Leather Information and Care

Cowhides are thick enough to be split into two or three layers of leather. The uppermost layer, or top grain, is the most desirable. The lower layers, or splits, are used to make corrected leathers and suedes. Virtually all of the hides used by Bradington-Young are the highest quality top-grain leathers. Top-grain leathers exhibit natural markings and reflect the essence of leather in its natural, unaltered and unprocessed state. Natural shade and grain variations should be expected in all top- grain leathers.

Most of our suppliers, including Bradington-Young, offer three main types of leathers. Their leather selection includes: Pure Aniline Leathers, Finished Leathers and Nu-Buk leathers. Within the category of finished leathers, They include some semi-aniline leathers with a protective topcoat. And within the aniline category, They include some “pull-up” leathers, a style of leather with a wax or oil-based color applied after finishing.

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Hickory White
Hickory White


General Glossary of Leather Terminology

Aniline Dyed: Process of coloring leathers throughout using transparent nontoxic dyes.
Corrected Grain: Leather on which the outer surface of the grain has been lightly removed by sanding.
Crocking: Transferring of a color or finish from leather to other materials by rubbing or abrasion.
Drum Dyed: Dyeing process in which leather is immersed in dye and tumbled in a rotating drum, thus ensuring maximum dye penetration.
Embossing: To create a motif or texture on the leather by impressing a pattern on the surface of the hide.
Fat Wrinkle: Natural wrinkles in the leather grain that are part of the unique beauty.
Finishing: Any processing performed after the initial dyeing such as waxing, milling, spraying, buffing, etc.
Full Aniline: Leather receiving its color from dyes, however may receive a topical stain, wax, and/or water repellent.
Full Grain: The outer layer taken from the hair side of the hide which nothing except the hair and surface debris have been removed.
Hand Antiqued: The process of hand rubbing a contrasting color onto the surface of the leather to accentuate the natural grain or embossing.
Milling: Process in which tanned hides are tumbled in rotating drums to soften the hand or enhance the grain.
Natural Grain: Leather whose grain has not been altered in any way and the natural appearance of the grain is apparent.
Nubuk Aniline: A top grain aniline dyed leather with a “suede-like” nap effect created by removing the top hair cell layer through a buffing process.
Patina: A surface luster that develops over time and with use on pure anilines and nubuks and grows more beautiful over time.
Pigmented: A leather whose surface is coated with a material containing pigment or other opaque materials.
Protected Aniline: Leather that has been aniline dyed and slightly pigmented with a clear top coat.
Pull-Up: Refers to leather that derives its colors from dyes, waxes and/or oils.
Pure Aniline: Leather which receives all its color from dyes only and exhibits natural markings and characteristics.
Tanning: Process of converting a raw hide into a stable, non-perishable state.
Top Coat: Synthetic transparent resins applied as a protective coating producing either a high gloss or matte finish.

Definition of “Hallmark Leathers”

Leather is a naturally beautiful product which has distinguishing characteristics. Like any natural product, leather is not perfect. Perfect items are man made and can be exactly duplicated, leather however can not be exactly duplicated. Leather will have markings which distinguish each hide and should not be considered "defects". These markings should be viewed as character or termed “Hallmarks of the trail” versus "defects".

Natural markings will include insect bites, resulting in tiny scars on the hides; scratches, generally the result of barbed wire fencing; manure/urine burns; neck burns, generally the result of scratching on the rails of fencing; open wound healed scars, the result of repaired tears in the hides; and brands, symbolism seared into the cattle's hide to indicate ownership.

Bradington-Young's extensive line of leathers includes leathers that are considered "Hallmark Leathers". These leathers will include some or all of the above mentioned natural markings. Anything too excessive will not be allowed into inside seating areas of their furniture. All Natural markings should be accepted and appreciated when choosing one of their leathers labeled as “Hallmark”.

Pure Aniline Leathers

These leathers come from the finest selection of hides and generally are the most expensive, pristine and least processed. Aniline dyes permeate the hide completely and add transparent color but offer no protection from fading or staining. Pure aniline leathers are a good choice if you strive for the finer things in life and appreciate rare, natural beauty. Pure aniline appeals to the senses and offers a sensational, soft hand. Each pure aniline hide has its own natural characteristics such as color shading, scars and even brandings, making each hide unique. While pure aniline leather is buttery soft and will age beautifully, it may not be the best choice for an active family room because of its lack of stain protection.

Within the category of anilines, we offer some pull-up leathers. This is a style of leather that has a wax or oil-based color applied after finishing. Where it is pulled, the color is lighter. It makes for a mottled, aged appearance, somewhat like a bomber jacket. Pull-up leathers also offer outstanding durability.

Aniline leathers are the closest to a pure and natural form. These leathers are tanned and colored with transparent dyes exclusively. The transparent dying process allows you to see the rich color hues unique to each hide and shows off each hide’s one of a kind grain pattern. The rarest of Aniline leathers reflect the unaltered full top grain of the surface and have a remarkable skin-like feeling. Aniline leathers can also be made to highlight effects such as wax or oil pull-up, pebble grains, sauvages or distressing.

Hand: Excellent
Sun Sensitive: Yes
Cleanability: Moderate

Aniline-Plus leathers are quite simply aniline leathers PLUS a slight protective coating. This protective coating can be light pigmentation, staining, or a protective top-coat. These leathers offer the hand of an aniline while adding a slight coat of protection. These leathers are more affected by the harmful rays of the sun simply because they are not as heavily protected as finished leathers.

