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Impregnation: Or hydrophobic treatment, is applied to leathers to give them limited water repellency. This process of impregnation makes particular sense for sensitive types of leather, such as nubuck leather or aniline leather. As a result, moisture is slower to penetrate the leather surface. If you are quick, this means you can dab away the stain before it soaks in. NOTE: Impregnation is no universal remedy. It only protects the sensitive leathers to a limited extent. (evtl. Abb. Leder imprägniert und nicht imprägniert mit einziehendem Wassertropfen).

Colour transfer from denim: The increase in light leather colours (including imitation leather) in the furniture and automobile section has resulted in an increase in complaints regarding the transfer of dyes from jeans, certain textiles and materials (cushions, covers, "ABS socks", the rubber feet on laptops, suit trousers, leggings, leather belts etc.). Non-colourfast jeans, textiles, materials etc. discolour the light leather (imitation leather), and these colours then migrate (bleed/leach) into the surface of the leather. It is not possible to remove these colour migrations with normal water-based cleaning agents, and a specialist needs to be consulted. In order to reduce the problems of the contamination of pigmented leather, LCK has collaborated with Lanxess in the production of Keralux® intensive protection, and for imitation leather, Kunstleder Intensivschutz, intensive care for imitation leather .



Craquelure: Also known as the craquelé effect, it is notable for the deliberately broken/cracked finish (top layer). A hard top coating in a contrasting colour (light on dark or dark on light) is applied to the primed leather surface, dried, and possibly embossed. After these steps, the leather is milled, drummed or staked, which causes the hard top layer to crack or break, resulting in the two-tone craquelé effect.

Krakelierung We also speak of craquelé when the leather starts to disintegrated and dry out - disintegration of leather.

Bend leather: See "Blank leather/position of the skin"

Cat's scratches: These are caused by a cat's claws, and are notable for roughening the surface of the leather. As the claws "hook" into the leather, tiny pieces of it are pulled up. They are usually quite noticeable because they are lighter in colour. IMPORTANT: There is no such thing as a "cat-proof" cover material (leather or fabric)!

Piping: This is the thin "tube" that is seen on upholstered furniture, car or aeroplane seats. Piping can be in leather or imitation leather. It is used to cover, to decorate and to reinforce edges.


Creaking/creaky behaviour: Creaking is a noise that can be caused when materials rub against each other, stick together and are then pulled apart from each other again. The factors that caused it include the surface texture, the composition of the finish, dirt, temperature, humidity etc. If this problem occurs, the first course of action should be to clean the contact areas with a suitable product, and remove the surfactant substances with a moist cloth after cleaning. Then leave until completely dry, if you like wiping with a soft lint-free cloth. If this does not cure the problem, a number of noise-reducing products are available on the market.

Imitation leather: Usually a textile base or carrier material or fleece with a synthetic finish. This synthetic coating can be of PVC or polyurethane, and is often given a synthetic surface texture in order to make the imitation leather more like real leather. Sadly, customers are often misled and are not aware that they have purchased imitation leather, or that their product includes imitation leather. Terms such as textile leather also spread this confusion, and in fact it has been illegal to use this term since March 2012.

LederVS_RS Backs of real and imitation leather

Preservation of rawhide: Making skins last. Preserving it prevents/delays the disintegration/decaying process that is caused by microorganisms, mould, pests etc. There are many different ways of preserving rawhides, including:

a) Cooling/freezing: The best option here is to hang the skins after removal, and slowly transport them through cold storage on a transportation system. This is because the skins are chilled/frozen more quickly than if places in a tub or trough, since disintegration commences after as little as 2 hours.

b) Salting: One of the most frequently used methods of preservation. The salt draws moisture - the foundation of life for microorganisms - out of the skin. Salt quantity approx. 40-50 % salt, based on the weight of the skin. This equates to approx. 20-25 kg of salt for a skin weighing 40-50 kg.

c) Drying: Suitable for smaller skins, and based on the same principle as salting - the removal of moisture. Skins must not be dried in the sun, but in an air, shady place. Make sure that the skin does not get wet while it is drying, as disintegration will commence instantly.



