Leather is a common material used in many products. The leather commonly used in production is generally divided into six levels: head grain, full grain, modified grain, cut grain, genuine leather, and bonded. Different levels of leather are suitable for different product production. A full grain and top-grain leather is the best choice for most leather products. In this article, Hongding, a leather belt manufacturer, will briefly introduce these 6 different levels of leather to you.
Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather has the best durability and quality of any leather grade. This includes an outer grain of leather with denser fibers, making it stronger and more durable. Top-grain leather is divided into two categories - full-grain leather and modified-grain leather. Most first-grain leathers are made into modified-grain leathers. Usually, high-end leather products are made from one type of top-grain leather.
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather comes from the uppermost layer of leather. Once the hair is removed from the full grain leather, you can see the entire grain of the leather and all its original characteristics. You can see the imperfections of the cow and the character it has gained from everyday life. Full grain leather does not wear out but develops a patina over time, allowing the raw hide's natural marbling, grain, and natural color variations o show through.
Full grain leather is strong and durable, making it ideal for many types of leather products. The natural surface of the top layer makes each belt and other products made from it unique. Most of our belts are made from full grain leather.
Modified Grain Leather
Modified Grain Leather is a head grain leather sanded and embossed to give the final product a more uniform, smooth appearance. Tanneries can use metal molds and hydraulic embossers to create a variety of artificial grains. The grain is embossed to hide imperfections and give it an even, natural texture. Some common examples of modified textures are products with snakeskin or crocodile skin textures.
Depending on the degree of correction, products made from this leather can be as durable as full-grain leather. However, correcting the grain seals the surface of the rawhide, which means it is easier to maintain but takes longer to develop a beautiful patina. Corrected grain leather is a quality belt material, whereas full grain leather is not an option.
Second Grain Leather
Split leather is created when a leather splitter is used to separate the softer leather middle layer from the top grain of the leather. Thicker hides can be split again into intermediate-split layers and a flesh split layers. Second-grain leather is thinner, more fragile, more loosely structured, and less durable or flexible than first-grain leather. It has a fuzzy grain on both sides and requires special care to maintain its beauty. It is most commonly used to manufacture genuine leather, suede, and other leather by-products.
Genuine leather is a finished two-ply leather made from leather scraps. Of the various grains and cuts, genuine leather is the lowest quality product, coming in last. The name is a misleading marketing buzzword to make you think it is a good material, but genuine leather is not as durable and long-lasting as other leather grades. Genuine leather can make a good first impression, but it won't stand up to the wear and tear of regular use. This type of leather is often used to make low-quality mass-produced belts and cheap upholstered furniture. "Genuine leather" is often printed on cheap truck parking straps, just like an approval stamp, but don't fall for it - it's just a waste of money.
Bonded leather is junk leather and should not be considered genuine leather. It is a by-product made from leather dust and scraps that have been shredded and bonded together with polyurethane or latex to form a fibrous web. This mixture contains between 10% and 30% leather fibers and significantly impacts the final product's durability. While bonded leather is somewhat stain resistant, it will almost certainly crack and split with regular use. Inexpensive belts made from this material will only last about 6 months.
Now you should know which grade of leather to choose if you want a custom high-quality leather belt or other leather luggage products.
Reprinted from Hongding Leather - “Different grades of leather and which one is suitable for making belts?”