Comparing Grades of Leather

When we make something here, we always choose full grain leather. But what does that mean?

Well there are many different grades of leather including suede, genuine (or corrected grain) leather, top grain, and full grain.

To start off, lets look at Corrected Grain or "Genuine" leather. Simply put, corrected-grain or “genuine” leather has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. For those of you who are looking for real quality leather goods, this would be a step in the wrong direction. These leathers are low grade splits pressed and dyed with patterning on the surface to mimic natural grain patterns. You will not get patinas from this grade of leather, only something that will degrade over time. 

Next lets take a look at Suede. You/d be-hard pressed to find someone who has never encountered suede in their life. This popular grade of leather features a napped surface from the underside (or flesh-side) of the hide. Suede is made from split leather, which means the hide has had the top-grain rawhide removed to leave behind a drop split portion. This drop split can be further processed into a variety of roughness and thickness of suede. If you have ever felt suede you know that it feels amazing, however this grade of leather has generally low durability and is very susceptible to water damage and stains.

Moving up, we have Top Grain leather, the second highest in quality. This type of leather has had the very top of the grain processed off, meaning all the imperfections have been removed leaving a very smooth-surfaced leather. The finishing of top-grain leather closes of pores and helps with water-resistance. This is the most commonly used leather in high-end leather goods, and if you're reading this you likely own something made from top-grain leather. 

Finally, Full Grain Leather is the highest quality grade out there. The term full-grain means the leather has not been altered to remove imperfections. It has not been sanded, buffed, or split down to remove imperfections that might make the surface look smoother and more visually appealing to some, but reduces the overall constitution of the piece. Keeping that full grain allows for maximum strength and durability, we also think it adds character. There are also some possible down sides when looking at full grain leather. It is harder to work with because in most cases it is much thicker and more firm that other grades of leather, this means specialty sewing machines and techniques are required when working with full grain. However, the results are well worth it and just wait for that beautiful patina that will form after using something made from full grain leather.

No matter which leather you end up with, though, we hope you love it as much as we love ours!

See you out there


1 comment

  • Ken Taber

    Great well written and informative article. I feel enlightened now.

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