Leather Finishing is the process that determines the final appearance of the surface of the leather and its properties no matter what type of leather is in question. The process is long, technical, complex, and takes highly skilled professionals to carry out this task. Dying, waterproofing, treatment with oils and wax dressings are a few steps that are involved in the process. As well as, the mechanical processing steps such as ironing or embossing of the leather also take place before finalizing the product and calling it ok for selling and purchasing.
The main purpose of finishing is to make the leather more durable, smooth, stain-resistant and to some extent water-repellent. An extremely thin layer of a binder pigment mixture is applied to the surface of the leather with utmost skill and technique while avoiding any permanent damage to the leather. The mixture may vary in color as well as characteristics as per the type of leather as they react differently to the chemicals i.e. cowhide. Sheepskin, full grain or top grain, etc. These color coats or dyes are basically called finish or pigmentation.
Every leather product that you buy is pigmented which makes it last for a long time while looking as good as new. Initially, only the accessories that are roughly used were finished using dyes and chemicals such as motorcycle jackets, military leather costumes, etc but now we see leisure jackets, shoes, car interior, couches, and bags with vegetable or chrome finishing to make them smooth and resistant.
How To Get A Distressed Look On Leather When Finishing?
Distressed Leather is basically the Aniline dyed leather that has the signs of artificially worn and aged appearance. This type of leather has the natural characteristics of the animal hide such as scars, stretch marks, scratches, and wrinkles. Generally, these imperfections might be considered unappealing but when it comes to leather, these are considered a positive characteristic.
Aniline leather can safely be said as the most luxurious leather and there are many reasons for it, one being extremely soft to the touch. As we’re all aware that the leather is a natural material and comes from animal skin which means that different parts of the hide absorb different amounts of aniline dye, which explains lots of different shade variations. As the process is very complexed and the grains are fully exposed during the process, only the finest of the hides can be made into aniline. The mixture that is used for aniline finishing aims to expose more of the natural colorings and patterns of the leather such as the marks and wrinkles. And if looked closely, even the pores are visible for a distressed look.
How Do You Finish Leather Edges?
Finishing the leather edges takes a lot of time and requires advanced techniques. It could be pretty time-consuming but it’s absolutely essential to turn a leather product into a piece of pure art. Leather is a delicate material that is very likely to be damaged if not handled properly. This is why most of the processing is done by hands instead of machines. That also explains why the cost of leather apparel and other accessories is super high.
The finishing of the leather edges is done by skilled artisans using special tools. Vegetable oil, a slicker, leather conditioner, paper towel, and sandpaper are some of the tools that are used in finishing the leather edges.
What Is The Most Durable Leather Finishing?
Leather finishing is essential to turn animal hide into a fashion product that lasts for a long time. There are a number of finishing techniques on different leather types accordingly and they’re all aimed to make it more durable and appealing. Not only does finishing protect the leather surface against water or heat damage but also gives off a gloss while enriching the leather colors. Some of the most popular leather finishing techniques are:
- Aniline Finish
- Semi-Aniline Finish
- Pigmented Full Grain Leather
- Pull-Up Leather
- Embossed Leather
- Dry Milled Leather
- Patent Leather
Aniline-finished leather is considered the most durable because the leather used in this process is of the best quality as not all hides can handle complex chemical mixtures. The final product is extremely durable, smooth, luxurious, and irresistible.