Leather Terminology

Leather Terminology ISONZ LEATHER ZONE


Acceptance of a Lot: The approval of a lot as conforming to a contract or specification, or both. 

ALL-Around-Turn-Back: A type of welt used in work gloves, in which the welt extends far enough out from the seam to permit a portion of it to be turned back over the finger or thumb. (See also Davey Tip.)

Aniline Finish: A clear finish with little or no pigmentation.

Alligator-grained Leather: Leathers of various types, such as calf, sheep, or side, embossed to resemble the grain of alligator hide.

Apron Leathers: Any one of several varieties of leather used in connection with textile machinery and blacksmith aprons. Comber and Gill Box apron leather is soft, mellow, tough leather, tanned from steer hide, heavily stuffed and boarded or otherwise softened. Rub Roll apron leather is a flexible but firm, dry, strong leather.

Aspergillus Niger: One of the most common mold growths found on vegetable-tanned vats and on leather, usually greenish or blackish in color.

Bag Leather: A general term for leathers used in traveling bags and suitcases. It does not include the light leathers employed for women’s fancy handbags. The staple material for bag and case leather at present is leather made from the hides of animals of the bovine species, but heavy sealskins and goatskins are also used.

Bal: A laced shoe in which the quarters meet and the vamp is stitched over the quarters at the front of the throat.

Barkometer: A hydrometer used for determining the specific gravity of tanning solutions. A specific gravity of 1.000 is equivalent of 0 deg barkometer (Bk), and each addition degree Bk is equivalent to an increase of 0.001 in specific gravity.

Bark Tanning: So-called because tannin extracted from the bark of various trees is usually used. (See also Vegetable Tanning.)

Baseball Leather: Leather used for covers of baseballs. The better grades of balls have covers of alum-tanned horsehide front leather. Some cheaper grades are made of kip and sheepskins.

Bate: To treat unhaired hides or skins with a warm aqueous solution of an enzyme in order to remove certain undesirable nitrogenous constituents.

Beam: A convex wooden slab sloping downward from about waist height over which a hide is placed for trimming of excess flesh and ragged edges and scudding by hand.

Belting Butt: A double back with the tail cut off at the butt line. (See RUT’S in Fig. 1.)

Belting Butt Bend: A double bend with the tail cut off at the butt line. (See RR’S’S in Fig. 1.)

Belly: That part of the hide below the belly line. (See VWP’P in Fig. 1.) For steerhide leather, the belly line, RU, passes through a point at or above the top of the rear break. For cowhide leather, the belly line passes through a point at or above the top of the front break and a point not more than 2 ½ in. (64 mm) below the top of the rear break.

Bend: A back with the shoulder cut off at right angles to the backbone line at the break of the fore flank. (OYR’P in Fig. 1.)

Biff: To beat a salted hide that has been placed on a rack, in order to shake loose salt from the hair.

Bisulfiting: The treatment of hot solutions of vegetable tanning extracts with sodium bisulfite in order to increase their solubility and rate of take-up by hides.

Bleaching: (1) the process of removing oxidized tannins and insoluble materials from the surface layers of leather, in order to prevent crackiness of the grain. Bleaching is performed by dipping the leather in a weak alkaline solution to render the tannin readily soluble, dipping in water, neutralizing in weak acid solution and washing. (2) the process of lightening the color of chrome leather by treating with synthetic tannins or precipitating white pigment in the surface of the leather.

Bleeding: The transfer of materials exuded from leather to other materials that come in contact with it.

Blocking: The adhesion between touching layers of leather such as occurs under moderate pressures during storage or use.

Bloom: A light-colored deposit of ellagic acid appearing on the grain surface of leather tanned with certain pyrogallol tannins, such as myrabalans, valonia, and dividivi. That appearance may be objectionable for some purposes, but bloom does not significantly affect the other physical properties of the leather.

Blucher: A laced shoe in which the quarters extend forward over the vamp and are left loose at the inner edge.

Blue: Usually in the phrase “in the blue” applied to hides or skins that have been chrome-tanned but not dyed nor fat-liquored.

Blushing: Dulling or mottling of the finish of the leather resulting from condensed moisture during the drying of the finish. Also referred to a lacquer bloom.

Boarded Leather: Leather on which a false or accentuated grain has been produced by folding the grain side and working the leather back and forth. Hand boarding is done with a curved cork board attached to the worker’s arm and rolled over the folded skin.

Boardy: Adjective applied to stiff, inflexible leather.

Bottom Filler: The material used for filling the cavity between the insole and outsole of shoes. The most widely used materials are made of granulated cork and resinous binder. Hot-process fillers are softened by heating, applied to the cavity, and hardened by cooling. Cold-process fillers contain a solvent, which evaporates after application, allowing the filler to harden. Other fillers used are a mixture of rubber latex, cork, and solvent; slab cork cut to shape; sponge rubber and cork sheer; impregnated felt; and laminated wood cut to shape.

