Q. Does leather wear better than fabric?
A. On average, leather will out wear any fabric 4 times. In addition, as leather is used, it improves in feel and appearance, developing a softness and "patina."
Q. Isn't leather hot in the summer and cold in the winter?
A. Not really. Since leather is porous, air circulated through it and assumes the temperature surrounding it. Sometimes, people confuse this symptom of vinyl with leather.
Q. Will my dog or cat damage the leather with their claws?
A. First, since leather has a far denser fiber make-up than woven fabric, the likelihood of your pet puncturing it is remote. In addition, with the techniques employed today in leather repair, any surface damage can be repaired with excellent results.
Second, with the chemicals used in tanning and dyeing, the natural attraction of "raw hide" is eliminated.
Q. Are the animals used in the making of leather furniture bred and killed for this purpose?
A. Absolutely not. Leather is a by-product of the beef industry. If the hides were not used to make leather products, they would be disposed of as waste.
Q. Does leather crack and split over time?
A. Not anymore. With the use of natural and synthetic oils in the processing, drying out and breaking down of today's leathers will not occur as in years past.
Q. What is a split hide?
A. "Splits" are they layers of skin below the surface. (The surface layer is the top grain). These are used in some cases on the non-seating areas of leather furniture. They are "corrected" to look like top grain and offer a cost savings to the consumer. Only the second layer is used in quality leather furniture. The rest of the "splits" are used to make shoe soles, belts and other inexpensive leather products.
Q. What is aniline dyeing?
A. Aniline is a color-fast, highly penetrable dye used in all high quality leather furniture. There are three types of aniline dyeing:
- Full Aniline: This process uses only the dye as the visual color.
- i. Transparent (translucent) dye used to color the leather all the way through
- ii. Natural markings remain
- iii. Natural leathers are pure aniline
- Semi or Partial Aniline: In addition to the aniline color in the leather, a slight surface color may be used to achieve a consistent coloration (corrected). Also, a protective finish may be applied to the leather, which also puts the piece into this category.
- Surface Dye: In this process, the color you see is entirely surface applied. However, aniline dye is still used to give the leather its initial coloration.
Q. Should I be concerned if my new leather furniture has markings such as small lines or blemishes on the surface?
A. No. These marks are "signatures of nature," your assurance that you own genuine leather.
Q. Why is one leather grade more expensive than another?
A. Since raw hides come from animals all over the world, the climactic and range conditions vary greatly. Animals from arid, semi-harsh environments have tougher, more exposed hides than those from cooler, more temperate climates.
Since the process of correcting a hide to remove the effects of a harsh environment is less costly than the cost of a "clean" hide, the pricing generally reflects the animal's origin. However, other factors such as special surface treatments and the age of the animal affect the final cost.
Q. Why can the price of leather furniture vary so much?
A. The single most important reason for this is size. Since as much as 40% of the cost of the finished product is in the leather itself, a couple of inches in its dimensions can add dramatically to the price. Also, the grade of leather, split hides and additional style details will contribute to the price equation.