Leather Buying Guide

Tips for Choosing the Right Leather for Your Project

Finding the perfect leather online

At Leatherbox, we understand that the world of leather can be overwhelming, especially for new leather crafters. That's why we've created this comprehensive guide to help you find the perfect leather for your project.

Application Matters

Matching Leather to Your Project

Whether you're searching for leather for bags, wall coverings, furniture, shoes, clothing, or exquisite linings, Leatherbox.com has the finest collections of the highest quality for every application. Leather properties that work for one application may not be suitable for another. We empower you to make creative choices while providing guidance on the most appropriate leather for each application. Explore our advice in the main menu for further assistance.

choosing the right type

The Importance of Animal Species in Leather Selection

Choosing the right leather also depends on the animal species. Each animal has different textures, sizes, strengths, thicknesses, stretch, and resilience. At Leatherbox, we offer a range of animal leather options, including goat leather, calf leather, cowhide, fish leather, pigskin, sheepskin, and even bison or buffalo leather. Utilize our main menu for targeted searches.

Navigating Sizes and Shapes in Natural Leather
Leather Dimensions

Navigating Sizes and Shapes in Natural Leather

Unlike other materials such as fabric or paper that typically come in standard sizes, leather is a natural material and comes in a range of sizes and shapes. When purchasing leather, it's important to note that the size and shape of a hide can vary based on the animal it came from and how it was processed. Additionally, leather hides are not always perfectly shaped or uniform, so it's important to consider natural imperfections and variations when calculating how much leather you need for a project.

Choosing the Perfect Thickness
Leather Thickness Guide

Choosing the Perfect Thickness

Leather is available in a variety of thicknesses, ranging from 0.5mm to over 3.5mm. The thickness of leather is a crucial factor to consider for your project, as it affects the strength, stiffness, and suppleness of the leather. Thicker leather is stronger but less pliable, while thinner leather is more flexible but less durable. To find the right thickness for your project, consider the type of item you are making and its intended use.

Tanning Methods

Chrome vs. Vegetable vs. new alternatives

There are various methods of tanning leather, and it's essential to know the distinctions. Most leather is chrome-tanned, a process that utilizes chromium, a metal. Chrome-tanned leather is known for its durability, suppleness, and colorfastness. On the other hand, chrome-free tanning replaces chromium with other non-heavy metals. Additionally, you can opt for traditionally vegetable-tanned leather, which is tanned exclusively with natural substances. Keep in mind that vegetable-tanned leather is more susceptible to external influences and develops a unique patina over time. Each tanning method, combined with finishing techniques, impacts the look and feel of the leather. Beginner hand-stitching enthusiasts often prefer vegetable-tanned leather, while those venturing into bag and shoe making often opt for chrome-tanned leather.

Leatherbox is a member of Leather Naturally
Origin and Sustainability

Making Responsible Choices

Understanding the origin of the materials is crucial when buying leather. Unfortunately, many leather products on the market lack transparency regarding the source of the animals and the tanning process. At Leatherbox, we prioritize making informed choices that benefit people, animals, and the environment. We value certifications such as the Leather Working Group and Leather Naturally, which ensure ethical and sustainable practices throughout the supply chain.

If you share our commitment to responsible sourcing, we encourage you to explore the specifications provided for each leather type. These details will give you valuable insights into the origin and sustainability aspects of the leather.

Tulip Collectie | Dun En Soepel Nappa Kalfsleer Leer
Glazed pigskin for linings, split suede
Understanding the Difference:

Full Grain Leather vs. Split Leather

When it comes to leather, it's unfortunate that not all sellers indicate whether it is full grain or split leather, despite significant disparities in quality, price, and appearance. Animal hides are typically thicker than necessary and undergo splitting into different layers. The top layer, known as full grain or nerf leather, is the most valuable due to its superior strength, elasticity, and aesthetics. In contrast, the lower layers, referred to as split leather, are of lower quality and commonly used for linings or printing with foil. At Leatherbox, we primarily focus on offering full grain leather, but we do have a selection of split leather available for lining purposes at an affordable price. Our product pages always specify the type of leather we provide.

Limiteds or leather collections?

Exploring Diverse Leather Offerings

Leather is traditionally tanned in large quantities, typically starting from 100 square meters per color. Tanneries do not usually keep stock, which leads many people to rely on leftover leather from producers. These limited collections offer affordability and a wide variety of choices. However, they often come with uncertainties regarding origin, production conditions, and suitability for specific applications. Additionally, once the stock is depleted, reordering or finding the same color becomes challenging.

On the other hand, permanent leather collections offer the advantage of being consistently available for reorder. Designers can work with color charts and specialize in specific leather types. Furthermore, the origin, certifications, and other essential leather properties are clearly defined. Although permanent collections may have a relatively higher price point, they ensure makers consistency and eliminate the need for relying on leftover stock.

With our leather buying guide, we hope you'll have the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions when purchasing leather online. Explore our diverse collections and feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or need assistance.