Leather Glossary

There are quite a few different terms that are commonly used to describe different aspects of leather. Below are some of the most common to expand your leather knowledge!

Aniline: Type of leather that has been dyed with soluble dyes that have little or no pigmentation. The result still shows the natural markings of the hide’s surface such as scars and pores.

Bloom: A waxy haze that appears on the surface of leather as it goes through environmental changes like warm to cold weather. This is the sign of a hide that has usually been hot stuffed with oils, tallows and/or waxes. This haze can typically be burnished back into the grain of the leather with a cloth or horsehair brush and some heat/warmth.

Buffed/Snuffed Grain: Top grain leather that has been buffed or sanded to create a velvety nubuck type feel. Snuffed grain is typically sanded lighter/less than a buffed grain.

Craft Grade: These leathers are going to have more defects than your usual Second Run hide; may be best for cutting smaller goods.

Corrected Grain: Top grain leather that has been lightly buffed to minimize defects and provide a smooth grain. Hides will usually be finished as a last step.

DHF & SHF: Double Horsefront & Single Horsefront

Drum Stuffed: When a leather has been conditioned with oil, tallows and /or waxes in a pressurized and heated (typically with steam) drum. This process “stuffs” the entirety of the hides allowing for a full penetration of the added elements, providing the leather with conditioning throughout.

Embossing: Leather that has been stamped or embossed, often with an imitation animal print.

Full Grain: Leather with an unaltered original grain surface. It can also be referred to as Top Grain.

Horsefront: The shoulder section of a horse hide. Same cut as the double shoulder cut of a cowhide. Horsefronts are typically produced in thinner weights as this section is not as heavy as the rear of the hide.

Nubuck: Nubuck is top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side that produces a velvet-like surface.

Pull-Up: Leather that has been treated with waxes and oils, and when it is pulled or stretched it becomes lighter in said area due to the dissipation of the oils and waxes.

Second Run: Tanneries have high quality standards for their leather; in return second run hides are rejected in the sorting process. These rejected hides may have defects like brands, healed scars, holes, loose break, tannery cuts, etc.

Semi-Aniline: Leather that has been aniline dyed, then slightly pigmented to add color. This type of leather has color consistency and is stain and spill resistant.

Temper: Refers to the rigidity of the leather and can range from very soft to very firm. For example, soft temper leather would be used for garments where firm tempered leather would be used for belts.

Tumbling: A natural softening process in which the leather is tumbled up in a drum with a combination of heat and/or misting of water. Dry milling refers to tumbling in a drum with leather and only leather, no heat, oils or waxes added. “Tumbled” leather is also referred to as “milled” leather. 

Vegetable Re-Tan: Leather that has been tanned with a combination of two different types of tanning methods. Most commonly chrome tanned hides retanned with vegetable (tree bark extracts) tanning methods. This can be done a variety of ways to create different styles of leather.

Weight: Refers to the thickness of the leather. Usually given in ounces or millimeters. One ounce is equal to 1/64 inch or 0.4mm in thickness.