LEATHER INFO & CARE
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather…it’s not for everyone (and that’s okay).
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather furniture appeals to:
- Consumers who appreciate soft rich leather – who recognize and understand that aniline leather provides the same elegance, luxury and value to their homes as vintage silver, silk and linen.
- Consumers who appreciate that every piece of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather furniture possesses individual character shaped by nature – character that will become richer through the years as it is used and well cared for by its owner.
- Consumers who appreciate the qualities represented by natural color variations, natural markings and the natural patina of fine aniline leather.
- Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather furniture may not appeal to consumers who want the uniform color and surface commonly seen in less expensive leathers that are heavily corrected and pigmented.
What’s so special about Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams’ aniline leather?
The finest leathers are fullaniline. Only the top 5% of hides, which are relatively free from gross surface imperfections, can be made into full aniline leather. Most Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather is full aniline. These are full top grain leathers that have been soaked in transparent, non-toxic aniline dye and have no subsequent pigmented finish coats applied. In other words, the color has not been “painted” onto the surface. The aniline dye penetrates the hide with color, allowing the natural grain to show through. A soft, mellow hand, characteristic of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams leather, is the result of tanning done with such minerals as chromium salts.
If it’s perfect, it may not be real leather.
Aniline leather has natural markings including healed scars, neck and belly wrinkles, scratches, insect bites and brands that vary from hide to hide in the same way that human fingerprints are unique. Aniline leather also exhibits natural color variation due to leather’s ability to accept dyes differently in various areas of the hide. These markings and color shadings basically distinguish genuine leather from man-made materials like vinyl and from leathers whose “character” is stamped on with heat or pressure. Appreciating differences between hides means appreciating differences on individual items of furniture as well – because no item of furniture can be produced from a single hide.
Glossary of Leather Terms
Aniline: The process of coloring leather throughout with non-toxic aniline dyes. The leather is soaked in the transparent dye, which allows all of nature’s signatures to remain visible.
Antiqued: Common descriptive terms for leather that shows signs of natural aging and wear that have been artificially created.
Buffed: Leather has had the surface slightly abraded. This may be done to minimize surface blemishes,to smooth out the grain, or to make a soft-touch napped finish.
Corrected Grain: Leather which has had the grain layer partially removed by buffing. Often a new faux grain pattern has been created by embossing.
Distressed: Process used to create an effect resembling a worn look or an aged appearance.
Embossed: Process of stamping a pattern onto leather. Leather may be embossed with a faux grain design, made to imitate other looks such as crocodile or ostrich, or almost any unique pattern.
Full Aniline: Aniline dyed leather with no additional coloring on the surface. A clear topcoat may be applied to help protect the aniline leather.
Full Grain: Any leather from which only the hair has been removed while the grain retains its original state. Natural markings are left intact and present the character and appeal of unique leather.
Grain: Pattern characterized by the pores and unique to the animal concerned, visible on the outer surface of a hide after the hair has been removed.
Hand Antiquing: The application by hand of a darker color over a lighter color to create dramatic highlights.
Nubuck: A top grain, aniline-dyed leather that is buffed to create a soft nap. Especially vulnerable to stains, nubuck is often lightly finished for protection.
Patina: Surface luster that develops on aniline leathers. Fine leather, like fine sterling silver and antiques, develops a luster or shine over time and with use, consumers who purchase aniline leathers can look forward to their furniture developing even more character over the years.
Pigmented Leather: Leather that is finished with an opaque coloring. Pigment may be used to create unique colors, to cover imperfections and/or to produce hides that are durable, wear and fade resistant, and super easy to clean. Sometimes called painted leather. Pigmented leathers generally have a more consistent color throughout.
Pull-Up: The burst of lighter color that occurs when aniline leather is pulled tightly around corners and turns in the upholstering process. The oils and waxes in the leather cause the color to dissipate and become lighter in the areas, which are pulled tight, giving extra dimension and character to the piece.
Pure Aniline: A top or full-grain leather that is aniline dyed and receives no additional coloring or finish. Also called naked aniline or naked leather.
Sauvage: A mottled, two-tone antiquing effect that adds depth and character.
Semi Aniline: Also called aniline-plus or protected aniline. A leather that is aniline dyed and coated with matching pigment and or other topical finishes to even out the color and add protection.
Split: The bottom layers of the full hide that have been split off from the top grain leather, then pigmented or sueded. Generally stiffer and less durable, splits may be used on promotional leather furniture – particularly in areas of less direct use – to control costs.
Suede: Leather produced from the lower split of a hide with a velvet-like nap effect. Suede does not have the same durable characteristics as top grain leather.
Tanning: The process of converting rawhides into a non-perishable state.
Top Coat: A protective coating applied to the leather surface. May also impart luster to the surface.
Top Grain: During the tanning process, a hide may be split into layers and the top layer is referred to as the top grain. This is the most durable and flexible part of the leather hide.
How is the wax/dye applied to the hides? Dyes are usually tumbled with the hides in a large drum.
What are aniline dyes? The word aniline is an industry term for transparent dyes that are used to color hides.
Why should the leathers be kept out of direct sunlight/heat? Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent. Any natural substance will be affected adversely by the sun. Heat draws the natural moisture out of the hide and can cause the skins to crack or become ashy. The application of a leather conditioner can reduce these reactions.
What causes a variance in the color of a hide? The amount of moisture in the hide is the main reason for variance in color.
Is the hide the only part of the cow that is used? The hides are by-products in the cattle industry. Every part of the cow is utilized.
What are the recommended generic and professional cleaning agents to use? All spills should be attended to immediately. For light spills always blot with a clean, dry, white cloth. Many stains will disappear with age. However, not all stains will come out.For best results, it is recommended to get a cleaner geared toward the exact type of leather and / or problem. For this reason we do not recommend “over-the-counter” products, but suggest that you use the resource listed below for specific leather care.
Will leather ever fade over time? Heat and/or light and time can affect all natural substances if not properly maintained. Excessive exposure to heat and/or sunlight can fade and dry out leather upholstery.
For routine maintenance, simply dry-dust or vacuum.
Never use “over-the-counter” leather polishes, preservers or soaps.
Protect from direct sunlight and keep away from heating sources.
Dab spills immediately with a clean, dry, white cloth. If a stain goes unnoticed and penetrates leather, use lukewarm distilled water and a soft white cloth to massage stain and surrounding area. Blot again with a clean, soft, dry, white cloth. Let leather air dry. For nubuck or suede, massage with a suede brush to restore the nap. For suede or nubuck: Brush with a soft suede brush and vacuum occasionally for routine maintenance.