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Key Industry Terminology

Aniline
A tranparent dye used for fine leather hides that permeates the entire hide and results in a rich finish.

Aniline Leather
Leather that has been dyed only with tranparent aniline dyes.

Buffing
An abrasibe process taht smoothes natural bumps and blemishes without affecting the natural characteristics of the hide. The mechanical process of pre-coloration used to minimize the scars and scratces on a hide.

Chemical Tan
The process of tanning with alum or chrome.

Chrome
An excellent tanning substance.

Cowhide
In upholstery terms, the entire hide of a bovine, usually about 45-60 sq. Ft.

Degreasing
The removal of natural fats and oils from a skin or hide by immersing into a degreasing solution before the tanning process.

Dehair
Using an alkali bath to remove hair or fur from a skin or hide that will be made into leather.

Deliming
Using a weak acid solution to soak a skin to neutralize alkalis such as lime.

Drum dyeing (Vat Dyeing)
Also known as vat dyeing. Assures full dye penetration, hides are immersed in dye and tumbled in a steel drum.

Dubbin
A mixture of tallow and oil used for softening hides.

Embossing
Permanent artificial grain patterns, added through heat and pressure to corrected grain hides. A stamping process that restores grain texture removed by buffing.

Finishing
Any process occurring after the initial dyeing such as embossing or buffing. Additionally, to make leathers more durable, coloring substances may be applied to provide additional abrasion resistance as well as color enhancement. This process usually involves three or four coating operations. The more finish a leather has, the stiffer it becomes. Aniline or vat dyed leathers will tend to be softer than finished leathers, although this can be overcome by miling. Other factors affecting softness include the tannin quality and aniline used. Any post tanning treatment, such as: dyeing, rolling, pressing, spraying, lacquering, antiquing, waxing, buffing, embossing, glazing, waterproofing, or flame proofing.

Fleshing
Also known as trimming or siding, is the method of remobing fat, flesh and gristle from a skin or hide in preparation for tanning. Tools uded in this process are fleshing beam and fleshing knife.

Flesh Side
The side of the skin or hide that once was attached to the animal carcass.

Full Aniline
Aniline dyed and aniline finished leathers have no pigments, thus all of nature’s signatures are present.

Furs
Skins or hides tanned without removing the hair or fur.

Glazing
Also called top coating. The application of a synthetic transparent polyurethane resin applied as a protective coating to the leather resulting in a high gloss or matte finish.

Grain
Outer or hair side of the hide. The distinctive pore and wrinkle pattern of a hide; may be either natural or embossed.

Hide
The whole skin from cattle or other large animals.

Kip
The skins from calves or small beef cattle.

Milling
Tanned hides are tumbled in drums using heat and water to soften or enhance the grain.

Mineral Tanned
Leather which has been tanned with any of several mineral substances, notably the salts chromium, aluminum and zirconium.

Neck Wrinkles
Natural creases from the neck and shoulder area of the hide.

Nude Finish
Leather that is vat dyed but has little or no ptotective finish.

Pelt
Skins with the hair or fur on that have not been tanned.

Pickling
A process using salts and acids to preserve a hide or skin for up to six months.

Pure Aniline
Hide that receives its only coloring from dyes.

Rawhide
Dehaired and cleaned skins that have been prepared to be tanned.


Semi Aniline
Aniline-dyed and slightly enhanced leather that is cobered with a clear coating to ensure color consistency and provide protection against stains.

Sinning
The process of removing the skin or hide from a dead animal.

Slicking Out
Scraping a leather surface to push out excess water and oils and to remove wrinkles.

Snuff
Slight abrasion of the hide’s surface, likened to removing news print from paper.

Splitting Shaving Process
After hides are tanned and excess moisture is removed they are fed through a machine which cuts the hide into the valuable top grain portion and a split layer. After splitting, the hide is put through another machine that shaves it to a uniform thickness.

Sulfuric Acid
Used  as a tanning solution and for pickling.

Tannic Acid
The active agent found in many vegetable substances used to convert a skin or hide into leather.

Tanning
The art of making leather from rawhides that is actually preserving hides and preparing them to absorb dyes. This is accomplished by a chemical process in large vats or drums.

Tanning agents
Today’s leahters are tanned with soluble chromium sulphate. Synthetic tannins, vegetable materials from plants and trees may also be used.

Top Coat
Resin applied to leahter as a coating to form a high gloss or matte finish.

Top Grain
When a hide is split, the top grain is the very top layer or hair cell layer of the hide that possesses natural grain. It canbe corrected by sanding or buffing and protected by top coating.