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Nothing adds richness and sweetness to a room like a gorgeous leather. It has been used all around the world for thousands of years in any variety of purposes. Leather-based is durable, cleanable, and lengthy-lasting, and brings a raw pure beauty that manufactured products simply can’t match.

Nevertheless, because it’s such a prized commodity, the leather business has been very inventive in current a long time. A worldwide market, enhancements in accessible know-how, and the fixed battle for lower prices have created an enormous vary in leather sorts and qualities. There are bonded leathers, break up leathers, polyurethane “leathers,” and vinyl look-alikes. Today, just because one thing appears and even seems like leather-based, doesn’t imply it is.

So how have you learnt what you are getting? At Smith Brothers, we only use prime grain leather. We do not use split leather-based (the weaker, underside of the cover), and we never use leather-vinyl matches on our furniture. We also pay close consideration to trade-customary checks to make sure each kind of leather-based will meet the extent of high quality our customers have come to count on. Each hide is hand-inspected by our skilled specialists, and it’s all cut, sewn, and upholstered at our own facility in Berne, Indiana.

What’s Top Grain Leather?

A hide is definitely much thicker than a completed upholstery leather. Before it’s finished, a cover is cut up into layers. The layer closest to the surface is the top Grain and contains the actual surface of the pores and skin with all of its pure pores, wrinkles, and scars. It’s the strongest a part of the cover.

The Split Hide is all the things that has been cut from the interior layer of the disguise. It is used to make suede and different leather products. Whereas some furniture manufacturers will use splits on sides and backs of furniture where you’re much less likely to contact it as a lot, it is typically present in cheaper products. Splits are 100% leather, but they’re weaker and more vulnerable to tearing, stretching, and fading.

Varieties of Leather-based

The very first thing to bear in mind is that leather is a pure product. Every disguise is simply as distinctive as your fingerprints. The color, texture, and markings range from conceal to cover and even inside a single hide. It’s not unusual to see color differences, grain adjustments, and even scars or brand marks on a bit of furnishings. Different types of leather show these characteristics in various quantities, and it’s up to you to determine what exactly you need out of your leather furnishings.

Additionally referred to as Pure Aniline or Full Aniline, that is probably the most natural type of leather. It does not have a protecting coating nor any treatments that alter the pure feel of the cover. This provides it essentially the most luxuriously mushy feel of all of the leather types, but leaves it vulnerable to staining or soiling.

Choose this leather if: you love the smooth really feel of leather and actually appreciate the beauty of each cover’s unique natural markings, but anticipate solely light to average use of the furniture.

This kind is fairly pure. The hides are first aniline-dyed after which coated with a slightly protecting topcoat that will or could not comprise some additional shade. You will see some pure markings through the topcoat and it will probably nonetheless stain or fade somewhat, however it is more protected than a pure aniline leather and the shade is more uniform. This is the commonest kind of leather Smith Brothers sells.

Choose this leather-based if: you respect the softness and texture of leather but also count on to make use of your furnishings commonly.

This type is the least natural. Smith Brothers’ protected leather remains to be High Grain leather, and dyed all the best way via the hide, but the surface is coated with a heavy protecting topcoat that has shade added. Pigmented leather is normally buffed (sanded) to take away imperfections in the disguise and then embossed with an synthetic grain. The coloration and texture are usually flatter, with out the deep wealthy coloration or luxurious really feel of an Aniline… but additionally it is essentially the most durable and cleanable leather-based kind.

Select this leather-based if: you anticipate heavy use of your furniture, so you don’t mind sacrificing softness and texture for larger durability.

This is a high grain leather that has been buffed (sanded) to soften the floor and provides it a “suede-like” appearance. It is extremely soft and very luxurious, and also stronger than suede which is made from split hide. Like different anilines, nubuck leather may be very susceptiable to fading and soiling, and will develop an aged patina over time.

Choose this leather if: you need to make a bold style statement with a luxurious and actually unique piece, and do not thoughts some upkeep and care.

Full Grain vs. Corrected Grain

Full grain leather-based is a top grain leather with all its natural texture (grain) intact. This grain is created by hair follicles, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, brands, tick bites, and so on. Full grain leathers can present all of these traits.

Corrected grian leathers are still prime grain, however have been calmly buffed (sanded) to take away the original texture and any imperfections. A faux grain is then embossed on the surface of the hide. This enables tanneries to take tough-trying prime grain hides and switch them into stunning pigmented leathers. Corrected grain leathers will likely be way more constant in texture.

One shouldn’t be higher than the other—they are just different!

