How is Leather Furniture Made?
When shopping for Leather Furniture it helps to know a thing or two about how leather is prepared before it becomes the beautiful sofa you are about to sit on. There are 5 basic steps to processing leather:
The primary distinction between leather types is the quality of the hide prior to tanning. The quality is determined by the age, geographic origin and diet of the animal.
Curing is the initial protective treatment that is administered to the pelts. It only preserves the hides prior to changing them to leather. The most common methods use salt (sodium chloride) as the principal curing agent.
Tanning is the process of taking raw cattle hides that are in the perishable state and putting them into a preserved state. Hides at this stage are light blue in color (wet blue) and have an unlimited shelf life.
This is the first step in introducing color to the hides. The dye has the same effect on the hide as a stain has on wood. The hide is soaked in a solution of dye until the color has penetrated all the way through. This is a synthetic dye, a color which has no solids. A purely dyed hide will have a very natural look. With no solid, the color varies through the hide and is darker in some areas than others. Also dye allows all of nature's marks to be visible. Some leather gets all of its color from dye.
A slight coating of color, with the solids, is put onto the hide to create a more consistent look and even coloration. This coating provides many positive and practical characteristics. Color is put on top of a dyed hide of similar color. The color achieved during dyeing acts as a primer for the finish. This allows less coating to be put on the hide, resulting in a softer hide. The finish acts as a barrier between you and the actual skin. It helps prevent staining and keeps the leather color consistent over many years. A finished leather is the most widely used leather in the industry. It features color consistency, durability, and ease in cleaning.