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Leather Doctor

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UPHOLSTERY leather care kits

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

ANILINE – Aniline is a transparent dyestuff and is typically a dye through leather that had the reverse suede side having the same color range. An un-dyed center cross section is not a true dye-through and is of a poorer quality that may not response well when dyestuff need 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 show 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 half way between the gloss luster aniline and the matte luster pigmented leathers. ‘Aniline Waxy’ as the name suggest would have a soft waxy feel with a matte luster without the pull-up effect. Typical pull-up fashion effect 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 – These are leathers that receive an opaque coloring that blocks off the leather crust both in monotone and two-tone. Monotone pigmented leather would have their typical matte luster to differentiate from the simulated, vinyl or faux leathers. The two-tone fashion variety includes the 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 wears and aggressive cleaning. Positive identification would need to bring it back to its originality without making a pariah out of them.

NUBUCK – These 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 – These split suede are typically the second layers where the leather is slide 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 used of the proper tools like the brush and eraser to make the naps or piles.

VEGETABLE-TANNED – As the name suggest, they are tanned from tannin derives from vegetable and plants and are more pH sensitive than the typical soften 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 sensitive to sunlight that takes on a darker color, it is pH sensitive and most often water brown it with discoloration. Especially the ‘Naked Unfinished’ often times behaves like a litmus paper with a higher a pH value the darker the stain will be.

They are also more fatliquor thirsty and will often dries quicker, stiff and when flexed cracks. It will need more fatliquor as compared to the chrome-tanned types to return to its original suppleness.

HAIR-ON – Typical hair-on leathers are ‘Zebra’, ‘Pony’, ‘Cow’ and various ‘Cow-Prints’ often easily recognizable.

SKIN – Typical skin are ‘Python’

BICAST – These are just like our laminated flooring, a photographic film laminated onto a split suede. Problem often associated with are stickiness and peeling.

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