EMBOSSED LEATHER, UPHOLSTERY LEATHER, LEATHER HIDES
Specializing in embossed and upholstery leather design and distribution, we are able to
supply you with an infinite array of colors and textures.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Each leather belt that is hand crafted with care goes through a series of steps during its production. Belts can be made from a range of different animal skins such as alligator, calf and crocodile. The embossed leather used to create handcrafted belts is taken from leather hides that have been washed, tanned and dyed to create a superior leather product. Leather is desired for its durability and natural beauty. Once the leather hides have been treated at the tannery, what’s known as the ‘upper crust’ is cut from a larger piece of high quality leather by the leather manufacturer.
To give the belt edges a smooth feel they are beveled by the leather worker. The leather is then styled and crafted creatively using specific tools and materials. The craftsman may use dyed leather or create an inlaying effect. The leather may be cut and braided. Traditional or contemporary patterns can be embossed into the leather and hand finished. Embossed leather is created by stamping a pattern or design into the leather hide. The result is a product that has an even pattern whether it is a modern design or something more traditional like a crocodile or cow hide print. The leather can be adorned with studs and beads; the possibilities are limited only by the artist’s imagination. These designs and creative touches will result is an original and stylish belt that will be a great addition to any closet.
Once the design work has been completed a fastener is required. These are generally in the form of a buckle or clamp. The fasteners can also be hand made and should compliment the belt itself. Most commonly, metals are used to create beautiful buckles and clamps. Stainless steel, nickel and gold will create a timeless look that will pair well with the classic look of natural or embossed leather. Buckles and clamps can also be embellished with the addition of etching and embossing. The appeal of having a hand crafted leather belt is that you can customize the design, shape and size of the belt. You will be rewarded with an accessory that will provide you with many years of use and a style that will be unique only to you.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Leather hides are animal skins that have been tanned by a leather manufacturer. The tanning process begins with washing the skins and treating them to prevent decomposition. The last step in the tanning process refers to the ‘finishing’ of the leather hides. The leather tannery finishes the leather by dyeing, pigmenting, embossing and sealing the leather hides.
Leather dyes are primarily used to change the natural color of the leather hide. Dyes consist of small molecules that are transparent. Dyeing the leather hides will also decrease the visibility of any imperfections or color variation that occurs naturally in leather hides. Leather hides are very porous and respond well to dyeing. The dyeing process begins with the leather hides being completely submersed in large vats filled with the dyeing solution. The dye seeps deep into the fibers of the hide, coloring it right through so that is the same color front to back. Dyes will enhance the natural look of leather hide, giving it an even tone, whilst still allowing the natural grain to shine through.
Dyed leather hides, also known as ‘unfinished leather’ are susceptible to transference. This means that the dye may move from the leather in certain circumstances. For example, if you were to wipe dyed leather with a damp cloth you will see some of the dye transferred onto your cloth. Furthermore, any liquid that is spilt on dyed leather will leave a mark when dried. Direct sunlight will also cause discoloration and fading to leather hides that are dyed. Although unfinished leather requires a little more care, its natural beauty and luxurious feel is unmatched by any other upholstery fabric; only the highest quality leather hides are dyed in this manner.
Most leathers used in upholstery undergo an additional process where a pigment coating is applied. Rather than soaking into the leather hide, this pigment will adhere to the surface of the leather. Pigment coating will not fade despite high levels of sun exposure and will not absorb liquid in the event of a spill. The pigment coating covers well and binds to the leather hide removing the possibility of transference. Bonding the pigment coating to the leather hide so that it doesn’t transfer is a process carried out at the leather tannery. It is a specialized art unique to the leather manufacturers. What’s left is opaque colored leather known as ‘finished leather’.
It is possible to apply a pigment coating to ‘unfinished leather’ but not the other way around. Once pigment coating has bonded to the leather hide, there is no going back. Be wary of leather workers that says they can re-dye your leather. Be sure that they are knowledgeable in comparing pigments and dyes before allowing them to work on your upholstery leather.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Only genuine leather hides can produce the most luxurious and sort after hand bags. Derived from animal skins, leather hides are sold to design houses for the production of accessories such as hand bags and shoes. Prior to this, animal skins undergo what is called the tanning process. This involves the cleaning, cutting and treatment of the animal skins.
