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Wellington's Fine Leather Furniture

A Leather Glossary: Understanding Leathers

Leather is not a manmade material and no two hides will ever be the same. Here you will get a better understand of what to look for. Like a piece of luxury granite, your leather furniture should have subtle flowing movements. Leather furniture will age gracefully and last years to become a family heirloom with little maintenance. Making leather a good investment if you want comfort and quality furniture that lasts.

Leather Facts

Difference in Tone Difference in Grain
Healed Scars Wrinkles
Stretch Marks Veining

In a world of man made materials, real leather is a natural material like gemstones and exotic woods, and like all-natural materials, leather hides vary in beauty and integrity. All manners of influences can affect their look and texture - genetics, environment, and handling of the hide to name a few. Over its life, every hide acquires a personality. The inevitable accumulation of wrinkles and stretch marks, run-ins with barbed wire, encounters with insects, thorns, and branding irons leave "beauty marks." All these events combine to give each hide a distinct character. You should expect to see some of these markings somewhere on your new leather furniture.

Here are some more facts about leather that you may or may not know:

  • Leather mellows gracefully with age and regular use; being enhanced by the environment.
  • Don't wait until your children are grown to enjoy the luxuries of leather. Having children ourselves, we have found that leather still wins the battle against anything the kids or pets have to offer.
  • Constantly adjusting to its environment, leather will not become hot and sticky in the summer, nor cold in the winter. Leather will breathe and ventilate, making it adaptable to its environment. Leather adjusts to room temperature quickly and stays comfortable.
  • Cleaning leather is a cinch. You can clean up water-based spills with mild soap and water. Saddle soaps and leather conditioners are not necessary with normal use. Ask your sales consultant about specific cleaning or maintenance for your specific leather.
  • On a sofa, five hides or more will blend and complement one another, but will not be identical. A beautiful reminder you have purchased genuine leather.

Perfect for all of your family, even the doggie children! 

Quality furniture is strong enough to handle the most active household.  

 ANILINE DYED: The process of coloring leathers throughout using non-toxic dyes.

• ANTIQUED LEATHER: The application of a darker color over a lighter color to create a dramatic
highlight. This can be done with machine or by hand.

• ENHANCED GRAIN: The process of altering the natural texture of the hide’s surface, creating a uniform grain pattern through embossing the hide. This also helps hide scares and range markings. This is also used for the transfer of bold patterns like croc and the tooled look.

• FULL GRAIN: Any leather in which the natural texture remains in its original state. Natural markings are left intact, giving the leather its own unique appeal. A more desirable finish with a softer hand.

• NATURE’S SIGNATURES: Natural leather characteristics. These include (but are not limited to) insect bites and stings, fat wrinkles, healed barb wire cuts and scrapes, urine burns and other markings that give each hide its own unique traits.

• NUBUCK: Top grain leather which has a slight nap effect produced by buffing the surface. It has the look and feel of suede or brushed cotton but is far more durable.

• PROTECTED ANILINE: Leather which has been aniline dyed and then lightly pigmented to ensure color consistency and resistance to liquids. This is also referred to as semi-aniline and aniline-plus. You can expect this leather to look the same with use over the years.

• PURE ANILINE: Any leather that receives all its color from aniline dyes only and has no topical applications. Nature's signatures are visible and are considered a unique feature of each hide. Pure aniline leather will provide a wear story throughout the life of the piece.

• SAVAGE: A two-tone effect that adds depth and character to the leather. More expensive leathers are done by hand while less expensive leathers are savaged by machine.

• SPLIT: During the tanning process, a hide is split into layers and the underneath portion is referred to as a split. Compared to the durable top grain, this is not as soft and supple as top grain leather. Some lower priced furniture manufacturers may use it on the outsides of the frame. This action reduces the cost of a piece of leather furniture. Although it can be marketed as all leather, it is not all top grain.

• TOP GRAIN: During the tanning process, a hide is split into layers and the top layer is referred to as the top grain. This is the most durable part of the hide due to the strength of the fibers. This is considered a premium leather and is the best for upholstering furniture.

• BONDED LEATHER: A leather like product pressed together made from less than 50% real leather pieces that are bonded together using plastics and glued onto polyurethane or cotton layers. Much like particle board vs a solid piece of wood. Short life span. Not durable and will only last a few years at best. Stay away from this.

• PULL-UP LEATHER: These leathers have been colored with aniline dyes that are impregnated with natural-based oils and/or waxes instead of being coated with paints and pigments. The oils and waxes tend to darken the original aniline dye coloration, but "pull up" the lighter color when stretched and pulled. This pull-up effect occurs as the furniture progresses through upholstery and the leather is stretched and pulled over the frame. The pull-up effect tends to be more pronounced in areas where the leather is pulled in two different directions, like the front of arm and all corners. The oils and waxes provide even more beautiful shading and unique, subtle color variations. This aniline dying process allows the scars, scratches and wrinkles that occur naturally on the leather hides to show through the finish. This leather will provide a wear story through the life of the piece.

• SPECIALITY LEATHERS: Embossed or tooled leathers. Recommended for non-sitting surfaces. Outback’s or out arms work best. Decorative addition to add texture and contrasting color.

Leather furniture will outlast fabric upholstery by 5 to 1. Leather is the strongest sheet material known to man. It is odorless and cleans easily, great for active families and busy households. Leather furniture is an investment that will bring you years of enjoyment and pleasure.


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