The most natural looking leather with the unique surface characteristics of the hide remaining visible. Aniline leather is coloured only with dye and not with a surface coating of polymer and pigment. A light surface coating may be applied to enhance its appearance and offer slight protection against spillages and soiling.


The process done to create Antique Leather (two-tone or rub-off)The application of a contrasting colour (usually darker) over a paler base colour on the top surface of the leather done to make the leather look aged and worn as in more traditional leathers May be applied by hand (rub-on or hand-wipe) or machine (spray effect) or rub-off (a process of coating then removing by hand to achieve the antique effect).

Antique style leathers are often found on Chesterfield Suites.

Over time the top colour wears revealing more of the base coat – this can take months or years depending on the strength of the top finish used.

  • Use pigment coated leather products for care of this type of leather
  • Colour can be reapplied (re-antiquing)
  • Natural markings may be evident and there will be shade variation
  • Antique style leather will look more aged over time
  • Antique style leather should be treated as Pigment Coated Leather but with care if the top coating is showing signs of wear.


A split leather with a polymer coating.

The polymer coating is created as a separate layer and then applied with adhesives, rather than being applied by spraying several thin coats as in ordinary leather. This results in a very even finish on a leather of generally poor quality.

The thickness of the polymer layer will determine whether it can be sold as leather or re-categorised as leather laminate.


Leather which has been smoothed by mechanical sanding to get rid of faults in the leather surface before finishing and embossing.


99% of all upholstery leather is chrome tanned.

Chrome tanning involves drumming the hide in a bath of chrome liquor.

After this process the hide is termed ‘wet blue’ leather.


The grain surface is abraded to remove imperfections before the surface coating is applied. A decorative grain pattern is then embossed into the surface.


Transferring of a colour or finish from leather to other material by rubbing or abrasion.


Leather that has been through the tanning process, aniline dyed, milled and dried, but with no surface finish at all.

Rarely used for furniture as it is so sensitive and impossible to clean or repair without leaving evidence.


A dyeing process in which the leather is immersed in Aniline dyes.

The leather is placed in a drum with dyes and tumbled to ensure the complete absorption of colour.


The term used when dye stuff from clothing, newspaper etc. transfers to leather. Although it can happen to all leather it is most noticeable on off-white and other pale leather.

Although it is not harmful to the leather in a structural way, it can be unsightly as it appears to be dirty.

If left untreated it can be very difficult to remove and may have to be coloured over as a last resort.


Creating a motif or texture on the leather.

This is done by impressing a pattern onto a surface that has been prepared by buffing (to remove damage and poor appearance) and coating with filler or stucco.

Generally on lower quality leather but not exclusively.

Also see Corrected Grain.


The process of replacing oils and fats that have been leached from the hide during the tanning process.

Often done at the same time as adding dyes to the leather.

See also Spewing.


Natural wrinkles in the leather that are a part of the unique qualities in the hide, similar to stretch marks.

They are most visible on full grain leathers and are an indication of a good healthy (fat) animal.


This term encompasses all procedures that are carried out after the tanning and initial dyeing process.

These may include rolling, spraying, waxing, milling, buffing, embossing, antiquing, and the adding of any protective finishes.


Leather receiving its colour only from Aniline dyes.

May however have top coats of wax or oil.


The grain surface is left intact before applying the surface coating.


The outer surface of a hide or skin.

It also refers to the pattern of the outer surface after the hair has been removed.

The grain maybe very natural as in Full Grain or may be an imitation achieved by Grain Correction or Embossing.


Term used to describe the feel or degree of softness of a hide or skin.

It is not a measurable term.


Term used for the skins of large animals such as cows, buffalo, or horse.


Leathers which have been hydrophobated have been treated to make them more resistant to water.

Hydrophobation does not help in resisting anything other than water.


Skin or hide can only be called leather after it has been put through the tanning process which turns it into a non-perishable material….leather.


The process of removing the hair from a raw hide through the use of chemicals (Lime or derivatives of..).


A finish applied to leather that has had its reflective properties reduced which will make it appear matt or dull to some degree (semi-matt…).


This type of leather has a fine spray of pigment added to it to limit the natural hue variations of aniline dyed leather or to create particular type of finish effect.

The pigment and finish used will not be heavy enough to coat the leather so it will still retain the soft hand of Aniline and remain quite porous.


Process in which tanned hides are tumbled in rotating drums usually as a softening process during the tanning and finishing process.


A tanned aniline dyed leather with no surface treatment in its true form but usually has some extra aniline or light finish product on the surface to increase its serviceability.

Commonly referred to as ‘Pure Aniline’.


Leather whose grain has not been altered in any way and the natural appearance of the grain is apparent.


A finish which is applied to Aniline leather.

Nitro-cellulose finish is not the same as a polyurethane finis. It is less durable than polyurethane, but it is softer and retains many of the aesthetic characteristics of Aniline leather.


A Top Grain Aniline dyed leather with a ‘suede like’ nap effect created by lightly buffing the surface.

The finest quality Nubuck would retain the full grain pattern of the leather; poorer qualities are more heavily buffed.


A special finish created by adding a fine reflective powder (usually gold or silver in colour) to the finishing product.

The effect is a slightly reflect quality that shows slight colour changes with changes in light direction.


Leather whose surface is coated with a material containing pigment or other opaque materials as a colouring process. It will then be sealed with a polyurethane style coating.

May also be known as Protected.


The flattening or ironing of the leather to smooth out its natural grain pattern.

It gives the leather a very fine appearance.


Removal of the grain, scars and blemishes from a hide.

May also be known as buffing.


Usually refers to leathers that are pigment coloured and sealed with lacquers.

A better definition would be a leather that does not readily absorb moisture so would be more resistant to absorbing stains. Cleaning products remain on the surface and are active for longer and are therefore more effective.

May also be known as Pigmented.


Generally they are an aniline dyed leather with a wax or oil surface treatment. Often the finish product will have some colour content as well, the stronger this is the more dramatic the colour change will be. Also as the waxes and oils are not fixed they scratch very easily, although this is very easily remedied and is deemed a feature of this leather type.

Modern ‘pull-up’ leathers are not now purely wax or oil but have additional finishing agents to make them more resistant to the pull-up and scratching received during use. Unfortunately this also makes them more difficult to restore when they are damaged or worn.


Leather which receives its entire colour from dyes only and exhibits natural markings and characteristics.


Preparing the leather to receive Fat Liquors and Aniline Dyes.


A two-tone effect which adds depth and character. Can be tone-on-tone or a contrasting effect.

Usually protected type or micro-pigment but there will always be exceptions.


When the fat liquor introduced during the re-tanning process is destabilised and rises to the surface of the leather creating a white haze or film on the surface.

This will look dry but have a greasy/fatty feel to it. If it is cleaned off it will almost certainly return.