The leather tannery will put all skins through a three step process to ready the skins for sale to leather manufacturers. This includes preparation, tanning and finishing. In preparing the skins, they are either heavily salted in agitating vats for up to a month, or brine cured in agitating vats for up to 16 hours. Upon completion of either salting or brine and curing, the skins are cleaned, soaked and rinsed in water. From there the skins are submerged into a lime solution to remove any remaining hair or flesh from the skins.
The process of tanning coverts the animal skins into useable leather hides and embossed upholstery leather. There are a number of tanning methods used which result in different kinds of leather. The most common methods are vegetable tanning which can take several weeks and involves the skins being stretched over large frames with varying levels of tannins applied. Mineral tanning (chromium) takes only a day, and results in flexible leather that has a higher resistance to moisture than that of vegetable tanned leather.
The finishing process involves drying of the leather hides and then grading and splitting it according to quality. The leather hides are then oiled to maintain the leathers flexibility and softness. It is during this finishing process that the leather tannery can apply special effects to the leather to produce different looks and styles. The leather can be embossed to reflect the natural look of cowhide, crocodile skin and even ostrich. The leathers can also be pigmented resulting in a huge range of colors. The outcome is a leather hide that is ready to be sold and produced into upholstery leather, clothing, shoes and accessories.
There are three main types of leather hide that is used in the production of luxury handbags. These include top grain leather, suede and patent leather.
Top grain leather is a superior grade of leather. This is the outer most layer of the animal skin. Leather manufacturers cut this ‘top grain’ horizontally from the remainder of the skin. Top grain leather is highly sort after by hand bag manufacturers for is soft, supple feel and unexpected durability.
Suede is less durable than top grain leather as the tough skin exterior has been removed. Commonly used for clothing and shoes, luxury hand bag designers will also use suede for its softness, pliability and beautiful natural texture.
Patent leather is leather hide that has been treated with a high shine seal. This glossy leather is more water resistant than others which makes it a popular choice for shoemakers and hand bag producers alike.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
If you are thinking of redecorating your home or office, a quality cowhide rug will help to tie elements of the room together. There are many choices to be made regarding color, size and style. This diversity and choice can be found within cowhide rugs.
Cowhide rugs are made from animal skins. They have been used by man for centuries to adorn walls and floors. Since prehistoric times, animal skins have been fashioned into clothing, furniture, shelter and wall hangings. Having such possessions was seen as a status symbol even in caveman times.
Similarly in modern times, natural leather hides and animal skins are synonymous with quality and status. The nature of animal skin and leather hides is that once is has been properly cleaned and treated at the leather tannery it will become highly durable. This means your cowhide rug will last a life time with proper care. It is for this reason that cow hide rugs are such a fantastic choice for a floor covering. It will withstand high volumes of traffic as well as being aesthetically beautiful. The animal skins used in the production of cowhide rugs are by products of the meat industry and so it is an environmental decision that you can feel at ease about. No animal has been used for its skin alone.
In addition to environmental factors and its natural strength and durability, cowhide also offers the consumer a plethora of choice regarding design. Cowhide rugs are available in traditional colors and will give any room an earthy feel. Contemporary designs such as bright colors, zebra or tiger designs will modernize any room instantly and create a bold statement. Cowhide rugs can be colored and printed by the manufacturer according to the consumer’s specifications.
Once you have decided on a color, size and design, where you place your rug will be your next decision. Be aware that the beauty of leather hides and cowhide rugs will naturally draw the eye when someone enters the room. Careful consideration of this is important. Ask yourself where you would like people to look upon entering the room? And where would you like people to naturally congregate within the room? Clever placement of your cowhide rug can help you achieve this. Keep in mind that a cowhide rug is very portable and can be moved easily; try the rug in a few different spot and see what works best for your room.
As with many different industries these days, consumers must be vigilant in doing their research on where to buy leather prior to making their purchases. There are sellers in the market who are peddling fake and inferior animal skins. Be sure that you are dealing with a reputable leather factory or leather manufacturer before parting with your hard earned money.
Once you have purchased your quality cowhide rug, ongoing care and maintenance is required to keep your rug in tip top shape. Weekly vacuuming on a lower setting will be enough to remove surface dirt and dust. Should the cowhide rug become marked by liquid, remove as quickly as possible with a dry cloth. The market is full of leather cleaners however, be sure to read all manufacturers instructions and patch test before using. If in doubt, consult a professional leather cleaner.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
It is common knowledge that genuine quality leather hides are derived from animal skins. This fact can evoke thoughts of animal rights and the treatment of those animals whose skin is transformed into natural leather hide. Most commonly it is the skins of cattle, pig and deer that are transformed in leather hides by leather manufacturers and transformed into high quiality emboossed leather.
