Leather is a complex surface with different types for different applications from hard-wearing saddlery to finely textured high-end handbags. Leathers are made from many types of animal skins but the most common used is cattle, goat, sheep, kangaroo and pigskins. It is common for leather surfaces to be treated with special dyes and coatings that protect the look and feel of the leather surface. The idea of looking after the leather on your furniture is to keep these coatings protected and in good condition to prevent both the short and long term ageing & deterioration process of leather surface.
We’ve listed the 4 main leather type finishes below and the characteristics of each so you can better understand this beautiful material:
Is the most durable and is used in the majority of furniture upholstery and almost all car upholstery including door panels, console lids, steering wheels and other trim panels found on the interior of most vehicles
The durability to the leather is provided by a polymer surface coating which contains pigments. This surface coating provides greater wear resistance, water resistance, and protection from staining.
Spot Testing; to test this type of leather; place a small droplet of water onto the surface of the leather. The water droplet will sit on the surface of the leather and will not soak into the leather immediately.
Commonly used for: Furniture / Automotive Interiors / Saddlery Gear / Handbags, Jacket, Belts, Shoes.
Is 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 pigment.
“Full aniline refers to aniline-dyed leather which doesn’t have a top pigmented finish coating applied to its surface. As a result the leather retains many of its natural characteristics: it is able to naturally breathe, helping it remain soft and flexible, and is also cool to the touch. However, lacking a coating also means that the leather is porous, unlike semi-aniline, and more susceptible to absorbing water.
Spot Testing: A test may be performed to determine this type of leather by placing a small droplet of water onto the surface of the leather. This droplet of water will immediately soak into the leather and create a dark spot, which will dry and disappear in a matter of minutes.”
“A leather in which the base coat of the finish contains finish but later coats contain only dye, or contrasting pigment, to give a two-tone appearance, designed to imitate aniline leather”
Semi-aniline is aniline-dyed leather which does have a top pigmented finish coating applied to its surface, helping it be resistant to spillages and water absorption. The light protective coating, which contains a small amount of pigment, is thinly applied after dyeing to ensure consistency of coloration whilst allowing the leather’s natural grainy appearance to show through.
Commonly used for: Furniture & Automotive Interiors.
Spot Testing: Drip a small amount of leather cleaner or water on to the semi-aniline leather. It will sit on the surface so dab it with a piece of cloth to absorb the liquid. You will notice that the leather will absorb a very small amount of this liquid, this shows by a slightly darker patch. It can take between 3 – 4 minutes for a semi-aniline to absorb a drop of cleaner.
Suede is sometimes used inside vehicles, but is now becoming more popular and is being found on outside bolster and trim panels of leather seats. It will also be seen on door panels and trim panels. Rarely will it be found on steering wheels. You may find suede on fine couches.
This leather is identified by its' rough, "knapp" finish. This "knapp" is similar to that found on carpeting and can be determined by brushing your hand over the surface of the leather. When brushed in one direction, the leather will darken in color, when brushed back the other direction, it will lighten in color. A definite "knapp" or "raw leather" look is visible on the surface
Commonly used for: Shoes, Handbags and Accessories and can be found on sections within automotive interiors.
Testing: This leather is identified by its' rough,"knapp" finish. This "knapp" is similar to that found on carpeting and can be determined by brushing your hand over the surface of the leather. When brushed in one direction, the leather will darken in color, when brushed back the other direction, it will lighten in color.
Oakwood Leather care products are not suitable for suede or nubuck leathers.