Box Toe: A stiffener used to maintain the shape of a shoe toe, preserve the toe room allowed within the shoe, and protect the wearer’s toes from blows. Rigid box toes are made of leather, thermoplastic resin-impregnated fiber, solvent-softened plastic-impregnated fiber, and water-softened starch-impregnated buckram. Flexible box toes are made of thermoplastic cork combination with fabric backing, and plastic laminates placed between sheets of fabric. Soft box toes are made of rubberized felt or fabric. Metal toes are used in some safety shoes.

BRANDS: A mark of a simple, easily recognized pattern made by burning the cattle’s skin with a hot iron. Used for identification purposes, brands are normally cut out of the hides and do not appear on finished furniture.

Break: (1) Heavy leather – the places, in the areas where the fore shank and hind shank join the body of the hide, where the texture of the leather changes quite sharply from the firm, close weave of the bend to a loose, open texture. (2 Shoe upper leather – the superficial wrinkling formed when the leather is bent, grain inward, with a radius of curvature like that formed at the vamp of a shoe in walking. “Fine break” - up to 20 wrinkles per inch – is an indication of good quality. “Coarse break” – as low a 6 wrinkles per inch – indicates poor quality. Adjectives commonly used to describe this characteristic are “tight,” “fine,” “loose,” “coarse,” and “pipey,” or “flanky.” 

Brining: A process of curing hides by soaking with salt solution (sodium chloride).

Bronzing: Excessive concentration of crystallized dyestuff on the surface of the leather tending to give a metallic sheen.

Brush Coloring: The application of dye-stuff to leather with a brush or swab, the leather being laid on a table. Also called table dyeing.

Buck Sides: Cattlehide shoe upper leather finished to resemble buckskin.

Buckskin: Leather from deer and elk skins, used for shoes, gloves, and clothing. Only the outer cut of the skin from which the surface grain has been removed may be correctly defined as “genuine buckskin.” Leather finished from the split or under-cut of deerskin must be described as “split buckskin.”

Buffalo Leather: Leather made from the hides of domesticated water buffalo of the Far East, not the American bison.

Buffing: (l.) Knife or Abrasive – Removing minor blemishes from the grain with a knife or abrasive. (See also Snuffed Top Grain.) (2.) Emery Wheel – Producing a velvet surface on leather, usually with an emery wheel. (3.) Buffing Leather – A light cut of the grain portion used for bookbindings, pocketbooks, etc., but not for upholstery.

Bullhides: Hides from bulls are characterized by thick and rough head, neck, and shoulders, and by coarse flanks. They are often poor in quality and heavy, ranging from 60 lb (27 kg) up.

Butcher Cuts: Damage to hides caused by improper removal from the animal; usually in the form of cuts or furrows on the flesh side.

Butt: That part of the hide or skin covering the rump or hind part of the animal.

Composite Sample: A portion of leather, which may be the scraps from the cuttings of physical test specimens, that has been taken from each of the sample units constituting the sample. The leather is composited as specified for the purpose of testing a lot for chemical properties.

Cabretta: Skin of hair sheep, chiefly Brazilian, used principally for glove and garment leathers. Term probably derived from Spanish “cabrito” or similar Portuguese or Italian word. (See also Cape Leather.)

Calf Leather: Leather made from the skins of young cattle from a few days up to a few months old, the skins weighing up to 15 lbs ((6.8 kg). It is finer-grained, lighter in mass, and more supple than cowhide or kip leathers.

Cape, Skin or Leather: Skin of South African hair sheep. Fine-grained leather, superior to wool sheep for gloves and garments. Loosely applied to all hair sheep, but should be qualified to show origin, if other than South African. (It is uncertain whether the term is derived from “Caper” (Goat) or from “Cape Town.”)

Carding: A type of tannage of side leather used on the cards of textile machinery.

Carpincho Leather: Leather from the skin of the carpincho, a large South American rodent. The skin is used in making glove leather, usually chrome-tanned and washable. In the glove-leather trade, it is classified as a pigskin. It resembles pigskin in appearance, a characteristic being the occurrence of bristle holes in straight-line groups, usually with 4 to 7 holes in a group.

Case Leather: A general term for leathers used in traveling bags and suitcases. It does not include the light leathers employed for women’s fancy handbags. The staple material for bag and case leather at present is leather made from the hides of animals of the bovine species, but heavy sealskins and goatskins are also used.

Case (Shoe): Containers in which shoes are packed for shipment, generally containing 12, 24, or 36 pairs of men’s shoes and 18 or 36 pairs of women’s shoes.

Cemented Process: A method of shoe construction in which the outsole is attached by cementing instead of stitching, nailing, or pegging; used chiefly for women’s shoes.

Chain Stitch: A single-thread stitch, characterized by the fact that the entire thread may be pulled out when one stitch is cut or broken.