Leather: Leather is a surface material made from animal skin that is chemically and mechanically treated to give it specific new properties such as rot resistance, permanent softness etc., while preserving its natural fibre structure.

Leather thickness: See "Splitting"

Patent leather: According to RAL 060 A2, this term refer to leather with a mirror-like (high gloss) surface. As with coated leather, the patent layer/coating or foil applied must not exceed one-third of the total thickness. Patent leather is used primarily in shoe and bag manufacture (possible image of patent leather goods).

Leather balm: See "Leather care"

Cleaning leather: The first important step when we speak of leather care, because caring for leather starts with clean leather. Choose a product that is suitable for the particular kind of leather, as not all products are suitable for all leathers. For weekly preventative cleaning, it is sufficient to use a moistened (with demineralised, distilled water) lint-free cloth (not microfibre!) to –  wipe carefully over the surface of the leather without pressure. We recommend our KERALUX® Staubfix. This is where you will find more advice on cleaning and looking after leather.

Leather care: Its task is to keep the leather looking good for as long as possible. It is important that the various surface treatments include various cleaning and care requirements. All smooth leathers need moisture, light protection and antioxidants. However, Aniline leather needs a much higher level of grease in order to preserve its wonderful softness. With covered/pigmented leathers, the amount of grease must be specially matched and textured in order for it to penetrate the surface. With aniline leathers, it is also a good idea to opt for additional impregnation, as otherwise the open-pored surface will be completely at the mercy of everyday life. With suede leathers such as nubuck and velours, you must not use creams to care for or clean them. This would damage the rubbed surface, since the delicate leather fibres would stick together. Impregnation sprays, which might also contain light protection, are used on this kind of leather. Used regularly, the nubuck cloth can greatly improve the beauty of the surface by lightly roughening (brushing) the more frequently used areas. This is where you will find more advice on cleaning and looking after leather.

Checking the colour fastness of leather: Is the definition of fastness to colour migration against plasticised polymers (tested to DIN EN ISO 15701). This test is carried out since leather, or more specifically the dyes in the leather, can result in colour migration on contact with synthetic materials that contain softeners. An example of this would be a red trainer with a white sole: the sole would turn reddish/pink in the contact area. (evtl. Abb. Schulordner Gerbereipraktikum)

Lefa: Is the abbreviation for the German word "Lederfaserstoff", which means leather fibre. This material is made from leather fibres (such as shavings and leather scrap) and latex (as the binder) and available in rolls. Lefa, also known as bonded leather, is used by the shoe industry and to bind books or calendars. However, it is also used in the production of lower-priced furniture, for instance for tensioning parts. Materials that contain less than 50% leather may not be called leather fibre materials; this is governed by EN 15987.

Leather flaws: Should be divided into at least three categories:

A) Rawhide flaws 1) created on the live animal 2) skinning damage caused by the butcher 3) during preservation

B) Leather damage      1) Accidents 2) Use

C) Leather flaws:         1) caused in production 2) typical of the product/leather

A) Rawhide damage 1) created on the live animal:

Damage from barbed wire: usually deep, irregular tears

Grooming tears: usually parallel and like strokes in arrangement, often occur all over the skin

Pitchfork piercings: pin-like injuries in rows

Brandings: never, or only rarely found on European raw products. On finished leather seen throughout the section of the skin, i.e. also on the flesh side

Surgical scars: often on cows e.g. from a Caesarian section

Dung marks: burns on the rawhide caused when dung and urine are left hanging on it. Often very large areas around the butt. The scar looks raw, has a nubuck effect

Tick bites: the leather is damaged with tiny holes at an angle

2) Skinning damage caused by the butcher: such as flesh cuts, siphonage or burst scars. They occur when the animal is not properly skinned. A knife may be used to help, and cuts into the reticular layer or cuts something out. Or burst scars, which occur when the skinning is done mechanically, and the machines pull too tightly on the skin, which causes the scar to overstretch and burst open.

