Take the Leather IQ Test
Before Purchasing Leather Furniture – Answer these 5 Questions to Test Your Leather IQ:
Question #1: If you were asked to define “Top Grain” leather what would your answer be?
A.The best, most desirable leather money can buy.
B.Italian leather from Italian cows.
C.The outer surface of the hide.
D.Artificially grained leather on the top side of the hide.
Top grain only means the leather is taken from the outer side of the hide, the side that once had hair. A cow’s hide is so thick that most every hide is split into two pieces, yielding two hides. One is top grain the other is called a “split”. The split is the underside (suede) of the hide. Splits are most commonly used in handbags, luggage, shoes, etc. You will however find some used on the outside of leather furniture – in places where your body would, under normal usage, never touch. Splits are not as durable as top grain leather and the only reason for using split hides in furniture is to lower the cost. Always ask if there are any split’s used in the furniture you are buying, don’t pay a “top grain” price for furniture made with splits.
Question #2 – Where would you say the best leather hides originate?
A.Cows from the King Ranch
C.Cows used in the Stock Show and Rodeo
D.Cows from Scandinavian countries
The best hides come from cows that have spent their lives in Scandinavian countries. Why, because unlike cows from most Texas ranches, they spend a large portion of their lives indoors away from barb wire, bugs, and all the things that take their toll on a ranch cow’s hide. Additionally because of the way they are fed they are larger animals and due to the cold climate they have hides that are naturally thicker than most cows.
Question #3 – Why is it that I always hear so much about Italian leather?
A.Because their cows are breed to become sofas
B.Italy has some of the finest leather tanneries in the world
C.Grassland in Italy has a higher content of bovine nutrients
D.Italy has some of the finest leather furniture factories in the world
Italy has long been known for its leather craftsmanship and is home to some of the world’s finest leather tanneries. On the other hand, leather furniture manufactured in Italy, while large in volume of units produced, isn’t a particularly high quality product – especially the way the spring support systems in the majority of Italian sofas are made. Most use Pirelli webbing which is one of the least desirable construction methods when building a sofa or a chair. Additionally, mostItalian made sofas are constructed from Russian Fir framework – a semi hardwood – certainly not the first choice when considering longevity. Lastly, no cow has ever been breed anywhere to become a sofa – a hamburger yes, but never a sofa. All leather hides are simply a bi-product of the beef industry.
Question #4 – Why is Nubuk leather so different from other types of leather used in making furniture?
A.The leather comes from the under side of the hide
B.It’s top grain leather that has been cut with a “brushing” device, leaving a “nap” like texture.
C.It comes from happy California cows previously used for making California cheese
D.It’s a new way of processing leather that makes it appear more like buckskin from the old west.
Nubuk has virtually replaced suede in leather furniture. Suede comes from the underside of a top grain hide and is very fragile when compared to top grain leather. Nubuk, while stronger than suede, is the most fragile of all the types of leather commonly used in furniture today. It will stain more easily and is harder to clean, so it should never be used in an active family room where consumables may be spilled, newspapers read (newsprint stains are tough) or ball point pen ink is used. In it’s defense, Nubuk does have one of the finest “hands” (feel) of any type of leather but the brushing (cutting) of the top grain, necessary to produce the Nubuk nap, has compromised the integrity of the top grain and thus made it more susceptible to staining, wear, discoloration and greatly lowers it clean ability – especially ink markings.
Question #5 – Aniline dyeing leather is desirable because……..?
A.It colors the leather thoroughly
B.It colors but does not cover or hide natural markings
C.It’s the only way to color leather completely from the top grain through to the split side of the hide
D.All of the above
Aniline is a chemical used in coloring leather; it opens the pores of the hide and allows a pigment dye (usually and preferably a vegetable oil based pigment) to permeate the leather completely. This is done in huge “drums” that are turning with the tanned but unfinished hides inside. A coloring dye is added that flows through pipes that control the flow of the dye, into the rotating drums. The turning or rotating of the drums, which causes the leather hides to tumble inside the drum, adds to the softness of the hide when it’s completed. The longer a hide is tumbled the softer the finished hide will be.
When removed from the drums the finest hides are allowed to dry naturally (this is called “pole drying”) and is a longer, more time consuming process than the majority of hides will go through. When dried in this method a hide will shrink and become thicker creating a plush, heavyweight hide known as a “shrunken hide”. Hides that experience this process are usually “Full Grain” hides – meaning the hide has had no surface correction (embossing, buffing, painting, etc.), making it one of the finest and most desirable hides. Less than 5% of the world’s leather hides are of this quality, making it a rare commodity. It’s known as a “Pure Aniline” hide. And when you consider the type of use it will receive, it could be the wrong type of hide for your lifestyle.
Just another of the many good reasons you should see a leather specialist before investing in leather furniture for your home, ranch or office. Not just a furniture salesperson but a true leather furniture specialist. Leather furniture is always your best value in upholstered furniture when you purchase the correct leather for your home and your lifestyle.
Scoring your test – Give yourself 20 points for each correct answer:
Score / Recommendation
0 - 60
Be sure you only shop with a genuine leather
specialist like those at Choice Leather Furniture
60 - 80
You’ll enjoy comparing notes with the leather
specialists at Choice Leather Furniture
80 – 100
Order whatever you want from any of the leather
specialists at Choice Leather Furniture