Leather is a unique natural material. Different animal hides, the habitat of these animals, and part of the body have a special characteristic. All of these have an impact and, depending on your usage, you may need different leather types to get a finished product.
Broadly, there are five types of leather, based on their grading and quality. These five types of leather are listed below.
Full Grain Leather
Usually, only the animal fur or hairs are removed on this type of leather. No buffing or sanding is done to remove the imperfections on the hide. Owing to densely packed fine fibers, the surface becomes highly durable, strong, , and tough. The outer layer is not removed during the treatment. This provides for some natural water-resistance quality. This is considered to be the highest quality of leather. Full Grain Leather is ideal for saddlery, footwear, and furniture.
Top Grain Leather
With this type of leather, the very top layer of the hide is sanded and buffed to remove imperfections and irregularities in the finish. The leather becomes softer, more flexible and receptacle to various dyes and finishes applied to it. While the finish is appealing, the treatment removes the strength of the leather. It also loses some of its water resistance in the process. The soft and flexible finish makes Top Grain Leather ideal for high-end products like handbags, wallets, and shoes.
Genuine Leather / Corrected Leather
This type of leather undergoes heavy treatment to make the surface more uniform, giving a “corrected” look. Usually, the leather is sanded or buffed to remove any imperfections, then further treated with dyes or paints to give a unique appearance. Owing to all the treatments, the leather loses most of its desirable qualities. The leather is often used in belts and straps.
Split Grain Leather
This type of leather is usually derived from the lower layer of the hide, above the flesh. The natural surface of this leather type is way less dense, tight and useful than the Full or Top Grain Leather. The type is receptive to being coloured, embossed, or receiving other treatments that make it visually appealing while retaining some of the qualities of leather.
Bonded Leather (Reconstituted Leather)
As the name suggests, this type of leather is a completely processed material. Scraps of leather are finely shredded and then bonded together on a fiber mesh using polyurethane or latex. The functional and aesthetic properties of the final finished product largely depend on the leather content in the mix, which varies between 10% to 90%. This type of leather can be easily treated to give any finish or look.
To find out about different product varieties available under these five types of leather, log on to this website.