Shade and Surface Variations

All leathers display a variety of distinctive natural markings and variations in coloration. It’s just about impossible to search out two uncorrected hides, even inside the identical dye lot, that share identical surface characteristics and uniform coloration. Aniline and semi-aniline leathers will exhibit grain and color variation from conceal to hide and even inside the same hide!

Colour Variation

As a result of leather-based is a natural product, it absorbs dyes and reacts differently to therapies from conceal to hide. Even within a single conceal, some areas of the pores and skin might absorb extra dye than one other creating gentle and dark areas in the leather-based. This is most noticeable in pure aniline leathers. Sometimes shade is purposefully applied in various amounts to create a deep rich look.

Low: The colour might be reasonably consistent within a cover and from disguise to cover. Some dye lot variances will still be present.
Medium: There will likely be noticeable colour variations inside every disguise and from conceal to cover. There will be shade variation on an upholstered piece that may not appear on a small pattern.
Excessive: There shall be broad coloration variations on these leathers including colour variations that may not appear on a small pattern. Completed upholstery will display shade variation. Most of our most interesting aniline leathers and a few of our semi-aniline leathers carry this rating as the clear nature of the aniline dyes does not cover the pure traits of leather.

Surface Variation

Because of the unique life of each animal, the natural texture of a leather varies from disguise to hide.

Low: These leathers have been corrected which produces a surface with a moderately consistent grain pattern and very few natural markings.
Medium: Pure markings together with healed scars, insect bites, fats wrinkles and stretch marks will seemingly be current. The texture of the grain might change throughout the surface of the hide.
Excessive: These leathers have not been corrected and have little or no finish on their floor. Therefore, this leather has a really delicate hand and displays all the pure markings within the conceal. The grain may range widely on a bit of furniture, even when minimize from a single cover.

Variation and In-Retailer Samples

Colour and surface variation are generally refined enough that they’re solely visible in sure parts of a cover, or only when considering your entire cover (or massive parts of it). Because of this, the leather samples obtainable at your Smith Brothers dealer could not paint the whole image. Each pattern is labeled with that leather’s coloration and floor variation score to assist present more info in regards to the leather-based past what the sample can show.

A full leather-based disguise

The common conceal is between 40-60 sq. toes, and are all irregularly formed. Some have holes, scars, and brands to chop round. Most differ at least slightly bit in colour and texture.

Smith Brothers samples

It is straightforward to see why a tiny pattern cannot symbolize the entire characteristics in a hide! They’re so small compared to a 40-60 sq. ft. hide. Because of this we carefully label every sample for our sellers. It is important to overview this information earlier than selecting a leather so you’re certain that your finished piece will not have any surprises.

Examples of Variations to Search for

– Color Variations. Because leather is a natural, porous materials, every hide’s proteins will absorb dyes and finishes to totally different degrees and in other ways. This means that even when two hides are completed in the very same method and in the very same vat of dye, they’ll still be totally different colours! Even multiple components on a single conceal can differ. Sometimes this is a desirable effect and is enhanced by hand-applying lighter and darker dyes in a process known as sauvaging.
– Grain Variations. Grain on leather hides are as unique as fingerprints. No two hides will ever look the identical. Just like the pores and skin on our fingertips is different than the pores and skin on our knuckles, the grain can change across the floor of a single conceal. The realm from the neck is delicate and wrinkled and the realm along the spine is smoother. It isn’t unusual to seek out stretch marks, veins, and wrinkles in a hide. Any of those can present up in an upholstered piece of furnishings.
– Healed Scars. Leather conceal provides are a byproduct of the beef business. These cattle are out in the open with all of the insects, barbed wire, and cattle horns. Scratches, bites, and brands all leave scars. In more rugged wanting leathers, these markings are actually fascinating. They’ll present up in all pure anilines and semi-anilines. They’re much less probably in pigmented leathers because these are normally corrected.
– Special Results. When a extremely rugged “bomber jacket” look is desired, tanneries take pure anilines and infuse them with wax or oils. This process creates a leather-based that “cracks” and bursts when pulled or scratched. Generally these marks can be rubbed out, but they’ll at all times show up once more with use. Sometimes they’ll vacuum dry the leather-based which adds a shiny, sleek floor to the hide. Any leather like this is for the person who truly enjoys the natural beauty of leather.

Leather Furniture

After you have determined the leather-based kind you want, there are nonetheless a few different issues to think about when matching up a leather with a piece of furnishings.

Leather-based to frame

Except for tufted types (see under), you might be free to decide on any of our leathers for any of our leather-based furnishings pieces. Nonetheless, this doesn’t imply that each leather will praise each fashion of furnishings.

