The Leathery Tales: Know About the Leather Used in Cars
Leather has been used by humans since time immemorial in our history. From prehistoric times, the man began to use leather as a mean to cloth, and later on as a luxury. Early caveman used animal hides as beds and clothing while Mughals and Arabs used them to carpet the floor.
Additionally, leather was and is used as sword sheaths and gun holsters. Leather has been long associated as classy and a means to show wealth. And when leather is associated with cars, it creates an indispensable mixture of wealth and comfort. Some of the high-end leather is equally rare and expensive as the car it is put into.
The demand for the finest quality leather has increased to a whole new level now, such that no meeting the order at times becomes an issue. For example, Rolls-Royce, the luxury automaker is the only procurer of the vegetable tanned leather supply, which is used to decorate the interior of Rolls-Royce Phantom.
A lot of people are very particular about the type of leather they want in the vehicle and do a lot of research upon this. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of leather that are used in cars, how they are processed and manufactured.
It should be known that if the treatment is increased, the leather’s quality and value is degraded. Some of the best selling leathers like Vegetable tanned, Semi-Aniline and Aniline have natural graining that isn’t embossed.
Vegetable tanned leather is the best kind of leather available and is crafted using organic materials. The leather is reserved specifically for high-end vehicles. A category reserved only for richest of the richest, the vegetable tanned leather isn’t easily available and carries with it a high-end market.
Most natural looking, the Aniline leather is a unique and soft grained leather. The leather is procured from animal hides that come from very selective farms. The specialized farms maintain special care of bulls and cows to alter the quality of the leather. Soluble dyes are used for treating the surface texture to preserve the quality. A thin film is applied to protect the leather against soiling or spoilage, and no coating or pigmentation is done.
A variant that is just below Aniline, the semi-aniline leather is treated artificially with very light surface coats and thin pigments to render more toughness. The processing for the Semi-Aniline leather includes stain-resistant paint, which requires less care as compared to the aniline leather.
This is one of the most reliable and most imperishable material for anyone looking to decorate the interiors of the car. The pigmented leather is densely pigmented and is given the coating with polymers. This is done to shield the pigmented leather from any external stress.
As a consequence, color is preserved for a longer duration and the texture fading can be delayed. The longevity of the Pigmented leather can depend on the thickness of the coating, however, it varies; the thickness is however at less than 0.15 mm for quality standards though.
Full Grain Pigmented Leather
In the Full Grain Pigmented Leather, the natural look of the surface grain remains without any change. This is done since the leather isn’t preprocessed before coating or pigmentation.
Just as the name is, the Corrected leather’s supply comes from the low-quality producers. These low-quality producers aren’t without faults and hence the original raw leather has issues like tearing, holes, cuts etc. These are preprocessed so as to level before any coating or pigmentation. This is done so as to emboss decorative grain pattern on the leather’s surface.
One of the most craved types, the Nappa Leather is a full grain leather and is treated minimally for preserving its originality.
Finished Split Leather
In the Finished Split Leather, the raw hide is split across its entire thickness(which gave the type its name). This is done to obtain, twice the total amount of hide at the cost of one. In the later stages, pigmentation, as well as polymer coating, are applied along the embossed grainlines. Although, the reduced thickness means that the leather is more susceptible to deformation, and hence should be cared for in the same fashion.
Antique Grain Leather
Antique Grain Leather is unevenly coated or post-processed by the process of grazing for giving the leather a faded or paler look.
Pull-Up Leather is also known as the waxy or oily pull-up leather. The leather looks more refined but literally, rawer. This type of leather produces a special glossy effect when it is stretched.
For creating the Nubuck Leather, the surface of the aniline leather is given a light abrasion. The light abrasion produces a very fine velvety finish. Depending on the preference of the automaker, the grainy pattern might or might not be visible.
This is a surface razed split leather for achieving fibre outlook which is just as same as the Nubuck, however, there is a difference. The Suede leather is much cheaper and visibily less fine tuned.
At the end, it should be commonly known that the more expensive and luxurious leathers require further delicate handling. Any additional treatment leads to further degradation of the leather’s quality.