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The Different Types of Leather

There are many variations of leather types available on the market today and at Saxen, we hope to provide you with a clear understanding before you purchase a leather office chair, tub chair or reception seating.

Different types of Leather

The British Standard definition (BS:2780) for leather is:

"Hide or skin with its original fibrous structure more or less intact, tanned to be imputrescible. It is also made from a hide or skin that has been split into layers or segmented either before or after tanning."

The amount of surface coating applied to the leather determines whether the item can be described as genuine leather.

Full Grain Leather refers to the leather which has not had the upper "top grain" and "split" layers separated. The hides have not been sanded, buffed or snuffed to remove imperfections on the surface of the hide.

Top Grain Leather is the second-highest quality and has had the "split" layer separated away making it thinner and more pliable than full grain leather.  The surface has been sanded and a finish coat added. It is normally less expensive and has greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather if the finish remains unbroken.

Corrected Grain Leather is any leather which has had an artificial grain applied to its surface.

Split leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top grain and drop split are separated. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain.

Bonded Leather is not a true leather but contains leather material. It is normally composed of 90% to 100% leather fibres bonded together to create a look or feel similar to that of leather.  Bonded leather upholstery is durable and its manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly than leather production.

PU Leather or Bicast Leather is a leather with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed to provide the grain.  The use of the term "leather" in relation to this bicast treatment is considered a misrepresentation.