Animal skins that are produced into leather hides by leather manufacturers are by products of the world’s meat industry. This means that the animal has already given its life to feed our growing population and the skins are produced into leather hides rather than wasted. These leather hides are then made into all sorts of products such as upholstery leather, clothing, shoes, bags and accessories. These genuine leather products can be purchased with the knowledge that they are made from a natural material that would have otherwise been discarded.
The origin of leather itself is becoming known as an ethically sound choice for upholstery leather and clothing; however it is the actual tanning process that has recently come under scrutiny by environmentalists. The process of tanning comprises of several stages:
· Preparation involves washing, salt curing and rinsing.
· De-hairing refers to removing any remaining flesh and hair using chemicals.
· Salting and Curing as well as sulphuric acid baths are used to further soften the leather hides.
· Tanning methods include vegetable tanning which uses tannin derived from tree bark. Mineral tanning uses chemicals and minerals (most commonly chromium).
· Finishing the leather hides may include oiling, sealing, embossing, dyeing, and/or waxing.
Environmental concerns arise from the tanning process because of the high usage of power and water as well as how chemicals are used and disposed of.
Pakistan stands as one of the world’s largest producers of tanned leather and was the subject of a study completed in 2008. The study uncovered wasteful water usage, incorrect disposal of polluted water, air pollution and high quantities of solid waste.
On the up side, the study raised awareness which resulted in a number of eco-friendly tanneries being constructed. By understanding what the negative environmental implications are, these tanneries are committed to reducing the carbon footprint made by the leather tanning industry.
As consumers we can get behind companies that support these environmentally sound tanneries. Before making a leather purchase, a little research could go a long way in supporting ethical businesses and companies. Where a designer or manufacturer buys their leather may help you in deciding if it’s a purchase you wish to make. Getting behind companies that use sustainable leather in the creation of their products will ensure that you are making a stand for the environment while making a statement with your upholstered leather furniture, clothing and accessories.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The majority of leather hides are derived from cow skin. Cows are large domesticated beasts that are used for predominantly for their milk and meat. Cow skins that are later produced into leather hides are skins removed from animals that have already given their lives for the meat industry. Cow hide or rug is an ethical choice as it is a natural product that would otherwise have been discarded. Cow skins are produced into leather hides by leather manufacturers and tanners and then sold for a range of purposes.
Once removed from the animal, the skins are subject to the tanning process. Leather tanneries treat the skins to prevent decomposition and transform them into useable leather hide. Leather is used in a variety of ways including the production of fashionable clothing, durable flooring, shoes and quality upholstery leather. Only the highest quality skins are left in their more natural state and sold as beautiful cow hide rugs.
Cow hide rugs feature heavily in design magazines as are seen as a timeless addition to a room’s décor. Cow hide rugs are a popular choice for interior designers as they provide a plethora of design choice. They entire rug can be colored in just one hue, or dyed to simulate the look of tiger, leopard and even zebra skin. Left in their natural state, cow hide rugs are unique in that each animal’s markings are different. Whichever style of rug is chosen, you can be sure it will make a real statement and create a focal point within the room.
In addition to looking good, cow hide rugs are a sensible choice for flooring as they are naturally durable. The beauty of cow hide will stand up to heavy foot traffic and in most cases; cow hide rugs will look even more appealing as they wear. Light vacuuming will remove surface dirt and dust from your cow hide rug and should be ample in maintaining its cleanliness and appeal. Any liquids spills should be soaked up immediately with a dry cloth. If further cleaning is required, one should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional. With proper maintenance and care, a cow hide rug will outlive other flooring choices both in practicality and style.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Crocodile and alligator leather is most commonly used in the production of hand bags, wallets, shoes and belts. Due to its rarity, leather derived from the skins of these reptiles has long been associated with luxury designers as a sign of wealth and stature.
Alligator hides are considered to be the more luxurious of the two. This is primarily because alligator hide is softer and more pliable than crocodile leather. The pattern on the alligator’s skin often presents as more even and symmetrical, and has a smoother feel overall. Alligator skin is highly sort after and this is indicative in the price of alligator skin; in most cases it will cost you more than crocodile skin.
