Leather Markings - Your Furniture Buying Guide

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Leather Markings - Furniture Buying Tips

Leather is a unique upholstery covering.

All leather has, fingerprint unique, natural markings. For some, unknown, reason some people try and remove those natural markings...when they do it's called "Corrected Leather."

It's the 'Natural Markings" That distinguishes "Genuine Leather" from man-made materials.

Let's take a Closer look at these "Natural Markings"

Shade and Tone Variation:  Surface features testify to the authenticity of natural leather.

Variation across a hide, density of grain, creases and folds are distinctive characteristics, much like the grain of a fine piece of wood.

With leather, unlike a bolt of cloth,  several hides may be used, for one sofa, which will blend and complement each other, but will never be identical.

Like any natural product, grain pattern and color may, not only,  vary from hide to hide but also within each individual hide.

In the dying process, no pigments are used, so each hide absorbs "color" based on its individual cell structure. Each area of the hide will absorb dye in different amounts... thus some areas may be darker or lighter than other areas; much like wood varies in color when stained.

This explains why an arm of a leather sofa may have a different shade than the cushions or the back of the sofa. They were simply cut from different parts of the same hide.  Or, may have come from different hides.

Healed Scars: Healed scratches are reflective of the steer's lifelong encounters. These healed scratch marks are evidence of this animals unsheltered life. These form as a result of barbed wire scratches, disease and infestation or by horns of other cattle.

The new, healed skin is as strong as the rest of the hide but it leaves a unique scar or should I say marking.

Most furniture manufactures and upholsterer  use scars and areas of rough grain on the outside backs and arms.

These "Markings" on your leather furniture are natural, and in no way affect the strength or wear ability of the leather. These unique characteristics are your assurance of genuine leather.

Wrinkles: Neck and shoulder creases appear as elongated furrows. Wrinkles naturally occur in a hide as a result of the neck stretching and contracting. Skin located on the neck of a steer is full and loose. This enables the steer to have the flexibility it needs to move its head while grazing. Wrinkles, naturally occur in the hide.

Variations in Grain: Variations in grain pattern occur during the life of a steer. The grain is relatively tight across the backbone while it may be very loose in the belly and flank areas. The looser areas consequently have more stretch. Graining, like human fingerprints, is unique to each individual hide.

Stretch Marks: Stretch marks appear in cowhides for the same reasons they do in humans. The process of calving requires the stretching of the skin to accommodate the new calf.  Nothing could be more natural.

Veins: Growth marks and veins are an indication of the age of the animal and in that respect are similar to the graining on a piece of timber. They range from often quite pronounced marks in the neck area to subtle bands across the hide perpendicular to the backbone.


I like leather...for years we ran a cow-calf operation and also feed the livestock out.  Even in a herd, each animal was unique...consequently each hide is unique and beautiful work of nature.

These "Natural Markings" are your assurance that you have true top grain hides.

My recommendation...stay away from corrected leather.  Enjoy the history and store told by your unique piece.

The Sectional Sofa Store

Additional Furniture Buying Tips
Leather Furniture
Distressed Furniture
Foundation and Box Spring
Furniture Types
Cases and Chests
Measuring Tips
Joinery Tips
Leather Basics
Leather Markings
Manufactured Wood
Mattress Tips
Style Guide
Wood Finishes
Wood Types

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