3) Preservation: seen on the grain side of the finished smooth leather, like tiny grooves with a branched structure. The causes is poorly-bled skins, since the remaining blood rots more quickly in the veins than the surrounding tissue. If preservation is then too late or inadequate, then the veininess is inevitable.

B) Leather damage

1) Accidents: accidents are minor or major misadventures that scratch or destroy the surface of the leather, like a scratch from the zip on trousers or a forgotten screwdriver in an overall pocket.

2) Use: Greasy marks/perspiration: are caused when there is regular contact between areas of the body and the leather. These areas are often the armrests, the back of the seat where the head rests or, for instance, steering wheels. Regular cleaning and care of the used furniture/vehicle interior can help to delay these changes, since the areas are the result of absorption of grease/sebum and perspiration (human perspiration has a pH value of ~8, which means it is alkaline).

Decay/decomposition of leather: is caused by poor cleaning and care or if the atmosphere is too dry (warning: risk of mould if the humidity level is too high). The first signs of this are dry folds in the top layer of the leather (also called craquelure). However, it must also be said that external influences will cause all leathers to decay and decompose at some point.

Discoloration from jeans:   see "Discoloration from jeans"

C) Leather flaws:

1) caused in production: example of uneven discoloration (in production): extremely interesting in aniline leathers in particular, since they receive no further finishing to the surface. This uneven colouring can vary:° - Bronzing: is a metallic sheen to the grain side of aniline leathers, caused by an excess of or incorrectly applied dyes. This problem cannot be solved. These leathers have a high level of discoloration, and should be returned (occurs on clothing or shoe upper leathers)

 - irregular lying folds: lighter stripes on aniline leather that can also run diagonally to the back line. Occur, for instance, when a barrel stops. Can only be prevented in the tannery by working quickly.

 - High colouring of neck grooves: due to the extremely high fat content in the neck areas of fattening stock or by poor rinsing of the neutraliser. Can only be improved in the tannery by draining/recipe optimisation.

2) Typical of the production method or product:

Leather discoloration: see: "Leather discoloration"

Fatty spue: see "Fatty spue"

poor intercoat adhesion: Is seen in pigmented leathers when a layer peels away (like after sunburn). usually reveals an intact surface in a slightly different colour beneath. Example: original leather is a yellowy beige, underneath which is a lighter, white beige, or the matt/gloss level is completely different: the original is highly matt, while that beneath it has a silky gloss. When the adhesion values of the prepared layers are close to the limits, the intercoat adhesion can be affected and impaired by use, perspiration, UV rays etc. The appearance is accelerated by mechanical wear (e.g. use, cleaning etc.). Can only be identified completely by destructive testing.

LGR: In 1954, the Lederinstitut Gerberschule Reutlingen opened a teaching and testing tannery, along with a laboratory, training and administration tract. It has trained over 1600 state recognised leather technicians from over 72 countries. Unfortunately, the LGR closed in September 2011 as the result of bankruptcy.

Lightfastness: refers to the resistance of the leather to the sun's rays. As sunlight has a high UV ray content, it causes the leather surface to disintegrate, which is seen as changes in colour/fading. Leather furniture is tested with a special test device (e.g. Suntest) to DIN EN ISO 105-B 02, and is assessed using a blue scale. The blue scale has 8 levels; please refer to the table for further information. The meanings in Central Europe are 8 for superb 700 days, 7 excellent 350 days, 6 very good 160 days, 5 good 80 days, 4 fairly good 40 days, 3 moderate 20 days, 2 low 10 days, 1 very low 5 days. Leather needs to provide very high performance characteristics, and must have a result of at least level 6. This is the highest level for leather; the maximum level for textiles is level 8.

