Belt Terminology


Types of Leather

Cow leather / Cowhide :

The leather from fully grown cows. This is the most popular leather due to ease of availability. It’s a great combination of durability, comfort, dexterity and resistance to abrasion. The finish may be smooth or rough.

Calf Leather :

The leather from young cows or calves upto a few months old with skins that weight upto 15 lbs. This leather has a finer grain, is lighter and more supple than cow leather.

Buffalo leather :

The leather from the domesticated water buffaloes of the far east. The leather grain is more pronounced than cowhide and the fibers are thicker which makes it very durable.

Types of Grain

Full Grain Leather:

Full grain leather is the best quality of genuine leather used by belt makers. The full and untouched grain surface is present. Beautiful unique markings are visible such as grain patterns, hair cells and any natural healed scars on the full grain leather belts. This is the strongest and most valuable layer of the hide.

Top Grain Leather:

Second highest quality, top grain leather is fuzzy on one side and smooth on the other. The side where the natural grain and hair were is called the smooth side. It is low tensile strength as the natural grain has been sanded off.

Corrected Grain/Genuine Leather :

Simply put, corrected grain or genuine leather has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. For those of you who are looking for high-quality leather goods, this would be a negative. The leather-like pattern is impressed into the surface and then sprayed with stain or dyes to give the fake grain a more natural appearance.

Split Leather :

When thick leather is split through the middle into 2 thinner pieces, the top layer will have grain and the bottom piece will be suede on both sides. The bottom piece is called split leather.

Bonded Leather :

Bonded leather, otherwise known as reconstituted leather, is made from leather fibers/scraps that have been glued together to create a leather sheet.

Tanning Processes

Vegetable Tanned :

Vegetable materials derived primarily from tree bark and various other plants are used during this tanning process.

Chrome Tanned:

Over 90% of the world’s leather is so called Chrome tanned leather, which is leather produced using a solution of chemicals, acids and salts to dye the hide. It’s cheap, quick and mass produced.

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