Leather is one of the priciest materials that can be used for fashion and furniture. It has a process of extraction that has been carefully monitored so that the best product can be produced whilst protecting the environment.
Leather is the by-product of meat. If the rawhide of the animal does not get used, it will be thrown to waste. Often, proper leather making industries make sure that the cattle don’t get fed growth hormones and don’t suffer at the hands of humans.
The hides that have been removed get transported to a tannery where they get stored in rock salt for preservation purposes. Once the hides have been preserved for 30 days, factories remove the salt and store it for the next set of rawhides that come in.
De-salted hides get treated with acid, usually lime, to remove any hair and soften the skin to a malleable state. The lime also enhances the quality of the surface. After this, the hides get the flesh removed and get passed through a splitting machine. Drop splits get used in the fashion industry as it is lighter and easier to shape into a handbag or pair of shoes.
The upper layer of the hide is the strongest and can be tanned and dyed for a protective finish. To tan, the upper layers get loaded into a drum where salts and vegetable agents are added to give the hide a softer feel and protective layer. Oil also gets added in this process to soften the hide further.
Sammying is the next process in the production of leather. At this point there is still a lot of moisture in the rawhide that needs to be removed so that decomposition does not take place. They are then placed in different classes depending on their imperfections and spots or bug bites.
Before shaving the hides, they are trimmed so that they have symmetrical and even shapes. After they have been shaved, they get tanned once again to give the leather a brighter and more attractive appearance. They, then, get placed back into the sammying machine so that all moisture can be removed.
Drying them out is the next step in the production process. A vacuum is used which causes the hides to shrink by a small percentage. Dyeing then takes place once the hides are completely dry. This will give the leather their colour. The protective coating will then be applied. It will make the leather look shinier and attractive.
This finished product is usually what furniture upholsterers or manufacturers use to cover couches for a beautiful appearance.