Full Grain Leather – What is it? – Black Jack Leathers

Full Grain Leather – What is it?

Full-grain leather is the most genuine form of leather that can be worn as it is the type that has undergone the minimum processing. It is a form of leather in which only the hairs are removed from the skin of the subject and the hide is put into the tanning process without removing the marks on the hide which makes it look natural as it contains the most natural specifications and characteristics of leather, making it one of the most durable forms of leather. This type of leather is not buffed, or sanded and thus is the best choice for vintage leather lovers.

With time, oxidization of the leather creates a patina over it which makes it stronger and looks more vintage. A subtle finish of breathable coating is applied over the leather while still keeping the basic grain of the leather transparent. Unlike other forms of leather which are treated and processed a lot, the most natural and durable form of leather is the full-grain leather which often comes with an aniline finish. It is said that the full-grain leather carrier the whole life story of an animal’s hide as it contains all of the cars and bruises which an animal gets on its hide during its lifetime. This is also one of the major reasons behind the large-scale popularity of full grain leather.

The Look of Full grain leather:

When it comes to looks, full-grain leather has both opponents and proponents. As this type of leather does not contain a structured pattern due to the transparent basic grain of the hide, it contains some blemish patterns that are not structured but give a mesmerizing classical look to the outfit. Another interesting thing about the look of the full-grain leather is that it changes its looks slightly as it ages. Thanks to one of the most desirable looks of patina, the more full-grain leather are used, the higher the patina develops and adds to the beauty of the leather wear. Patina is the wear and tear of the leather as it ages and the development of dust and oil etc from the environment over the; leather and its fusion with the outer layer of the leather. As this type of leather is treated and processed at a very less magnitude, one can see the small pores, lines, and even hair follicles over the hide when watched through some magnifying object. Keeping it short, if you like to have a classical look with vintage style aniline-finished leather, just go for an outfit made up of full grain leather as you don’t have a better second option for this.

Another fact about the looks of the full-grain leather is that it carries the most natural look among all the types of leather as it is not corrected for the rough patterns that it might carry. Therefore full-grain leather might have a few faded lines over its structure which might origin back to an accident that the animal faced in its life. So it is a vintage form of leather that carries the most classical look for its customers.

Uppers made up of Full grain leather:

An upper could be regarded as the outer part of a show or a dress which we wear. For a jacket, an upper is an outer layer while if it is a shoe, the upper represents the part of the shoe above the sole. When it comes to durability, the overall fabric of a show or jacket is considered but as the upper part of the wearable is visible only, we only consider the quality and design of the upper while deciding on the looks of leather wear. So if you are looking for leatherwear that can make you stand out in the crowd and give you a look you desire, you must carefully select the upper quality and design of your leather wear. The global demand for leatherwear is expected to increase by 2026 as the global consumers have shown keen interest in goods made up of leather upper. Specifically, the fashion industry has uplifted the demand for leather wallets, shoes, and jackets while the public trends have also followed the same pattern.

Origin of the full-grain leather:

As far as the source of full grain leather is concerned, it comes from the hide of the animals such as cows, goats, sheep, alligators, ostriches, kangaroos, and pigs, etc. However, the fact which distinguishes it from the rest of the leather types is that it is the skin of the animals from which only the hairs are removed and it is put for the tanning. This makes it one of the most durable leathers as the skin atoms are tightly combined with each other as they are on the body of an animal because the hide is subject to the lowest processing in this type of leather. It should also be kept in mind that the choice of the full-grain leather depends upon the personal preferences of the customers as some the customers want to wear the stuff made up of leather from exotic animals such as alligators while others prefer to wear cattle skin which is also the most common type of hiding used to make full-grain leather.


