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Leather Education


Leather buying guide

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Leather fundamentals

The Language of leather

Aniline Dyed

Leather that is dyed all the way through with a transparent dye. Because the finish is transparent and shows the natural markings of the leather, only the best quality hides can be used.

Armor Leather

Heavy veg-tan leather used for shoe soles and for protective armor by historical re-enactors.

Bark tanned

Also known as vegetable tanned. Leather tanned by the tannins extracted from the bark of trees.

Belly cut (snake)

Snakeskins that are cut on the underneath so the tanned skin shows the snake’s normally visible pattern.

Chrome Free

Also known as Aldehydetanned leather, this is the leather that most tanners refer to as wet-white leather due to its pale cream or white color. Used in infant’s shoes and automobiles.

Chrome Tanned

This process uses soluble chromium salts, primarily chromium sulfate, to tan leather. Most commonly used for garments, footwear and upholstery.


Leather that has been tanned, dyed and dried, but not finished.


Leather that is aniline dyed with one color over another (usually darker over lighter) so as to create rich highlights and an artificial aged appearance. This finishing process is intended to emphasize the characteristics of the hide such as scars, scratches and wrinkles. Also called “antiqued leather”.

Drum Dyed

The process of coloring leather by tumbling it in a rotating drum immersed in dye to allow maximum dye penetration.

Embossed Leather

Leather that has been “stamped” with a design or artificial texture under very high pressure. Our embossed leathers have textures of ostrich and gator.

Flesh side

The underside of the animal’s hide. When looking at a piece of veg-tanned tooling leather, this will be the rough side.

Full Grain

Leather which has not been altered beyond hair removal. It is the most genuine of leathers, retaining all of the hide’s original texture and markings. The hide’s best, strongest and most durable layer.