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Case Study

Types of Leather


With the continuous development of society, leather holster has become an indispensable product for people’s daily necessities. Leather products are divided into two categories: genuine leather and artificial leather. But do you know what are the types of leather and their quality in order for each leather category?

Types of leathers. The image shows different leathers, including genuine leather and artificial leathers.

Genuine leather


1. Full Grain Leather

The highest quality of leather, full grain leather, is derived from the top layer of a hide. It includes all the grain and possesses both a toughness and any blemishes or imperfections as there are no surface modifications or splitting.

Consequently, full grain leather is also the only suitable leather for saddleback, which makes it the most expensive. Working with this leather material is difficult as it is prone to absorbing body oils, although this does add to its appeal by allowing it to develop a patina with age.

Common Uses: Saddlebacks, sought-after leather products.


2. Top Grain Leather

The second highest grade of leather, known as top grain, is typically obtained by splitting the top layer of skin from blemished hides and then sanding away any inherent imperfections. Pigmentation and staining is added to enhance the leather's appearance and give it a smooth and flexible feel.

Despite its strength and durability, this type of leather tends to stretch over time. Top grain leather is the material of choice for producing suede and nubuck and is commonly found in higher-end products, such as jackets and handbags.

Common Uses: Suede and nubuck-making, making high-end products such as handbags and jackets.


3. Split Leather

Genuine leather, otherwise known as corrected grain or split leather, is derived from the lower layers of the hide, typically the corium. It has a rougher texture compared to the top grain leather, making it ideal for projects where a soft texture is not needed, such as furniture backs and sides. It is also sanded to smooth out any irregularities before it is painted and imprinted with a leather-like design.

Although it acquires a more natural look, the tanning process hinders the leather's breathability.

Common Uses: Making jackets, handbags, messenger bags, accessories, footwear, and furniture.


4. Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is composed of the leftovers of the hide, such as dust and shavings. These materials are joined together using a combination of polyurethane or latex, and laid over a fiber sheet. To create a facade of top or full grain leather, it is usually sprayed with a coating. Without the manufacturer's disclosure of the percentage of natural leather used, it is nearly impossible to accurately gauge. Of all leather grades, bonded leather is the least expensive and of the lowest quality.

Common Uses: Making furniture, bookbinding, and various fashion accessories.


Artificial Leather


1. PVC Artificial Leather

PVC artificial leather is processed with a mixture of PVC resin, plasticizers and other compounding ingredients coated or bonded on the fabric. In addition, there are double-sided PVC artificial leather with plastic layers on both sides of the fabric substrate.


2. Nylon Artificial Leather

Nylon artificial leather is a plastic product with continuous cell structure made of coagulated layer by wet method, after Nylon 6 or Nylon 66 solution coated onto the fabric.


3. PE Artificial Leather

PE artificial leather is a kind of foam artificial leather, which is made of low-density polyethylene resin as the main raw material, mixed with modified resin, cross-linking ingredient, lubricant, foaming agent and other components.


4. PU Artificial Leather

PU artificial leather is further divided into dry PU artificial leather and wet PU artificial leather. The so-called dry PU artificial leather refers to the multi-layer film obtained by volatilizing the solvent based polyurethane resin solution and adding a base cloth to form a multi-layer structure. Wet PU artificial leather is a multi-layer structure with good air permeability and moisture permeability, and a continuous porous layer, obtained by using the solvent-based polyurethane resin by the water film forming method.


In addition to the above four main artificial leather, there are PU-PVC composite artificial leather, rubber-nylon-canvas leather, etc.

From Honpe Technology, you can choose large quantity of leathers for the surface treatment, the essential process of the rapid prototyping service, not matter it's small piece for your consumer products, or larger one for your prototype car or motorcycle, tell us your demand at any time.