Process of making Full grain leather:

As discussed earlier, full-grain leather is very near to nature and is thus subject to three simple processes for its making which are preparation, tanning, and crusting. Depending upon the choice, a fourth step of finishing or surface coating may also be added in the process. A detailed description of these processes is as under:

Preparation of the full-grain leather:

The following steps are included in the preparation of the full-grain leather:

  • In the first step, the skin is treated to make it rot-proof or imputrescible through applying certain substances which tend to preserve the hide for long-term usage. If this step is not performed with care and due diligence, the resultantly made product often fails to survive long in the wardrobes of the customers so before buying any leather product, check on the quality standards of the vendor.
  • After preservation, it is then subject to soaking and rehydrating.
  • The rehydrated skin is then dipped into an alkali solution for making it free from natural proteins, grease, and fats, and the process is called liming the hide. This is done to clean the skin at the initial level and to make it healthy to wear.
  • In the fourth step o preparation, the hairs and subcutaneous beneath the skin are removed along with the removal of fats.
  • After this, comes the process of splitting the hide into multiple horizontal layers and this is the process where different layers of leather such as full-grain leather (the topmost layers) and the corium layers are obtained. Where the top layer is used to make full-grain leather, the corium layer is used to make suede and genuine leather.
  • After obtaining multiple layers the topmost layer is separated from the others and is again put into the process of liming and de-liming in which another round of removing the unwanted chemicals and proteins
  • Afterward, the pelt is softened by putting in proteolysis proteins such as papain, a serine protease, and thrombin while some of the unwanted proteins are removed through bating the hide.
  • After this, the hide goes through the process of slicking in which the fat from inside the skins is removed.
  • Finally, the hid is bleached and the pH level is reduced to the acidic area through the process of pickling. It is done to facilitate the tanning process as it helps certain chemicals to penetrate the hide. If needed, the hide can also be de-pickled to increase the pH level of the hide for penetration of certain other elements.


Once the hide is prepared, it is then passed through the process of tanning to prevent it from putrefying and to shift it to a more stable look from being a rawhide. Although there are multiple ways of tanning the leather and the choice depends upon the desired leather type but the most common chemical used for tanning the leather is chromium. The following are the major steps of the tanning process:

  • The prepared hide is put into large rotating drums which contain the tanning chemical liquid and the hide is soaked into that liquid, as the drums rotate, the chemical reaches every part of the hide and makes it capable of being worn.
  • The next process is basification in which the pH level of the hide inside the tanning drum is increased once an even level of penetration of the liquid within the hide is acquired. The purpose of this process is to fix the tanning chemical over the hide which will increase the life of the leather along with its durability and bring shine to the upper of the leather.

Tanning is a very major process within the processing of the full-grain leather as it generated the final look and quality of the leather hide and is thus done with greater care to keep the instinct of the leather in place while at the same time increasing the freshness and durability of the leather.

Crusting of leather:

Crusting is a process that contains multiple processes such as re-tanning, lubricating, and thinning the leather. If someone wants to color the leather, it is also done at the time of crusting the leather, and in the process of leather crusting; the chemicals to be added have to be fixed in a place. Following sub-process may also be performed at this stage:

  • Spraying.
  • Embossing.
  • Buffing.
  • Glazing.
  • Oiling.
  • Padding.
  • Brushing.

As crusting is the final process in treating the full-grain leather, it should also be performed with great care and an eye towards the details as any lack in this stage will remain within the look, quality, and appearance of the leather for its life. After the crusting of leather, it becomes more soft and sleek and catches the eye of the customers. If crusting is not properly performed on leather, it can result in diminishing the natural look of the leather while the corrected look may also not develop due to the wrong crusting of the leather. It is thus recommended to choose the vendor of your leather wear wisely.

Sources of Full-grain Leather:

Leather is one of the most sought wearable stuff around the globe and it also enjoys the perk of being wearable in almost all seasons. From pants and jackets to shoes, leather is used and found in multiple; products such as watch straps, wallets, belts, and briefcases, etc. With the use of leather outfits by celebrities and sportspersons, the requirement for leatherwear has increased in the past few decades and fashion-oriented products are increasingly using leather now.

The largest importers of full grain leather are Italy, China, Mexico, and the USA while all of these countries are quite major ones in the list of global powers, and the fashion industries of these countries are also among the global leaders. So it can be reasonably be argued that the future of the fashion industry could be discussed without bringing in the discussion on leather goods.

As far as the sources of leather are concerned, the top four leather producing countries are China, Brazil, Russia, and India respectively but if you want o buy leather stuff for yourself or any loved one, you don’t need to visit that country to do so as the e-commerce has facilitated you for you can now buy the stuff of your choice by visiting www.zzzz.com where we are offering amazing and durable leatherwear at very affordable prices.

