Leather Dying and Finishing

Aniline Dyed Leather  A process of coloring the rawhide completely through with aniline dyes.  Often, other agents are added to the dyes to minimally protect or enhance the look of the finished product.  Aniline dyed leathers are often full-grains and the surface of the leather is not altered or corrected by machines, making the leather very natural in appearance and feel.  The disadvantage of this type of leather is that while it is generally a more supple and expensive leather, it has little, if any, protection from staining (from foods and body oils), scratching, marking and fading in sunlight.  Additionally, the leather reflects all of the marks left by nature including scars, bug bites, stretch marks and even branding irons.   Because aniline dyed leather is such a natural product, it is best suited to environments with light use.

Semi-Aniline Dyed Leather A process of coloring rawhide with aniline dyes and then applying finishing coats to add stain protection, texture and often additional color to enhance the appearance of the finished product.  Semi-aniline dyed leathers still require a high-quality grade of rawhide and dyes, but because of the finishing process, these types of leathers are much easier to clean than aniline dyed leathers.  Additionally, the finishing processes have improved dramatically over the past few years and can now provide many different textures and colors while offering a supple, color consistent and durable finished product.  Generally, the semi-aniline dyed leathers will endure heavier use than aniline-dyed leathers, they are more moderately priced and typically preferred by consumers who want high comfort with adequate protection.

Corrected/Pigmented/Processed Leather  A process of pigmenting the surface of the leather to substantially alter the color and natural texture of the rawhide.  Processed leather is easy to clean and maintain, however they least represents the natural character of the original leather.  Generally, the processed leathers have also undergone machine-applied surface correction including sanding, buffing and embossing to improve the texture and appearance of the hide.  These leathers aren't as supple or luxurious as aniline or semi-aniline dyed leathers but tend to be very hearty and stain resistant, making them perfect for extremely heavy use.


                                Primary Leather Grades

Top Grain  The top layer of the rawhide, usually the most expensive and durable.  The molecular structure on the outside of the hide is strongest where the animal was exposed to nature.  The top grain is also the most resistant to cracking and splitting and is ideal for heavy use applications.

Split Grain  The middle layer of the rawhide that has been mechanically separated from the top grain above and the suede below.  Splits are dyed, embossed and finished to match top-grains and used in leather furniture in non-stress areas such as sides and backs. 

Suede  The bottom layer of the rawhide which is normally adjacent to the fleshy part of the animal.  The suede is the most sensitive part of the hide and generally not used for furniture.  The suede portions of the hides are generally utilized for clothing, shoes, belts, purses, etc.

Full Grain  This is a leather hide that has not been split, making it thicker and more luxurious than a top-grain.  The full -grain is normally the most expensive and supple hide and normally processed as a full aniline-dyed leather in order to retain the natural characteristics. 


Yellowstone Home Outfitters
Canyon Creek Botanicals
Montana Leather Works