Largely, crocodile skin is considered inferior to alligator skin. Not only are the crocodile skins smaller, but the also produce stiffer leather when tanned. The pattern of crocodile skin is not as symmetrical and given that the crocodile is generally the smaller of the two reptiles, less leather is acquired per skin.
Crocodile skin will produce more desirable and higher quality leather on very rare occasions. The skin of both the ‘Nile Crocodile’ and the Australian Salt Water Crocodile will surpass alligator hides when tanned correctly. This is mostly due the rarity of these reptiles; in particular the Australian Salt Water Crocodile is a protected species. Many other species of crocodile are endangered and it’s highly illegal for these animals to be hunted for their skins.
Given the scarcity of such reptiles and the high cost associated with their skins, leather manufacturers have taken to embossing other leather hides to simulate the look and feel of alligator and crocodile skins. Embossing refers to the stamping of leather hides (generally cow hide) with the pattern of alligator and crocodile leather. This means that the look can be achieved at a fraction of the price. It also results in a more evenly distributed pattern. In addition to the embossing, the leather hide can be dyed in an assortment of colors. Dyeing will give the buyer more choice regarding your décor as well as a more even distribution of color.
Generally speaking, alligator skin will produce a leather hide that is more appealing than crocodile skin. Alligators are larger, producing more leather per beast. Alligators are not endangered and therefore in larger supply. When tanning and finishing processes are complete, alligator skin produces soft, smooth and pliable leather that lends itself well to the production of leather accessories. The naturally occurring pattern of alligator skin is more regular and proportioned resulting in an even design.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Purchasing any new furniture for your home can be intimidating, particularly a new lounge suite or sofa. You must first consider the size and style that you require, as well as the all important budget. Purchasing a quality leather sofa should be considered an investment. If you do your research and make an educated choice, it is an investment that will provide you with returns for a life time. To make an informed decision, one must first understand the types of upholstery leather used in the production of furniture.
There are a variety of leather types that are used to upholster furniture. Aniline leather is produced using the highest quality leather hides. It is soaked in a transparent dye which evens out the natural color of the hide and results in a supple and luxurious leather sofa. Aniline leather has superior breathability making it comfortable in all temperatures.
Semi-aniline upholstery leather is similar in that it is treated with the same transparent dye. In addition to the transparent dye, semi-aniline upholstery leather is treated with a light sealant that will help to repel marks and stains. This sealant does compromise the leather’s softness slightly however, it increases the leather durability and its ability to withstand general wear and tear.
Coated leather refers to leather hides that have been dyed a particular color. Lower quality hides are perfect candidates for dyeing as it masks natural imperfections that may otherwise be seen. Most commonly, it is this coated leather that people think of when referring to upholstery leather. The dyeing process will give the leather hide a deep and even color with either gloss or matt finish.
As the name suggests, faux leather is a synthetic fabric that has been created to simulate the look of natural leather hides. You may come across faux leathers that look very much like genuine upholstery leather however it is the feel of faux leather that exposes it as unauthentic.
Unlike synthetic fabrics, genuine upholstery leather requires ongoing care and maintenance to retain its natural beauty and supple feel. Over time perspiration and oils found naturally in our skin can leave leather upholstery looking a little dull. Light regular cleaning will be more successful in keeping general marks and discoloration at bay. Liquid spills should be mopped up using a dry cloth, and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to patch test any over the counter leather cleaners on an unseen part of your sofa. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause leather to discolor and/or crack and conditioners can be purchased to help limit this possibility.
Purchasing a leather sofa is a good long term investment provided that you know what you are buying. Quite often in the retail world, you get what you pay for. If your budget allows, investing in a sofa that has been covered in genuine leather hide will provide decades of use. With proper care and maintenance, there is no reason why quality upholstery leathers should not last a life time.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Embossing by definition means a pattern or design that is raised from its surface. Alternatively, debossing is a design or pattern created by making indentations into a surface. Embossing can be done on a number of materials including most types of metal, animal skins and leather hide, paper and plastics.
Natural leather hides can be enhanced by embossing and turned into many products. Upholstery leather is commonly embossed with a natural cow hide print to give the leather a more even and uniformed design. Bags, belts and shoes can be produced with leather embossed with crocodile and even ostrich print. Words and letters can even be embossed into the leather, for example; company logos and monograms. Whichever print is chosen; embossing not only enhances the look of the natural leather, but also adds an element depth and texture to the product.
