This section is our attempt to familiarize people with the materials we offer. There is no comparison to being in the presence of one of these hides, but we have done our best to put into words, a brief description of each and hope that it helps in some way.
Often, we find ourselves asking customers; “What is the leather or suede being used for?” There is no ‘perfect’ choice, there are only ‘better’ or ‘more suitable’ choices. We can help suggest these options, for a particular use. For those outside of the world of leather, people are confused why we are not a true ‘e-commerce’ company. We know we live in a world of ever-dwindling patience, but we encourage all to exercise some here and would rather spend the time assisting in the correct purchase than dealing with unhappy customers. Please have patience and make the right choice.
You will notice that we often use the word ‘approximate’ with regard to measurements. This occurs mainly because the hides are imperfect in shape and dimensions. This is not a roll of fabric that can be measured out to the edge in every direction, to within fractions of an inch. For example, a hide will be approximately 3 by 3 feet, thus, measuring 9 ‘square feet,’ but due to its overall curving shape, patterns of squares will be found ‘within’ that area. Always go ‘over’ in your measurements, when calculating how much leather to obtain. With animal hides, there will always be ‘waste’ after patterns are cut. This is the remaining ‘unusable’ portion of the hide, comprised of natural or man-made defects, and excess material past the patterns, in any direction.
Most often, we will measure hides by the ‘square foot.’ This means that the overall area is being calculated by measurements of 12 inch by 12 inch internal squares. Centimeters will be used to measure some exotics, such as stingray and alligator.
Snakes, trim and other ‘linear’ items will be measured in yards, (36 inch) increments..
Thickness will be referenced here in millimeters although it can be done in fractions of inches and by weight (number of ounces per square foot).
The ‘Nature’ of the hides dictates the ‘fibers’ that it possesses. With regard to leather, this refers to the ‘essential characteristics’ of the hides. These fibers literally mean, the cell structure of the skin and we will attempt to describe how they are relevant in the following section. Yes, the fibers can be ‘manipulated’ in the tanning and finishing process, but only to an extent and therefore, must be recognized and considered. This is discussed in the Blog post on ‘Origin.’
A note on ‘Exotics.’ Due to the fact that exotic hides are heavily controlled with regard to restrictions on their harvesting (which ends in the being used for leather) ‘limited quantities’ will be offered and not all colors will be available at any given time. If an order is larger, it must be done with as much advance notice as possible.
The thickness of a hide can vary quite a bit and determine which use it will be appropriate for. It is not easy to understand in theory and is better followed when one begins to work with hides in person and then can ‘feel’ the difference between them. In numbers, leather and suede is measured in weight, which also translates to a thickness in actual measurement. I will attempt to give the ‘basics’ as I know them;
Most ‘Garment’ weight leather = .7 – .9 millimeters = 1/32 of an inch = 1.75 – 2.25 ounces (some is a little thicker – .8 – 1 MM).
‘Upholstery’ weight leather and ‘Accessory’ weight leather = .9 – 1.2 millimeters = 1/32 – 3/64 of an inch = 2 – 3 ounces Note; that accessories can be done in a variance of thicknesses, being controlled by ‘backing’ and ‘interfacing’ – fabrics that are preglued or stuck with other adhesive sprays and liquids to the back side of leather, to enhance strength, durability and can change the feel and stiffness of them.
Other’ leather thicknesses commonly carried by us include ranges = 1.2 MM. = 3 OZ. = 3/64 of an inch through 1.6 MM. = 4 OZ. = 5/64 of an inch, although we carry some basic cow leathers = 2.4 MM. – 3+ MM. = 6+ OZ. (up to 8+ OZ) = 1/8+ of an inch. The numbers will begin to make more sense when associated with the physical handling of the various weight hides. We can help there.
NOTE; A hide can also ‘feel’ thicker by the way it is tanned. The actual chemicals and treatment, whether it is milled and softened, top finishes, among other processes can manipulate the hides and change their ‘hand’ (how they feel in-hand) – thus changing their ‘toughness’ and how they respond to their use, regardless of thickness or weight.
BELOW ARE ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON THE MATERIALS OFFERED
HIDE – The skin of a large animal. Although the term ‘skin’ technically refers to the skin of a smaller and younger animal. We tend to use them both in place of one another.
HALF HIDE – This is the ‘side’ of a cow. The animal is separated into 2 equal halves from the bend, which is the region on top along the spine. Imagine 1 side of a cow as it stands. What you see is roughly, the side and a half-hide, minus the legs at the knees and head.
HAIR-ON – The hide is not treated to remove the hair and therefore, it is still on it. The hair can be ‘natural’, meaning not trimmed at all or neatly trimmed and short in appearance and feel. We offer this in cow and calf hides. There are also a lamb and goat that retain their hair in natural length.
SUEDE/NUBUCK – A hide which made to have a grainy surface by an abrasion process or by using the ‘flesh’ or ‘inner’ surface of the hide. The latter is basically the same process except emphasis is placed on creating a ‘fine’ or ‘smooth’ finish, done on the ‘outer’ or ‘grain’ side of the hide.
ALLIGATOR – Approximately 22 to 37 centimeters. Measurements come from the widest point of the center of the belly or back of the hide. Pricing is done per that centimeter.
COW FULL HIDE – (Leather & Suede) Approximately 40 to 55 square feet. Can be soft or stiff in feel but tend to not be stretchy, exceptions such as ‘pull-up’ leather.
FISH – Stingrays are the main skin sold by us. They can be regular or buffed (surface removed by cylindrical blade). Eels in strips can also be offered as well.
GOAT SUEDE – Small skins with suede processing that are smooth and have little stretch.
LAMB HIDE – (Leather & Suede) Approximately 6 to 9 square feet in size. Soft and stretchy in feel (hand). Can retain its stretch (or return in the case of stretch leather) and is more delicate in nature than other hides. Sold by us in garment weight but can be ‘backed’ (reinforced on the flesh side to strengthen for other uses.)
SHEARLING HIDE – Many types of sheep with hair-on in different lengths.
KALGAN LAMB HIDE – A wavy, short-hair hide.
MONGOLIAN LAMB HIDE – A wavy, long-hair hide.
PIG SUEDE – Approximately 9 to 14 square feet. Garment weight. Strong, not stretchy and not very supple.