Pebbled leather:

Pebbled leather is a type of leather that has a fractious pebbled-shaped texture and structure on it and it can be both natural and faux leather. Pebbled leather has a very unique texture appearance which makes it best suited for designer wear while it also is more scratch resistant as compared to other types of leathers. The surface of pebbled leather is pressed with a texture that has a round or hexagonal shape and this gives the leather a bumpy surface having the same round of hexagonal texture. As the texture needs to be pressed over the surface of the leather, it requires soft leather and is best applied over them. The structure of the texture is also not symmetrical and is a random one which makes any scars or scratches over the surface of the leather go unnoticeable.

Pebble leather surface is found usually in vegan, faux or natural leathers. There also happens to be that sometimes natural leather develops scars and marks on it and is not useable for the fine finished products and is thus gone through the process of pebbling to remove the marks and scars from the hide and make it useable in this category.

If natural leather is being used in the pebbling process, it might be the full-grain leather, which is the strongest part of the hide, or I can be the split leather which is a layer of the original hide’s splits. But whatever is the case, the pebbling enhances the looks of leather and makes it durable by protecting it from bruises and scratches.

Pebbling is a very common and easy process and is used by many designers to give mesmerizing looks to their leather wear. The process is quite simple as it only involves stamping the leather hide with the pebbled structure. There are a lot of product ranges made-up of pebbled leather such as bags, shoes, jackets, luggage, backpacks, and other upholstery.

Burnished Leather:

Burnishing is a process in which the leather is given an antiquing effect with a variety of shades, contrasting and rubbed off appearance over the leather. The basic theme of this process is to apply friction and pressure over the surface of the leather which gives it a smooth and soft texture along with a variable color scheme while eth variations are contrasted. The edges of the leather are sometimes burnished using metals on spinning disks which rotate to burnish the leather.

Although the burnishing technique could be applied to the whole layers of leather most of the time, it is done on the edges to give the edges of raw leather a smooth, sealed, and sleeked finishing touch. When burnishing is done at the edges through metal, it causes friction and the heat produced from this friction tends to smooth the edges. Burnishing could be done both by hand and through using a beveling machine and some other tool such as sandpaper of appropriate friction. Although the machine burnishing is time-saving and less costly, the hand burnished leather has its perks such as an eye to the details and a tag of “hand-burnished leather” over the product. The type of burnishing also depends upon the type of leather and the choice of the products which is to be made from that leather.

Oiled Full grain leather:

The process of oiling the leather is most of the time associated with the full-grain aniline leather and is meant to make the leather water-resistant along with making it flexible and soft enough to be used for long-term wearing purposes. The basic concept behind this process is to let the leather hydrate in the oil which could be a raw oil such as un-emulsified oil or emulsified oil and some tranches of a catalyst that can aid the penetration of the oil into the leather. The oiling process increases the durability of the leather and is best suited for the leather that is to be used for heavy-duty purposes. It makes the leather sturdy yet supple and gives it a natural, relaxed and rugged look. Another advantage o foiling full-grain leather is that it makes leather self-sufficient and requires minimum maintenance while the longevity and durability of such full-grain leather are hugely increased.

Oiling further has two types, leather can be hand brushed with oil or a machine could be used to oil the leather. The oiling by hands refers to the application of fragrant oils on leather such as pine oil so that the natural smell of the leather may be reduced by the fragrant smell.

Tumbled full-grain leather:

Whenever someone decided to buy leather products whether it is a jacket, shoes, or leather seat for a car, the first thing one does is to check the leather by hand to check if the leather is hard or soft and whether it has natural characteristics or not. Keeping a balance between the natural content and softening the leather is an art and only a great tanner experienced in one’s work can achieve this balance. The softening o the leather is done by a process known as the tumbling of leather. A narrow, high, rotating barrel is used to perform the rotating movement on leather to make the fibers of the leather soft enough to be worn for the long term. While drying the leather, the layers of leather stick together and become stiff which needs to be softened and thus this is a necessary process on treating the full-grain leather. There are shirt rods within the barrels which ensure and reinforced the movement of the leather within the drum. The more carefully leather is tumbled, the softer it becomes and the more amazing it looks when worn. It is once again recommended that before deciding to buy leather stuff for yourself and your loved ones, always do your research on the vendor as the processing of leather is all that matters in the durability, longevity, and gracious looks of the leather stuff in your wardrobe.

