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Leather Glossary
Here is a list of the definitions of some of the terminologies we use on our website when describing leather products.

Cowhide
Hide from a mature female bovine that has produced a calf.

Full Grain
Grain leather in which only the hair has been removed. Usually carries either an aniline or glazed finish.

Glazed Finish
Similar to an aniline finish except that the leather surface is polished to a high luster by the action of glass or steel rollers under tremendous pressure.

Goatskin
Skin from a mature goat.

Grain Leather
Hides and skins which have been processed with the grain, or outer surface, dressed for end use.

Hide
The whole pelt from large animals (cattle, horse, etc.), in contrast to the term "skin", the pelt of young or small animals.

Horsehide
Hide from a horse, usually from the front quarter.

Lambskin
Skin from a lamb, or young sheep.

Leather
The pelt of an animal which has been transformed by tanning into a non-putrescible, useful material.

Naked Leather
A hide that has been dyed, with no other finishes applied.

Ounce
Measurement of the thickness of leather. 1 ounce = 1/64 inch = 0.4 mm. In theory this measurement is based on the assumption that one square foot of leather will weigh a certain number of ounces and will be a certain uniform thickness. Hence, one square foot of leather which would weigh 3 ounces theoretically would be a 3-ounce leather.

Shearling
Wooled sheep and lambskins, tanned with the wool intact.

Sheepskin
Skin from a mature sheep.

Skin
The pelt from small animals (calf, sheep, goat, etc).

Split
The underneath layer of side leather which has been "split" off. Devoid of a natural grain, it may be either sueded or pigment finished and embossed.

Steerhide
Hide from a mature male bovine, incapable of reproduction, having been raised for beef.

Suede
Leathers that are finished by buffing the flesh side (opposite the grain side) to produce a nap. Term refers to the napping process, and is unrelated to the type of skin used.

Top Grain
The grain side (hair side) of cattlehide, reduced to a specific thickness ranging from 2 to 10 ounces, according to a standard leather gauge.

Weight
Generally referred to the thickness of the leather. Usually measured in millimeters (mm) or ounces (see above). A good rule of thumb regarding millimeter weight is each 0.1 mm is equvalent to one sheet of standard copy paper. Therefore, a leather garment made with 1.2 mm leather is equivalent to the thickness of 12 sheets of paper. Weight guidelines are:

    0.5 mm - 0.8 mm = lightweight leather
    0.9 mm - 1.1 mm = midweight leather
    1.2 mm - 1.6 mm = heavyweight leather
    1.7 mm - 2.0 mm = super heavyweight leather (usually found in chaps)
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