So you know when you visit the grocery store and you’re like,”ok I want to make dinner tonight what am I going to make?”
If you are making spaghetti and meatballs you know you will need some beef, some pasta and tomatoes. You know the specific ingredients that you will need to get so as to make this meal a success, right?
You are not just walking into the supermarket and randomly grabbing ingredients and then getting home and saying,”ok, now I am going to make this oranges and fish into spaghetti and meatballls”.
Well the same goes for if you are buying leather.
The first step to buying the ideal leather mask for your leather job is to be certain you know just what you’re going to be making before you get the leather. This way you’ll find the appropriate ingredient and materials upfront.
I know precisely how confusing that first leather buy can be when you are a newbe. Heck, it can be confusing for me, 7 decades later as new leathers pop up and new ways to market them and new names to call them !
There are so many unique types of leather and unique methods of describing leather.
So browsing these leather seas can be overwhelming to say the least.
What type of leather should I buy?
So how do you know what sort of leather to buy? There are a few unique things that I consider when buying leather.
1 | The tannage: Chrome tanned vs. veg tanned leather
This is a superb place to start. 80 percent of the world’s leather could be described as chrome tanned, the remainder is vegetable tanned, brain tanned or other kinds of tanning.
Chrome tanned leather is leather that is tanned using chromium salts. The chrome tanning process is far quicker and simpler to make so the leather is generally less expensive. Vegetable tanned leather is leather that is tanned using organic materials such as tree bark and leaves and slower methods. Vegetable tanned leather in its natural condition can vary from a pinky beige colour to a natural tan colour.
I like to use vegetable tanned leather because I enjoy it’s durability, it is stiffness and how it patina’s and changes with time. Chrome tanned leather doesn’t alter and patina over time.
2 | The grain: Top grain vs. Full grain leather
Full grain leather is the highest grade leather and is leather that has had the hair removed but other then that the surface hasn’t been adjusted or changed in anyway.
Best grain is the 2nd highest grade leather. And it is leather that’s been divided in thickness. So it’s a thinner more pliable leather that’s still very strong and durable. The majority of your higher end leathers will be top grain.
Corrected grain leather means leather which has had the top surface buffed to be able to remove scars from insect bites or scratches.
Generally steer clear of anything called bonded leather, split leather or whatever claims to be”real” leather. These are really cheap leathers which aren’t durable or quality leather.
3 | The depth: The weight of the leather
In the countries, we quantify our leather thickness by oz. This took me a little time to get used to at first and to actually understand the difference between a 2oz and a 10oz leather.
The smaller the ounce the thinner the leather. The larger the ounce the thicker the leather. For example a 2 ounce leather is thinner than a 10 ounce leather and a 2oz leather will be useful for something such as gloves or a bag liner. For belts, manufacturers use anywhere from a 7oz leather till a 10oz leather or higher.
For my handbags, I enjoy a 4/5 ounce leather. It is thick enough to maintain it’s shape, but not so thick that it is tough to stitch through.
4 | The hand: The hardness or softness of the leather
The hand simply refers how to firm or soft the leather is to the touch or to the hand. Vegetable tanned leather has a fuller body and firmer texture to it compared to chrome tanned and oil tanned leather.
Chrome tanned leather has a softer hand and it is more pliable. This is useful if you are working on a project where the stitching is on the interior. You will have the ability to flip it right side out after stitching much easier then you would if you were using vegetable tanned leather.
I have a created a flowchart buying guide that will help you decide what sort of leather you must buy. You may download that manual here.