Maintenance of full grain leather:

One of the best things about full-grain leather is that it requires very minimal maintenance and sometimes only wiping out your leather wear with a wet cloth is enough as it removes all of the dust and particle from the leather wear. However, it should be noted with the care that the leather wear should be kept inappropriately in most environments in which the leather can maintain its required hydration. It should also be ensured that the leather wear should be kept away from dryers and radiators as these things can damage the grace of the leatherwear and can dry the upper of the leather which can make it worse.

Protection of full grain leather:

The protection of full grain leather has two steps, in the first step some of the lubricants and protection oils are applied at the time of the preparation of leather by the manufacturer and this helps the full-grain leather in keeping the moisture and natural oils from escaping and drying up the upper of the leather. The second protection is to be offered by the consumer using the leather protectors and this can be done by keeping the leather products at the recommended temperature and moisture level. If a leather product is exposed to too much heat or is not properly kept in the wardrobes, it can end up drying out and the upper layer of the leather peeling off the skin. Following are some of the steps that can be ensured to keep the full-grain leather products protected:

  • The products should be regularly exposed to air.
  • Regular cleaning of leather products with a soft cloth or a soft brush can increase their life.
  • Leather products should be left to dry out naturally instead of using artificial heat of dryers etc.
  • Leather conditioner should be applied to the leather products as per the choice of the consumer.

Waterproofing of full grain leather:

Leather can be made waterproof using some synthetic techniques and products but it is purely on the choice f the consumer to make it waterproof or not. Full-grain leather, during its preparation, is made water-resistant but is not completely waterproof, and excessive exposure to water can exonerate its shine and grace. So if a person has major exposure to rain or water, it is recommended that the leather wear used by that person should be made waterproof using the following techniques:

  • A cup of extra virgin olive oil, a medium-sized pan of cold water, 2 ounces of beer wax are all added to a glass jar.
  • The mixture is heated over a stove until the broken pieces of bear wax are completely dissolved into the water mixture.
  • Let the solution cool for 10 to 20 minutes while keep on stirring the mixture.
  • After cooling, the mixture would be stiffened and this mixture is now ready to be applied to the leather to create a waterproof layer of this protection.

Before applying the mixture, it is recommended that the practice should be tested over a particular area of the leather products as doing so may decrease the natural appeal of the products and the consumer might not like the final products. It should also be noted that the full-grain leather can never be made 100% waterproof and there is always a chance of water absorption so prevention is better than cure in this case too.

Is full-grain leather long-lasting?

Full-grain leather-based wear can last for decades in your wardrobe depending upon your level of care and maintenance. Full-grain leather is extremely durable and has very long-lasting characteristics as compared to fiber. As full-grain leather is the best quality of the leather that your money can buy, it has the most of the natural content in it as it comes from the top layer of the hide and has gone through the least treatment thus maintaining the natural contents in it. Unlike other forms of fabrics, full-grain leather strengthens with time as it goes through the process of burnishing and its appearance also enhances with its age, So it can be reasonably be argued that full-grain leather is one of the materials that strengthens with age instead of going through wear and tear process.

However, all these strengths and robustness defend how it is maintained and if it is not taken care of in a proper manner, the whole natural grace of the leather goes off within a matter of years instead of lasting decades.

The thickness of Full grain leather:

The thickness of full grain leather depends upon the way it has been treated and from where it is been obtained and there is no thumb rule for measuring the thickness of the full-grain leather. The thickness also depends upon the number of layers a hide has been split in. However, the thickness of full grain leather is not a factor that can determine its strengths and even a thin hide can be a string as a thick hide depending upon its sources. In general, however, a full-grain leather thickness rests around 10mm. Due to having a very tight layer grain structure, full-grain leather is much more durable and long-lasting than the other layers of leather.

So if you are interested in getting a super cool leather product for you made of full grain leather, spend your time on factors like color selection, rightful size, finishing, and tanning quality instead of focusing on the thickness because it doesn’t matter much.

