Chances are, your expensive leather goods are top-grain cowhide, and made of what are called “splits.” An inexpensive pair of leather shoes may look rich, but, there is a significant difference in the quality of the leather.
Top-grain cowhide is the outermost, smoothest part of the hide, from which the hair is removed.
Tanners “split” the leather into layers, so that one full hide appears to yield three hides.
The first-split layer is just under the top grain. This may be buffed, treated or painted to look like top grain; or it may be embossed with a grain, like alligator. Top grain is seldom embossed.
The second-split is the bottom layer of the cowhide. It is often discarded as waste, but may be sueded for upholstery.
The top grain is more durable and flexible than the first and second splits.
Only top-grain cowhide can be tooled and crafted. Splits are economical for sewing clothing, particularly informal clothing like chaps, moccasins and vests. Splits are good for grains like alligator and ostrich, but in steer hide sizes.
- Photo Credit Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
Horsehide Vs. Cowhide
Horsehide and cowhide have been used over time as a tough, natural material that can withstand heavy use. The spotted cowhide is...
- Naked Leather Vs. Cowhide
What Is Split Cowhide Leather?
Leather, the tanned hide of an animal, contains wide variations in quality and thickness. To make the finished leather more useful, leather...
Buffalo Leather Vs. Cowhide Leather
The American buffalo, or bison, is one of the strongest native animals on the continent, but how does leather from its hide...
What Is the Difference Between Cowhide & Leather?
Leather is "animal skin dressed for use," according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Cowhide is a type of leather, but just one form...
Cowhide Leather Vs. Other Leather
Cowhide is the most commonly used leather in the world; likely your shoes, your auto interior, your luggage and your belt are...
What Is Aniline Cowhide?
The term "aniline" refers to an organic base used to make dyes employed by the leather industry. Some cowhides are treated with...
Full-Grain Vs. Top-Grain Leather Furniture
Shop for a leather sofa or chair knowing the difference between full-grain and top-grain. Both are top quality and expensive, but there...
About Full Grain Leather
Leather is comprised of two layers. The bottom layer of leather is called the split layer, and the upper layer is called...
Properties of Cowhide Leather
Animal hides have been used by humans for thousands of years. Cro-Magnon humans used crude stone scraper tools to clean the fat...