The care and restoration of leather upholstery often begin with identifying its tanning types and finishes, so that we keep them accordingly as they are.  A more accurate assessment is to inspect the sample swatch or unused hidden areas than the worn areas.  Cleaning code P, A & N is often designated for these leathers.  P for pigmented, A for aniline, and N for nubuck.  Note that vegetable-tanning types are more fat liquor-thirsty than the common chrome-tanned leathers and may be easily recognized by their brownish color range cross-section.  The typical chrome-tanned crust color of pigmented leather is bluish-grey.

Aniline Leather is typically dye-through with a transparent dyestuff and had the reverse suede side having the same color range.  An undyed center cross-section is not a true dye-through and is of a poorer quality that may not respond well when dyestuff needs to be activated to rectify sun fading.  Smooth aniline leathers come in premium ‘full aniline’ from natural full-grain leathers where the color is more consistent and would be a very expensive piece.  The ‘Sauvage aniline’ version will have the natural color variation shown through including healing marks and scars from the growing animal.  Both Full and Sauvage aniline would typically have a gloss finish to further amplify and magnify the beauty of the natural grains.  Semi-Aniline is often mistaken for Full-Aniline as the natural color transparency is compromised with an opaque micro-pigment to conceal color variation and looks artificially perfect in appearance.  Satin luster level is common among these semi-aniline or micro-pigmented leathers as they are halfway between the gloss luster aniline and the matte luster pigmented leathers.  Aniline Waxy as the name suggests would have a soft waxy feel with a matte luster without the pull-up effect.  Typical pull-up fashion effects for upholstery are mostly wax.  These Wax Pull-up leathers when pull or stretch lighten up and with often use the effect diminishes.  A more accurate identification is often from the reverse cushion or hidden areas.

Pigmented Leathers are leathers that receive an opaque coloring that blocks off the leather crust both in monotone and two-tone.  Monotone pigmented leather would have its typical matte luster to differentiate from the simulated, vinyl, or faux leathers.  The two-tone fashion variety includes classic antiquing and a myriad of finishing including, tipping, wiping, marbling, molted, kela, pearlescent, metallic, etc.  Most of these two-tone finishes secondary are easily removed from friction wear and aggressive cleaning.  Positive identification would need to bring it back to its originality without making a pariah out of them.

Nubuck Leathers are aniline leathers that have their smooth surface removed to reveal fine writing effect naps.  They are also known as ‘Velvet Suede’ however their reverse side will show the typical coarser suede fiber.

Split-Suede is typically the second layer where the leather is slid to its desired thickness for upholstery making.  These leathers would have both sides suede, however, the finer side with a higher density is usually used on the outside. The only difference when comes to cleaning is the use of the proper tools like the brush and eraser to make the naps or piles.

Vegetable-Tanned Leathers,  the name suggests, are tanned from tannin derived from vegetables and plants and are more pH sensitive than the typical soft chrome-tanned leathers.  The cross-section is typical of a lighter brown color range when new and takes on a darker brown when aged or easily sun-tanned responding to UV light just like our lighter-colored skins.  They may be Naked Unfinished or known as Vachetta, finished with a clear urethane topcoat known as ‘Finish’ or simply colored with an opaque pigmented known as Pigmented. Besides being sensitive to sunlight that takes on a darker color, it is pH sensitive, and most often water browns it with discoloration.  Especially the Naked Unfinished oftentimes behaves like a litmus paper with a higher pH value the darker the stain will be.

They are also more fatliquor thirsty and when becoming wet and quickly dry will be stiffer and when flexed crack.  It will need more fatliquor as compared to the chrome-tanned types to return to its original suppleness.

Hair-on-Hide is typically hair still on the hide after tanning like zebra, pony, cow, and various cow-prints often easily recognizable.

Skin is typical skin of a python or other exotic animal.

Bicast is just like our laminated flooring, a photographic film laminated onto a split suede.  Problems are often associated with stickiness and peeling.

You may show some good pictures and we will help identify them before you proceed with the desired care and restoration.

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