Although embossing may be considered a creative and artistic term, there are a number of everyday objects that are embossed. Anything that has raised words or pictures can be considered embossed. Think about the text on your credit card, company letter heads and even some patterned toilet papers! As with the examples above, embossing is done for either aesthetic or practical purposes. In the case of credit cards, the letters and numbers are embossed so that the important information will not be rubbed away with repeated use as it would be if the surface was completely flat. It is this durability that sets embossing apart from other effects such as printing or engraving.
Embossing machines vary slightly depending on what type of material is to be embossed. However the basic principles of an embossing machine are the same. The ‘hopper’ holds the item that is to be embossed and the ‘daisy wheel’ is the component that actually creates the embossing effect. The daisy wheel can be ordered specifically with the characters, designs or languages that you require.
An embossing machine that is specifically designed for embossing metal is known as a metal plate marking machine. Manual machines are most commonly used for making metal tags. They are light weight, easy to use and can make tags one at a time in around a minute. When faster production is required, automated machines can produce high volumes in a short amount of time and can be run from computer databases. Automated machines also provide more flexibility in regards to the actual design specifications.
Embossed metal is desired for its strength and durability. That’s why embossed metal is the chosen material for items that will be subject to the elements. These elements include water, sun exposure, paints, lacquers and extreme temperatures.
Embossing is widely used in everyday life. Whether it’s on a credit card, a decorative leather hide belt or a car license plate; embossing will ensure that stylish design and important information will not be easily lost.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Unless you actually see a piece of furniture being made, it is difficult to know what is hiding underneath the fabric or the upholstery leather. Once the leather hide has been upholstered to the frame, there is no way of telling what materials have been used and how the components of the frame have been joined.
Most commonly furniture frames are constructed out of either timber or plywood. It is not unusual that combinations of both materials are used in the construction of furniture and upholstery frames. Metal and steel are less common but are occasionally used in some components of the frame.
Traditionally, solid timber or lumber was used to construct the foundations of upholstered furniture. This material was chosen as it was easily obtained, fairly inexpensive and reasonably easy for manufacturers to work with. The lumber used was durable even when worked into intricate shapes, curves and old-fashioned joinery techniques.
Plywood has been used as a substitute for solid timber particular in cheaper furniture. Plywood is manufactured and sold in large sheets which can be cut in patterns. This reduces waste and keeps costs to a minimum. Plywood sheeting can also be bought in a range of thicknesses depending on what is required. Whilst the face of a plywood sheet is very strong, it is the edges of the plywood that is the weak link. The edges of the plywood are where nails, screws and glue are used to adhere and join plywood sheets during construction of the upholstery frames. There is no strength in these veneered edges which is the plywood’s downfall.
Traditional joinery techniques that were developed generations ago provide the strongest and longest lasting joins. Most commonly these two joins are referred to as ‘dowel joints’ and ‘mortise and tenon joints’. These joins were invented out of necessity in a time when nails and screws were rare and not affordable. Glues were newly developed and not trusted as a quality way to join timber.
Joining timber with a dowel joint requires the tradesman to drill matching holes in both pieces of lumber. A dowel is then inserted and glued into the pre-drilled holes and the two pieces of timber are joined securely together. A mortise and tenon join involves cutting alternative rectangular slots into each piece of timber. The alternative timber slots are then glued together to create a join with superior strength. Both the dowel joint and the mortise and tennon joint require high levels of precision from the craftsman and the durability of the joins depends on the quality of the glue used. These traditional techniques are done by hand and are labor intensive which is why they are found only in quality furniture frames.
In less expensive furniture, traditional wood working joins have been replaced by glue and long metal staples. This makes production of upholstery quicker and cheaper to manufacture. The benefits of such joins include the elimination of human error as machines cut and join the timber and plywood with precision. However the join relies solely on the glue for its strength. What’s known as a ‘lap joint’, can be used to provide more surface area to be glued for increased stability. Lap joints are commonly used today in cabinetry in bathrooms and kitchens.
Assessing the quality of an upholstery piece can be done in two ways. Check what materials have been used to construct the frames and also how the materials have been joined. High quality upholstery frames will use solid timber such as hardwood and be joined using age old techniques. These types of frames will provide decades of stability and strength. Plywood frames that have been joined using staples will be less expensive upfront but may have to be replaced sooner. Consider what type of treatment your furniture will receive over the coming years. It may be well worth it to invest in upholstery that is supported by solid timber frames and traditional wood working joins.