What is a Full Grain Leather?
What is a Full Grain Leather?
Recently, there were customers sharing with us how a Full Grain Leather sofa in Singapore is selling at a daylight robbery price we called at nearly only $1500 for a 3-seater Full Grain Leather Sofa. We clearly could not match the price even our Leather are Top Grain. *Top Grain is one grade down from Full Grain leather. We were completely astonished by that.
Full Grain is the first hide (outermost) of a cow. It is is the hardest wearing and longest lasting leather you can buy, because it hasn’t been shaved, sanded or split. It does tend to be thick because of this, so not often used for smaller items because it can be hard to shape or sew details. And it may contain scars, holes or even branding marks. But it is super hard wearing and ages well through the years.
Top Grain Leather (Which GreyHammer is using, we will launch Full Grain Leather in future soon) is the nearest neighbour in terms of quality and thickness, but top grain leather has been sanded on the leather’s upper surface, removing the slight imperfections sometimes found on the surface of full grain leather, and yielding an even finish, without the character (or ‘imperfections’ if you want to be less diplomatic!) of full grain.
Full grain leather just means that nothing has been done to the outer grain of the leather (usually referring to sanding or embossing). Full grain has nothing to do with thickness, though it’s repeatedly called “thicker” online. All leather is split some from the flesh side. You can buy 16oz grain but can also buy 1oz full grain, it’s only the top side that can’t be altered.
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“Full Grain is always the absolute best leather” is an extreme exaggeration; the quality of full grain leather can vary greatly.
As mentioned in the definition above for full grain leather, what makes a leather full grain is the fact that’s nothing has been done to “correct” or change the outer grain. This is only one very small part of the tanning and finishing process, so the quality of the final leather will have to do with everything involved in the tanning/finishing process, much more than just if the leather is corrected or not. You can look at the way leather is finished, the amount of defects, the conditioning it receives, the color-fastness, the evenness of the color and dozens of other factors.
Think about this: Since all leather starts as “full grain,” and full grain is supposedly better, why not just leave all leather as full grain?
The reason why Full Grain leather is traditionally been “the best” is because historically the best tanneries will cull hides that have lots of range marks and defects (scars, mosquito bites, holes, etc) and not use them to make their Full Grain Leather. Today, the big name, top-tier tanneries still do this to assure that their full grain offerings are made from the “cleanest” hides (free of these scars and defects). This is not the case with all tanneries.
lately we’ve seen cheaper full grain on the market with more defects and, many times, a heavier finish to hide those defects. Just as unethical companies took the term “genuine leather” and started making low quality products that were “technically” genuine leather, the same is happening today with full grain. They know people will buy something just because of that term. In fact if a tannery wanted to make the “cheapest leather” possible, full grain would be the way to go, as it requires both less machinery and less labor.
This isn’t to say that a “good full grain” isn’t the best you can get, but it isn’t inherently better.
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Greyhammer Furniture Singapore offers customisable fabric sofa, leather sofa with imported fabric and leather with hundreds of color options. Built with a kiln-dried hardwood frame for sturdiness and durability and removable covers, Greyhammer’s leather sofas are made for the everyday living.
In greyhammer, we sell strictly Top Grain leather sofa Singapore, full grain leather sofa Singapore, corrected full grain leather sofa Singapore, full leather sofa Singapore.