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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Bi-Cast…the new “100% Italian Leather” or is it?

“100% Real Italian Leather” couches for $900 and club chairs for $250…all seems to good to be true and it is. Furniture companies in North America are taking advantage of consumers and skewing the public’s understanding as to what “real” leather is.

What few people in North America realize is that in North America Bi-cast leather is allowed to be sold as 100% Real Leather.  People every day are buying furniture that they think is real leather that is actually bi-cast. In most European countries, Australia and New Zealand bi-cast has to be marketed and sold as “coated” leather.

So what is Bi-cast (By-cast) leather.  Bi-cast leather is made from ground up split leather.  Split leather is the fibrous part of the hide that is separated from the upper part of the hide during the tanning process.  The split leather is ground up and blended with epoxies or glues and is then turned into a rolled good.  Next a layer

of plastic or vinyl is laminated to the rolled split. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Leather 101

 

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What does Corrected Leather mean?

As soon as the surfaces of a hide is altered in anyway it must be referred to as “Corrected”.  If a hide is corrected it doesn’t always mean that it is therefore an inferior product.  What determines that is the level of correction that the hide requires.  This is not something that is easy to determine as corrected hides are used to create Pigmented leather and a fake grain is embossed onto the hide in order to hide the corrections.

When a hide has scars, brands, blemishes or other deficiencies this damage must be fixed before the hide can be turned into a usable material.  Damage can occur in a number of different ways and often are a result of environmental factors as much as they are a result of the conditions the cattle were raised in.  Warmer locations tend to have more insects that can damage the hides than in more temperate location.  South American and Asian cattle are branded and often have scars as a result of barbed wire.  Most hides from South America and Asia have to be corrected in some way. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Leather 101

 

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Explaining Top and Full Grain

Most people have heard the terms Full Grain and Top Grain when it comes to describing leather.  These are probably two of the most misused terms in the leather industry in North America.  You will often here people referring to Full Grain as being “better” quality leather than Top Grain.  The reality is that they are referring to the same part or type of leather, but are helping to define two different things.

Most standard upholstery leather is 0.9-1mm thick.  In order to get the leather to this thickness the hide goes through what is referred to as splitting.  Splitting shaves or cuts layers off of the raw hide.  Raw hides can often start off in upwards of 5mm thick.  The upper most layer of the hide which has the skin part attached to it is what is referred to as the “Top” grain  as it is the Top layer of the hide.  The layers that have been shaved or cut from the Top layer are referred to as “Splits” as they have been split from the Top layer. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Leather 101, What is Grain?

 

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Welcome to Dragonfly Leather

Welcome to Dragonfly Leather

The main purpose of this blog is to become a resource for interior designers, upholsterers and people looking to buy leather.  With most of the materials used by designers or upholsterers there are universal terms or specifications that provide you a fairly good idea as to the way the material will perform.  If someone tells you a material has 100,000 double rubs it is easy to start to make some conclusions about that material.  ASTM or other specification that are standards in fabrics and vinyl are applied to leather in the same way.  There are terms that are meant to describe the different characteristics of leather, but there isn’t a body that enforces that they are used properly.

There are many common terms used to describe leather that in North America, in particular, that no longer describe what they were intend to refer to.  Some misused or misrepresented terms would be things such as “top grain” and “full grain” or the difference between aniline/semi-aniline/pigmented dyes or even the the marketing of bi-cast leather as real leather.  All of these terms are clearly defined in Europe by tannery associations, but for some reason in North America they have been altered.

We encourage people to post questions and stories about experiences they have had with leather.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Dragonfly

 

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