Types of leather:

Aniline leather: With leather, "aniline" refers to leather that is dyed purely with soluble dyes without covering the surface so that the hair follicles and grain remain visible. This is also called "open-pored". Natural features and slight irregularities in the surface are retained rather than covered, reinforcing the natural appearance. Unfortunately, the designation "untreated leather" has not been approved. This was attempted in an attempt to avoid confusion with the blood toxin aniline. aniline leather the open surface makes it warm, soft and pleasant to the touch, and gives it excellent breathability.


Semi-aniline leather: with this leather type, the surface is given a slight pigmentation (finish). The grain and hair follicles are still clearly visible. This means that a Semi-aniline leather is slightly less delicate than an aniline leather. However, attempts are made in the tannery to preserve a soft, warm feel similar to aniline leather. The light pigmentation of the leather surface slightly protects natural characteristics, which results in a smoother, more even appearance of the leather surface.


Pigmented/covered leather: Is easier to look after and more resilient than aniline or semi-aniline leather. This is achieved by a covering pigmentation (finish). The natural grain and the hair follicles can no longer be seen, which means that embossing of the leather is highly probable. There is a great reduction in the breathability of the pigmented leather over aniline or semi-aniline leather, which is why customers often call it "cold".

Grain-corrected leather: Can be compared with pigmented leather, the only different being that the grain side is finely ground, as for nubuck leather, in order to smooth out natural characteristics and damage on the leather surface. There leathers are embossed, so that a poor raw material can provide the maximum utilisable area.

Nubuck: Nubuck can only be made from the ground grain side (hair side) of a skin, since the typical identification feature for nubuck (unlike suede) is that the grain, that is the hair follicles, must still be identifiable with a thread counter (an industrial magnifying glass). Nubuck is notable for its velvety-soft, finely-ground, short-fibred surface with a writing effect.


Embossed nubuck (nubuck/smooth leather combination): Is usually as follows: an aniline leather is embossed with any choice of texture, the raised areas of the embossing are ground and then milled. The lighter areas are then the nubuck, and the darker ones the aniline (smooth) leather. This leather type was used in upholstery in the 1980s and 90s, and is not used much today.


Velours leather: Can be made from a flesh or grain layer; no hair follicles need to be evident on the surface. Velours leather has a coarser pile than nubuck and is not quite so elegant. Velours leather is often called suede, but that's not quite right.

Suede: Is actually made from animals that live in the world, such as deer and so on. Because they live outdoors, there is much scarring on the grain side, which is why the flesh side is usually used and velours leather made.

Split leather:  Because of its thickness,the skin is usually split in two during production. This results in the high-quality grain layer and the slightly less stable flesh layer. In further processing, the flesh layer is then renamed split leather or split velours. The word "split" must be included in the claim, as this is a reference to the less stable flesh layer. 

Coated split leather: Often used for furniture in the lower price segment. Unfortunately, the customer is frequently not informed of this when purchasing. With the result that he is left thinking he has purchased a "high-quality leather suite". In reality, though, the customer has purchased a lower-quality split leather (usually with a coating – foil, binder/pigment mix etc.) instead of high-quality grain leather. Coated split leather does not last anywhere near as long as high-quality grain leather. The number of complaints received for coated split leathers is also significantly higher than for grain leathers.

PU leather: Often incorrectly called pull-up leather. CAUTION! These leather types have nothing in common with each other, not in use, cleaning or care. PU leathers are split leathers that are coated in a PU (polyurethane) foil and have a shiny antique surface. These leathers are often not identified as split leathers when sold. Complaints for this split leather type include sticky areas and the foil working loose around the head, arm and hand areas, since the PU coating is affected by the pH value of perspiration and sebum over time.


Pull-up leather: Smooth or nubuck leathers with an oil, fat or wax finish on the leather surface. The furniture usually shows high traces of use/wear in the display room. This "patina" is typical of the goods and desirable. If the leather has an additional finish on top of the oil, fat or wax finish, it will take longer for the traces of use to develop, and the customer's attention should be drawn to the typical change in the leather surface, as otherwise a complaint will surely follow.


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