A COMMON question. I will probably add similar posts to this in the future But for now, let’s begin with…always think of the USE of the hide. What is the End Product? What is its Environment? What will it be exposed to? What type of wear and contact will it encounter? What is the hope for it going forward? The answer to the above varies greatly from item to item.
See other parts of the site for numerical measurements – so to speak generally, the Weight/Thickness of the (EX.) Lamb Leather for a thin Ladies Glove will be Less than a Ladies Skirt. That glove may break down and tear because of this, sooner than if it were thicker But it will feel and appear more suitable in the lighter weight. A construction work glove would be the opposite. The appearance and aesthetics would be Secondary to its ability to not break or tear. The skirt will encounter surface contact when seated, areas of body movement requiring stretch. It may have a desire to feel soft, stretch slightly to the form of the person and movement But remain intact and not tear. The skin fibers vary in each animal as well to complicate things. This is mentioned elsewhere, but the strength and stretch will vary with this as well, not just with how thin it is cut.
The hide in question today was cow. The application was booth seating. Several variables exist here. Will it be for a private residential seating, exposed to less traffic OR will it be for commercial use, exposed to a lot. How important is the finish? There are times when someone will go with a more delicate option Knowing it may not be the most Practical choice, because it is physically appealing. This is not recommended but happens. The ideal scenario is to choose a leather with enough Finish to handle minor spills, clothing with metal and other hardware, handbags, repetitive movement, and other reasonable environmental factors that can cause damage. This can be done in a Matte and Gloss finish. More absorbing suede and nubuck can be treated to be more repellent but are generally discouraged. A thinner cut cow hide can be reinforced on the backside for upholstery application if need be. This is more work with fabric interfacing but happens if that particular leather is desired for a heavier use.
In the case of the booth, it would be easier to start with a leather Tanned for this use or similar. This would include being cut to a thickness of approximate ‘upholstery’ weight. This should be thick enough to manipulate and pierce with reasonable tools and needle gauges but thick enough to minimize possible stretch and tear. The finish will have to take into account the above – resistance but appearance will be relevant to the project in whole. What is the look the design is going for? Matte, shiny, smooth, grainy, metallic, patent, printed, etc…this will dramatically effect the resulting style, the leather plays to, changing the impression dramatically just like the variations in fabric. Just a dry or wet look can be like night and day, not better or worse – different and both appropriate in different design applications.
I will elaborate in a garment context with pattern relation in the next post.