traces of relative roughness. On the surface of real leather, if you look closely, there will be small pores, visible to the naked eye. The surface of real leather does not have cracks or stretch marks like fake leather. The surface of imitation leather will usually be smooth, smooth and flat. 
  • When using fingers to press hard on the surface of the leather, if it is real leather, it will leave indentations. As for imitation leather and synthetic materials will not be able to have this elasticity.
  • After time, the color of real leather will be less fresh, slightly dull. When it happens, you wipe clean and apply a little lotion or colorless polish. The surface of the real leather product will be fresh and soft right away. Faux leather rarely changes color or is not very affected by polishes or lotions. 
  • Genuine leather products, especially cowhide handbags, are hard when new, but the more you use them, the softer they become. And fake leather products will very quickly dry and crack. 
  • Real leather, when unfinished, usually has a size and shape depending on the animal species and is not square. Imitation leather often has a very large and square skin size. 
  • The inside of the real leather wallet is almost bare, while the fake leather has a lining, and has a layer of shaped paperboard. Faux leather products are often lined with fabric or in the form of interlaced threads that are pressed on the back of the leather. Note: For some types of leather, nowadays with high tanning techniques, leather products can have different properties above. 

For example: 

- For painted leather : the surface of the leather is covered with a layer of paint (this paint is very durable and does not peel off over time). When burned, there may be a burning smell of chemicals (paints). The skin is not easy to scratched and less susceptible to water absorption. 

- For waxy or oily leather, the outer surface of the skin is covered with a layer of wax/oil to protect the skin (skin care) to keep the skin moist and not dry. This type of leather is very easily scratched, but the scratches will disappear when using wax or lotion evenly. 

Source: vattudagiay.vn


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