The perfect example of this would be a bustle back model just like the 311 Sofa or 705 Recliner. These kinds are best in a tender, supple leather-based that is normally thinner. When you had been to pick out a thick, stiff leather, it might take a very long time for the leather-based to “break in.” They wouldn’t be as mushy and the tailoring would not be quite as clear around the pleats. We are going to still make it, however please bear in mind that thick, stiff, and generally rustic leathers are finest on styles with straighter strains or tight backs except you do not thoughts ready for the leather to soften.

Alongside those traces, a thick leather isn’t essentially extra durable or longer lasting than a skinny leather. They every have pros and cons, and we ensure that all of our leathers pass trade normal testing for sturdiness.

The only styles that we can not upholster in thick stiff leathers are the button tufted items. All of the folds and contouring in the tufts require tender, supple leathers to create a properly-tailored completed product.


We cut leather in another way than fabric, so there will likely be more seams on the leather-based model of a method than on the fabric version of the same model. We do this for two reasons:

– Leather-based hides are irregularly shaped and only so big, whereas fabric comes in rolls of constant width and successfully limitless length. This means that it is commonly merely inconceivable for one disguise to yield single items of leather-based which can be giant enough for certain parts of the furniture, so that they need to be cut into sections and sewn together.
– Just as importantly, though, these seams add a lovely degree of detail breaking up the monotony of a strong colour.

Each piece of leather-based furniture will be completed with the same seams no matter the type of leather, so please consult with any product photography or in-retailer samples of the leather-based piece to see how it will be seamed. Do not depend on the fabric version of a bit for instance of how it is going to look in leather-based, because they are actually quite different!

The fashion #715 recliner in leather—notice the seams in the arms, sides, and back.

The same recliner in fabric.


All Smith Brothers leathers are assigned a grade quantity, but grade does not equal high quality! The grades are merely a product of the leather’s worth, which may differ with supply and demand.

The truth is, it’s usually the more natural leathers which have the upper price, even though they’re handled with fewer processes and chemicals (and are therefore cheaper to produce). These pure anilines, despite the fact that they’re more susceptible to staining and fading over time, are considered probably the most fascinating among leather connoisseurs, so they’ve the next price. It is definitely the extra protected and pigmented leathers that are usually lower grades, even though they are extra durable and cleanable.

It really relies upon in your expectations of the leather to determine which is best for you.


As a normal rule, lighter colored leathers with low surface and color variation are usually considered extra transitional or contemporary. The darker leathers with more coloration and floor variations are usually thought-about extra conventional.

Of course, this rule is not set in stone, so be at liberty to be creative with your leather-based to frame application!

Leather-based Seat Cushions

Not like with fabric, it is unattainable to make a reversible leather cushion. It’s because leather-based does not breathe, so any air contained in the cushion can’t escape while you sit on it. This could be very uncomfortable, so we use a special breathable fabric on the underside of our leather-based cushions (in addition to on the backs of our leather back cushions). For that purpose, the cushions cannot be flipped around like they will in fabric.

Relying on the design of the furniture, it could also be potential to rearrange the placement of the seat cushions (e.g. swap the left and right cushions), however they cannot be flipped upside down.

Care and Cleaning

Despite the sturdiness of certain types of leather-based, it is not invincible. It’s a natural product, and it can stretch, scar, wrinkle, stain, and show scratches. The tanning process can solely protect hides to a certain extent.

It takes preventative measures to make sure that your furniture will last a lifetime. Use the following cleaning methods to maintain your leather-based furniture trying its best for many years to come back.

– Placement of leather-based furnishings is key. Keep leather out of direct sunlight. The UV rays will cause fading finally, irrespective of how nicely the leather is protected. Make certain the piece just isn’t too near a heating vent or fireplace. Modifications in temperature and humidity could cause leather-based to dry out and crack.
– Usually dust and/or vacuum the furniture to maintain it freed from dust and grime that may build up over time.
– If a spill happens, immediately soak up any liquids with an absorbent cloth. Do not dry it with a hair dryer! If needed, gently dab with a damp cloth. Use distilled water on the cloth as a substitute of tap water.
– Do not use wax, polish, saddle soaps, or oil leather-based cleaners as these may take away the finish and/or colour on the leather or discolor it. Be careful when cleaning other furnishings subsequent to the leather-based. For example, make it possible for wooden polish does not overspray onto the leather-based. It could weaken the end.
– Within the occasion that the leather-based becomes broken beyond what cleaning can repair, contact an area leather skilled to wash or repair it.

A word of warning: the end on leather furniture can wear off from extended contact with chemicals of any kind—including chemicals found in hair gels, hairsprays, skin lotion, and even sure dyes used in clothing. Watch out about anything that has regular, repeated contact along with your leather-based furnishings.