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Leather identification in pictures

The purpose of this leather identification in pictures article is primarily to help leather technicians to identify the leather they are working on. I am not going to go into long descriptions about the type of leather shown as any tech out there working will know all about them.

There are many articles and resources for that already. The point here is to give a leather technician without a sample book a chance to compare what he or she sees down the microscope if he or she is out in the field with just a smart phone handy.

You might want to book mark or link to it so it can be found in a hurry!

The microscope shots are at 40X magnification which is the standard portable microscope that most leather technicians seem to use. The shot of the leather piece is taken at about six inches.

I hope this is of some use to someone!

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification -Aniline

Defined as a hide that has been dyed using Aniline dye. The feel is soft. But it has no protector, is easily damaged and marks easily.

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures -Aniline by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures -Aniline by eye

Suffers badly with UV fading. But it absorbs everything, so making invisible leather repairs very difficult if not impossible.

Leather identification – Micro pigment

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Micro pigment by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Micro pigment by eye

Also sometimes known as semi aniline. This is leather with a very fine (micro) layer of pigment. This leaves the leather still able to absorb fluids! May look like Aniline under the microscope due to the very thin layer of pigment  allowing the follicle holes to show through.

Leather identification – Nubuck

This is a hide that has been sanded and buffed to leave a velvety feel. It is very susceptible to fluids due to the fact that it has no protection at all. Making oils and the like almost impossible to remove completely.

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Nubuck by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Nubuck by eye

Leather identification – Nappa

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Nappa by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Nappa by eye

Basically a dyed and tanned good quality leather finished usually with micro pigment. Damages easily. Repairs are possible but with limited success in terms of invisible mending.

Leather identification – Pull up

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Pull up by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Pull up by eye

Original pull up was achieved by saturating Aniline and Nubuck leathers with oil. More recently, this is being replaced by polyurethane and other chemicals. The original pull ups are less hard wearing than the modern equivalent.

Leather identification – Suede

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Suede by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Suede by eye

This is a finish, not a type of leather. The flesh surface of the leather is touched up by an emery wheel. This brings up the fibres and gives a ‘nappy’ texture.

Leather identification – Patent leather

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Patent by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Patent by eye

Leather that has been treated to form a glossy coat. Originally with a linseed oil preparation, it is now more likely to be some form of resin.

Leather identification – Single colour pigment

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Single pigment colour by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Single pigment colour by eye

This is leather that has a coat of pigment of a single colour and that has been finished with a clear coat of lacquer.

Leather identification – Two tone leather

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Two tone by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Two tone by eye

This is leather that has multiple colours of pigment applied. For example a simple two tone leather re colour my be a Chesterfield.

Leather identification – Antique effect finish leather

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Antique effect finish by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Antique effect finish by eye

Along the same lines as two tone leather. Personally, I can’t see why they are referred to with different terms. But there it is.

Leather identification – Vinyl

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Vinyl by microscope top view

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Vinyl by microscope top view black

Leather identification in pictures

Vinyl underneath by eye

Leather identification in pictures

Vinyl by eye

So not a leather, but some can look very like leather! Essentially a Polyester scrim with a PVC coating. Very common, and can be treated almost like leather, in terms of cleaning if the correct products are used.

Leather identification – Bi cast

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – bi cast by eye

Leather identification in pictures

Leather identification in pictures – Bi cast by microscope

Leather identification in pictures

Bi cast by microscope- side view

This is essentially a piece of split leather that has been glued to a piece of plastic. It can be treated as leather in terms of cleaning and protecting. However, as soon as it starts to degrade, it has pretty much had it. Repairs are futile. As soon as it has started degrading, it will just carry on in another location.

Microfibre

Microfiber is spelled depending upon where you come from. Microfibre in the UK.

It is essentially very thin fibre made out of polyesters & polyamides mainly.

Usually finer than one denier. I am putting this here, just because leather cleaning/repair technicians will at some point come across a client that will swear blind it is leather.

This is what it looks like under the scope, and from a distance. Both are the same piece.

Microfibre by microscope

Microfibre by microscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microfibre by eye

Microfibre by eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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