Understanding the Origins and Manufacturing of Upholstery Leather

Leather is a popular material for upholstery coverings and it gives a classic and luxurious look to the interior as well. If you are planning to buy leather furniture for your home or office, you need to understand what leather is and how to identify good quality leather.

Leather is a natural product that is very durable. It has many characterizes that are sought after by interior designers and homeowners alike because of the warmth and comfort it brings to a space. There is also artificial leather as well that is marketed today. Leather will show marks of its natural origin and you will not be able to find something that has a uniform texture and colour. This is what you can achieve in artificial leather. However, this inconsistency of texture, growth marks, scratches on the surface etc. gives a character to this material that makes it different from all other options in the market. When animal skin is cured or tanned, leather is created. Most of the leather that is used in the industry comes from cow hide. There are different grades of leather that you need to consider when buying furniture items. The reason for different prices of leather is the cost that is taken for different processes of finishes that occur after the tanning process.

You need to look at the appearance of the leather and the maintenance required when you are buying a leather lounge. Upholstery leather originates from cattle hide. The cattle hide is salted when they are transported to the tannery for its preservation. Once at the tannery, the hide is submerged in chemicals that will dissolve the hair follicles on the hide. This process will also cause the hide to swell and increase in thickness. The hide is split through the thickness and the top layer which has a hardwearing surface with the grain that you associate with leather is used for upholstery leather. The tanning process begins after this. Generally, chromium based chemicals are used in this process.

The leather is dried after the tanning process and grading of the leather is done according to the size of the hide and the level of scarring that it has. The hides that have fewer blemishes are used for full grain leather. The rest of the leather will be buffed on the upper surface to correct the grains. One of the most durable leather types used for furniture is pigmented leather. It has a uniform appearance. There is aniline leather that has a more natural look. Semi-aniline leather has characteristics of both aniline and pigmented leather. Pigmented leather is durable because of the polymer surface coating that is on top. The coating can be finished in several ways as well and because of this coating the leather can withstand more wear and tear. The natural characteristics of leather will be seen in aniline leather. Some will have a non-pigment surface coating and others will only be coloured with dye. However, this leather can wear with exposure to sunlight and it has a tendency to absorb moisture. Therefore, you need to carry out more maintenance for this.

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