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Leather: what to know. 

Not all leather is created equal. There is a giant spectrum of grades, types and styles. 


Full Grain 

Full grain leather is the highest grade of leather: the hide in its most pure form. By leaving the strongest layers of the hide intact,  full grain leather is the strongest and most durable leather you can buy. Additionally, by keeping the top layer it reveals natural variation, color and character. At Open Sea Leather we only use full grain leather from the most respected and sustainable tanneries around the world.

Top Grain

Top grain leather is also a high quality leather. Many designer brands use it when creating products that need to have a uniform surface. They achieve that uniformity by sanding off the top layer of the hide and thereby getting rid of the natural imperfections in the leather surface. 


Genuine leather is created by removing even more of the top layers of the hide. Because they are able to split the leather down and use the high quality grades for more expensive items, genuine leather is much cheaper than full grain and top grain. The fibers in genuine leather are not as tightly woven as full and top grain leathers resulting in less durability. 

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather should always be avoided. It's created by taking leather scraps, milling them down into dust, combining that with glue and then plating it out into sheets. Bonded leather is used in cheap upholstery

and furniture and tends to fall apart. 


Vegetable Tanned Leather 

Vegetable tanning has been around for millennia. Hides are taken and soaked in a natural solution of wood barks where natural tannins occur. "Veg tanning" produces durable and beautiful hides and is much more eco friendly than chrome tanning. 

Chrome Tanned Leather

Chrome tanning is a more modern process that is cheaper and takes much less time than veg tanning. Chrome tanning uses the tannins found in Chromium 5: a highly toxic chemical that will also tarnish metal items you carry in or next to chrome tanned leather. 

Our Tanneries 

Conceria Walpier
Tuscany, Italy

They are well known for their traditional methods of vegetable tanning with tree barks that go back 100's of years. Walpier is a member of the exclusive Pelle Vegetale Consortium certifying they tan leather using the strict traditional vegetal methods. Here at Open Sea Leather Co. we use Conceria Walpier's famous Buttero leather. Buttero is a full grain leather made in beautiful colors and offering wonderful depth and character. 


Chicago, IL. USA

Horween Leather offers an unparalleled blend of quality, consistency, responsiveness, and innovation. Through the years, they have cultivated their experience to offer dynamic lines of leathers. Their products include traditional, old world tannages and techniques, carefully updated with modern applications. Today, their leathers are still made by hand, the same way as generations ago. We use Horween Dublin in our Same Day Shipper series for its durability and beautiful character. 

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