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Back / Leather Front Page / About Leather
About Leather, Leather Terms & About Hides

Leather Terms

  • Back - A side with the belly cut off
  • Belly - The lower part of a side
  • Kip - The skin of a large calf, usually 9 - 17 sq. ft.
  • Split - This refers to the under section of a piece of leather that has been split into two or more thickness. Splits are usually embossed with a design and finished or sueded.
  • Suede Split - Leather that has been sanded to produce a nap.
  • Grain - The epidermis or outer layer of animal skins.
  • Full Grain - Leather that is just as it was when taken off the animal. Only the hair has been removed and the grain or epidermis is left on.
  • (Only full grain, vegetable tanned leather will absorb water and tooling correctly. All leather carving and tooling must be done on full grain leather).
  • Top Grain - Top grain leather is sanded to remove scars and then sprayed or pasted to disguise the work.
  • Thickness or Weight - Leather is measured in terms of ounces. One ounce equals 1/64th of an inch thickness. A weight of 7 to 8 oz. means the leather is 7/64th to 8/64th of an inch thickness. In an effort to make leather a uniform thickness, wet hides are run through a splitting machine. However, each animal is different and there is always a slight thickness variation throughout the hide. This is why leathers are shown with a range of thickness, such as, 4 - 5 oz., 6 - 7 oz.


Important Leather Hide Shipping info: Because leather hides vary in size and weight, your leather purchase and shipping cost won't be charged to your credit card until time of processing. Minimum shipping charges domestically are $5.50, and generally do not exceed 10% of purchase. Due to resolution variances, colors represented cannot be guaranteed.


About Leather

Most skins are sold by the full or half hide. The illustration to the left shows the method used to cut whole skins into halves and quarters. All leather is machine-measured at the tannery and every square inch is included. When leather is sold by the square foot, customers are charged according to this machine measurement.

About Hides

Kip Sides - Veal hides with the texture and tooling qualities of calfskin. Natural only. Heavy enough for carving and stamping. Weight 3-3 1/2 oz. Sides average 10-13 square feet. Minimum order is 1/2 side.

Cowhide - This is generally known as strap leather and is excellent for carving and deep stamping. Comes in natural. Half hides or sides average 20-25 square feet. Backs, which are trimmed sides and recommended for craft use, average 15-20- square feet. Minimum order 1 back.

Cowhide Belly Strips - When cowhide sides are trimmed to form cowhide backs, the strip resulting from this trimming process is designated as a belly strip. These strips average 3 to 8 square feet and are ideal for small bags, gussets, belts, etc. Natural only. Weights 5 to 8 oz. Minimum order one strip.

Cowhide Belt Shoulders - A densely textured shoulder cut from cowhide. Rectangular shape for cutting into belts. May be tooled or carved. Natural only. Weight 8 to 10 oz. Shoulders average 10-20 square feet. Minimum order is one full shoulder.

Cowhide Splits - Soft textured cowhide suede. Average 4-18 square feet each, and are sueded on both sides. Colors available are red, blue, tan, natural, medium brown, dark brown, aqua, black, yellow, beige, and gray. Weight 2-3 oz & 3-4 oz. Minimum orders is one skin.

Horsehide - A soft, pliable, very tough leather. Durable and extremely handsome. Ideal for moccasins. Colors are black, brown. Available in sides averaging 12-18 square feet. Minimum order is one full side.

Elk - A very popular and durable leather used for uppers on moccasins, hand bags, etc. Heavy in weight 31/2-4 oz, and 4-41/2 oz. Cannot be tooled or carved. Comes in brown, black, red, green, pearl, and white. Sides average from 18-22 square feet. Minimum order one hide.

Woolskin - Tanned sheepskin with wool left on. Available in natural golden color. Skins average 10 - 11square feet. Minimum order is one full skin.

Lamb Suedes - A soft, pliable sheep leather which is buffed form the flesh side, giving it a velvety sheen unequaled for beauty. Colors in every imaginable hue. Available in full weight which is ideal for men's jackets, bag lining, etc. or sheer weigh for garment purposes. Skins average 6-8 square feet. Minimum order is one skin.

Kidskin - A fine grain lining and glove leather. Average size of skins varies from 2-7 square feet. Colors available are black, brown, white, red, blue and green. Minimum order is one full skin.

Genuine Snakeskin - Light-weight with odd-patterned grains and colors, snakeskin is a distinctive leather. Cobras, pythons, boas, water snakes, dyed in all colors. Sold in full skin only.

Rawhide - Extremely tough and durable leather for drum covers, bracing, luggage, etc. Must be soaked in water to soften, will stiffen when dried. Skins average 10-16 square feet. Minimum order one skin.

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