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Leather Types

Corrected / Pigmented leather

Corrected LeatherMost leather sold today is pigmented leather, typically white or cream . It is the grain layer, which is buffed or sanded to minimise imperfections. An artificial grain is also applied to it to give a uniform look. This leather is fuzzy on one side and smooth on the other. The smooth side is the one where the hair and natural gain used to be. It is then usually pigmented to cover the sanding, similar to painting. The leather offers the sturdiest finish and is often sold at a comparatively lower price than uncorrected leathers. It needs to be cleaned and maintained, to prevent a build up of dirt and to protect from catastrophic spillages and stains, which will permanently stain your suite.

We recommend a thorough clean once a year followed by treatment with our top quality protector. Maintenance should be a wipe over with a damp cloth, no detergent once a week. Pigmented leather is a bond between the pigment and the leather, which can be undermined by body oils etc and cleaning is importan.

Anniline / Semi Anniline

Aniline LeatherAniline leather is a type of leather in which high quality hides have been treated with transparent aniline as a dye, so that the natural texture and blemishes of the leather show through, producing a delicate, soft, supple leather with that natural look.

Aniline leather is the most natural and beautiful form of leather. It is colored all through with a transparent dye. This is done by immersing the leather in a dye bath. It is free of heavy pigments, plastic fillings, surface coats and imitation grains that are found in lesser leathers. This allows the leather to breathe better, making the leather very soft, luxurious, breathable more comfortable in both hot and cold weather. Typically, leather is colored both for aesthetic reasons and to conceal blemishes.

A very common misunderstanding with aniline dyes occurs with the description between a full aniline dye and a semi aniline dye. The common explanation is that with a full aniline dye, the coloring of the dye goes completely through the leather and therefore is less likely to show the effects of scratches to the leather from use and or abuse. The misplaced logic of this comes from the use of the words "full" and "semi".

In reality, aniline is a clear and transparent chemical that allows the grain structure of the leather to be seen. It has nothing to do with protecting leather from damage or hiding it.

A full aniline dye is one method of tanning to achieve a desired, natural looking hide or leather. Semi-aniline utilizes aniline and other chemicals to get different looking finishes. A very appropriate analogy is the difference between a semi-gloss and satin paint finish. Neither is better or higher quality than the other. Different chemicals are used to achieve different finishes.

Anniline treated leather is quite common. It is a semi porous leather which needs to be cleaned with a foam cleaner. We recommend it is cleaned and protected once a year to maintain the leather in top condition.

Suede / Nubuck

Nubuck LeatherNubuck is top-grain cattle rawhide leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. The velvety textured surface show a difference in shading when one runs his hand over it. It is resistant to wear, and may be white or coloured. The effect also gives the leather a color depth and this shading is not found in any other type. The leather is sometimes also dyed with transparent dyes. Nubuck leather is also known as Chaps, Distressed, Bomber, or Suede. But it should not be confused with suede or reversed leather.

Suede LeatherNubuck is similar to suede. It differs in that suede is created from the inner side of a hide, whereas nubuck is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness along with a fine grain. It is generally more expensive than suede, and must be coloured or dyed heavily to cover up the sanding and stamping process. Suede is the flesh side of a piece of leather where as nubuck is an effect done to the grain side of the leather, making it incredibly soft. The brushing makes the leather more absorbent than aniline leathers. Nubuck leather reflects the natural leather grain or do have an endless variety of embossed patterns which are applied to them, and color vividly.

These types of leather are very difficult to clean and it is absolutely vital that they are protected soon after purchase. Nubuck cloths should be used for maintenance and a full clean, brush and protection is recommended once a year.

Other Leathers

There are lots of other leather finishes, too numerous to list here but all have their own cleaning requirements, which the experienced leather cleaner will know.

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When my grandchildren stayed for a long weekend they covered my leather couches in stains, and because it is unfinished leather I thought that my sofas were done for but you were somehow able to get all of the marks out of the upholstery. A professional service – thank you so much."

Neddy Balwin

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