Corrected leather vs. full-grain leather:

Corrected leather as its name suggests is a top layer of the leather that has been corrected by applying buffing techniques for removing the natural scares such as insect bites and bruises from a leather upper while the full-grain leather is left in its most natural form without doing any correcting practice over it. For example, if a buffalo has run into a fence, its hide would have the scratches of that incident, and any products made of the hide of that buffalo’s full-grain leather will clearly show the scars of the fence incident. On the other hand, if a brand is making leatherwear out of that buffalo’s leather, it will out the hide into a correcting practice where buffing will be done to remove the scars and an artificial grain with logo will be imposed on the leather resulting in much more soft leather which will have a much uniform pattern and design as compete for the full-grain leather.

The appearance of both of these leathers is a lot different as full-grain leather is in a raw form having natural scars, bruises, and an overall more natural appeal while the corrected leather has an appeal of sophisticated stuff that has been treated properly due to which it loses its natural appeal and instinct.

Blended/bonded leather:

Banded leather or bonded leather is made by taking scraps of genuine leather or full-grain leather and pressing them together, thus forming a sheet of leather that is much less durable than genuine leather while is also a cheap option. Where full-grain leather contains natural grain and there is no artificial integration of the hide, the blended or bonded leather is the one in which an artificial grain is given to the different blends of the leather scraps which have been combined through synthetic techniques and pressing them together.

Bonded leather is not a good option to buy for everyone and is only feasible if you are looking for cheap stuff that you intend to wear for a short term such as an event or so. It is also used for making wear that is to be used for one-time risky tasks such as bike racing in which there is a risk of the leather wear being damaged due to accidents etc. Apart from its quality, the appearance of this leather is also not consistent with genuine leather and has a much lesser visual appeal for the viewers.

Leather splits vs. full-grain or top grain leather:

Full-grain leather, being the most natural form of leather, is the part of the animal hide which is meant to protect it from nature and is thus very durable and strong. It has the natural scars and bruises which animal gets in their lifetime and is sometimes subject to a softening and buffing process to remove or fade the scars and scratches from the leather. In this form of leather, nothing has been split up and all of the layers of the leather are intact while only hairs are removed and the rest is subject to a very minor treatment.

On contrary, leather splits are the layers of the leather that have been splitter off the hide and are mostly from the bottom part of the animal hide. Once the top grain is separated from the rawhide, the lower part which is fibrous one is split off to make a new layer of leather which is known as split leather. Due to being less stretchable, it does not meet the quality standard of the full-grain leather which is far most durable and strong. Naturally, split leather has a very rough texture and this is why it requires very heavy pigmentation to make it smooth enough to be worn and it is also referred to as “suede” leather.

Full-grain leather vs. genuine leather:

A lot has been written on what full-gain leather is and what are its traits so now it’s time to explore what genuine leather is. Genuine leather is a very vast term that is used for anything that contains leather so technically; genuine leather can be split leather, suede leather, full-grain leather, or any other form of leather that technically is leather. The tag of genuine leather has resulted in many consumers paying high prices for the products which do not warrant such prices in actual but the tag of genuine leather makes the consumer think that the leather they are going to buy is of very high quality. It also needs to be understood that there is no fake leather and a matter could either be leather or it could not be. The actual discrimination that needs to be understood byte the consumer is between the qualities of leather.

For example, if you want to get the best quality leather that has a natural touch, you need to go for full-grain leather and in case you need to get the same quality but with a modern touch and soft texture, you can go for corrected leather. In case you are in a need of medium quality leather at an affordable price, suede leather is the best option for you and if you want to go for the cheap price and compromised quality, you can get blended/bonded leather wear.

The best leather product for you:

We hope that you have read all of the information about the full-grain leather and its comparison with the other types of leather and by now you probably have made up your mind to get yourself a leather product. Before finalizing your decision, we invite you to look up at some of the best leather that we have crafted for you by sourcing some of the best full grain leather from across the globe and getting it treated by the top industry experts who have given the leather its most exciting touch and have crafted some of the top class designer products for you. Our products are long-lasting, made up of genuine full-grain leather, are durable, and have the best design which is right per the trending fashions prevalent in the industry around the globe. Moreover, our prices have been kept very affordable as we are on a mission to bring the leather products under the affordability zone of every person around the globe. Just scroll through some of the best collections of our product and get yourself the leather wear you deserve.


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