How to Examine the Quality of Leather
When analysing leather products (products comprised of leather and other components), one of the most important aspects to inspect is the quality of the original leather itself. But how do we do that?
As an overall guide, the best leather to choose is a full grain leather, free from blemishes, fat deposits and scars.
If you can not get full grain, you can also consider top and split grains. Bonded leather is also available, but is not recommended, for reasons we discuss below.
Top grain leather
In top-grain leather, a piece of leather is split into two layers. The top (known as ‘top grain’) is usually sanded down and and finished via a chemical processing method. This kind of leather is typically cheaper, colder, has a plastic feel and is less breathable. It’s known as corrected-grain leather. Another disadvantage is that it will age less gracefully, not achieving the nice patina that develops on a full-grain leather.
Split grain leather
After the top grain has been separated from the hide, you are left with a piece known as split grain leather. Often used to make Suede, or embossed to make it appear as full-grain, split grain is thinner and less durable than full grain.
The final leather to discuss is bonded leather. This is the lowest form of leather, and not recommended if at all avoidable. Bonded leather is made from left over scraps of leather that are ground together with glue and bonded together in a similar way to how vinyl is produced.
It doesn’t look good and doesn’t last long, so we do not recommend it.