Hand: Excellent
Cleanability: Moderate

Finished Leathers

Finished leathers are a good choice if you expect the most out of life and demand high performance from the products you own. Finished leathers have outstanding durability and are great for energetic families. With finished leathers, the color is more uniform throughout the hide and the hand may be less soft than with aniline leathers. Finished leathers account for the majority of leather sold today, and offer value pricing.

Finished leathers are practical for active households. These types of leathers are finished to provide resistance to staining and offer overall color consistency within a hide. These leathers are less affected by the harmful rays of the sun. Compared to other leather types, Finished Leathers generally require much lower maintenance.

Hand: Variable
Cleanability: Excellent

Within the finished leather category, some of our manufacturers offer some semi-aniline leathers, top-grain leathers that offer the best of both worlds. They have the soft buttery feel and quality of pure anilines, but the addition of protection and clean ability. Semi-aniline leathers have the protection of a clear sealant topcoat. As with pure anilines, you might see scars, tick bites or even branding marks, as well as color variations.

Bycast Leathers

Bycast leathers have a very unique appeal. This type of leather is created by applying a polyurethane coating to either a split or a top grain hide. Bycast leathers can be made in heavy or light pull-ups, pebble grains, hand-wiped effects or distressed effects. Because Bycast leathers are coated with a polyurethane finish they are very sensitive to light and heat.

Hand: Moderate
Sun Sensitive: Yes
Cleanability: Moderate

Nu-buk Leathers

Nu-buk is a pure aniline, top-grain leather that has been buffed for softness to produce a very fine nap. It is more beautiful, durable and much softer than suede. Shade, grain and color variations should be expected throughout the hide. Nu-buk is a good choice if you want to make a fashion statement and enjoy luxurious textures with a sensuous appearance.

Nubuk leathers have the most varied and unique textures of all leathers. As soon as you sit down and feel the surface, you will know why people love Nubuk. These leathers are also dyed with transparent dyes, but the surface grain is machined with fine brushes to create the texture and famous Nubuk effect. It is almost like having a velvet leather. This effect gives the leather color depth and shading not found in any other type. Nubuk leathers can be made to create many different looks, from the most formal and refined to rugged casual.

Hand: Excellent
Sun Sensitive: Yes
Cleanability: Moderate

Leather Cleaning Information

General Tips

  • Try to maintain at least two feet between your furniture and heating sources.
  • Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight. All materials will fade over time when placed in direct sunlight. Take extra precautions to safeguard Aniline, Nubuk and Bycast leathers from sunlight.
  • Like all items in your house, leather will accumulate dust. Vacuum on a weekly basis to keep the dust particles from settling in the grain of the leather.
  • All leathers perform better when preventative maintenance is practiced.

Leather Type: Aniline Pull Up or Wax Pull Up
The ultimate in natural leather! Full grain leather that receives its color from aniline dyes only, and has very little or no topical applications. A touch of dramatic color and rugged natural charm! Full grain aniline leather that derives its color from dyes. When leather is pulled, the oils and/or the waxes in the leather cause the color to dissipate and become lighter in the areas which are pulled tight. Pull up leathers are anilines that have a wax and/or oil application.

Leather Type: Protected
Leather Type: Protected, Characteristics: Good Hand, Natural Markings Hidden, Uniform Color. Cleanability: Excellent, Resistance to Fading: High
Cleaning Instructions For Aniline, Aniline Pull Up and Protected Leathers Leather which has been aniline dyed and then pigmented (pigment varies from slight to heavy) to ensure color consistency and has a transparent top coat for resistance to liquids (also referred to as a semi-aniline). Leather should be dusted regularly. Lightly dampen a soft white cloth with Leather Master Soft Cleaner and dust weekly. You may also use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum. All leathers perform better when preventative maintenance is practiced. For Aniline, Aniline Pull Up and Protected leathers, apply Leather Master Protection Cream to the surface of the Leather to help resist staining and prevent overall soiling. Fully clean your furniture with Leather Master Soft cleaner at least every six months to remove dirt as well as the gradual accumulation of body oils and perspiration. Aniline leathers are very absorbent and may require more frequent cleaning when used in high use areas. After cleaning, reapply Protection Cream to the leather to renew the protection level. Relax, slip into silky elegance! A top grain leather which has a slight nap effect produced by removal of epidermis or hair cell layer.

Leather Type: Nubuk
Characteristics: Excellent Hand, Visible Shading and Natural Markings. Cleanability: Moderate, Resistance to Fading: Low
Cleaning Instructions for Nubuk Leathers. Keep the leather dust-free with weekly vacuuming. Use Leather Master Nubuk cleaning cloth to pick up surface soiling and return the Leather to its original look and feel. All leathers perform better when preventative maintenance is practiced. For Nubuk leathers, apply Leather Master Nubuk Protector to the surface of the leather to help resist staining and prevent overall soiling. For water-based stains, use Leather Master Nubuk Cleaner. After cleaning, allow to dry and use the Nubuk Cleaning Cloth to renew the Nubuk effect, then apply Nubuk Protector. For oil-based stains, use the Leather Master Degreaser.