Chamois Leather: A soft, pliable absorbent leather which is recognized in this country and abroad as being made from the inner side of a sheepskin, known technically as a flesher, from which the outer or grain side as been split prior to tanning. While chamois leather is now tanned by the classic straight fish oil tannage, it is not the intent of this definition to exclude other tannages which may be developed that will commercially produce leather from sheepskin fleshers meeting all the recognized performance characteristics common to commercial oil-tanned chamois leather. Some of the more common characteristics of oil-tanned chamois leather which are not changed appreciably by repeated washing of the leather are flexibility, high water absorption, low water retention after wringing, rapid rate of wetting, speed and efficiency of filtering water from gasoline, ease with which the leather may be cleaned without materially changing the above characteristics, and non-irritating effect when in contact with the skin.

Channel: A slanting cut made around the edge of an outsole or insole to provide a groove for the stitching and to keep the line of thread below the surface of the leather. Soles so stitched are called “channel-stitched.”

Checking: The separation of leather or composition heel lifts from each other.

Chestnut Extract: A tanning material made from the wood of the domestic chestnut tree and used in tanning heavy leathers.

Chrome Retan: Term applied to leather tanned first with chromium salts, then retanned with vegetable extracts.

Chrome Retannage: Retannage with chromium salt.

Chrome Tannage: Tannage of leather with chromium compounds. Chrome-tanned leather is often distinguished from other kinds by its greenish color, particularly of a cut edge.

Coarse Rough Fiber: Fibers of flesh surfaces of leather or splits which are frayed, separated, and present a shaggy appearance.

Cockle: Hard, firm nodules appearing on the necks and bellies of sheepskin that are caused by keds.

Collagen: The principle fibrous protein in the corium or derma layer of a hide or skin.

Collar Leather: A subdivision of harness leather, made from very light cattlehide in full thickness, or of cattlehide splits, and used for covering horse collars.

Colorado Steer: A side-branded steerhide, not necessarily from Colorado.

Comber Leather: A steerhide leather heavily stuffed and usually boarded, used in textile combing machines. (See also Apron Leathers.)

Combination-tanned: Formerly tanned with a blend of vegetable extracts. Today tanned with two or more types of tanning materials, such as chromium compounds and vegetable extracts, or chromium compounds and synthetic tannins.

Cordovan: Leather made from the tight firm portion of horse butts. It has very fine pores and characteristic waxy finish and is very durable.

Corduroy Flesh: A rough condition of the flesh side of leather caused by failure to remove the twitching muscles.

Corrected Grain: Portions of the grain surface lightly abraded with emery wheel or sandpaper, so as to lessen the effect of grain damage. (See Snuffed Grain.)

Counter: A piece of stiffening material inserted between the lining and the outside of a shoe upper at the back of the shoe. Materials used are leather (sometimes sizing), pasted splits or shavings, combination splits or shavings with a canvas layer, fiberboard, pulpboard (usually with heavy sizing), cork steel for safety shoes, and other miscellaneous materials.

Counter Pocket: A piece of lining leather sewed on the inside of an unlined shoe at the back part to conceal the counter.

Country Hide: Hides taken off by butchers and farmers; their quality is usually lower than that of packer hides because they are removed by less skilled hands and are not cured as well as packer hides.

Cowhide: Term specifically applied to leather made from hides of cows, although it is sometimes loosely used to designate any leather tanned from hides of animals of the bovine species.

Crocking: The transfer of finish or color when leather is rubbed with a wet or dry cloth.

Crop: A side with the belly trimmed off. (See OO’P’P in Fig. 1)

Crushed Leather: Leather made from chrome vegetable-retanned kidskins with the grain accentuated by boarding or other process.

Crust: Used as an adjective or in the phrase ”in the crust,” refers to vegetable-tanned leather that has been tanned but not finished.

Curing: Treating raw hides or skins so as to minimize putrefaction and bacterial action but to enable the skins to be wet back conveniently in preparation for tanning. Common methods of curing include green-salting, brining, and drying. Green-salting is accomplished by the addition of salt (NaCl) crystals to the flesh surface of the flayed hide. Brining is accomplished by the use of a saturated sodium chloride solution. Drying, not commercially practiced in the United States, involves exposure of the flayed hide to either sun or shade-drying conditions. Some stock, especially de-wooled sheepskins, is preserved in a sulfuric acid-sodium chloride brine. (See Brining, dry salting, dry pickling, green salting, and pickling.)

Curing Temperature: The temperature at which noticeable curling occurs on gradually heating a leather specimen in water.

Currying: A process of treating tanned hides with oils and greases to prepare them for belting, sole, harness leathers, etc.

Cut Stock: Bottom stock for shoes, such as soles, taps, lifts, blocks, and strips of sole leather.

Delivery: Leather or fabricated leather articles presented at any one time for inspection or test.

Davey Tip: In glovemaking, a tip of a finger made with a turn-back welt.

Deep Buff: The first cut under the top grain, hand buff, or machine buff on which no traces on the grain remain.

Deerskin: In glove leather, a deerskin tanned and finished with the grain surface intact.

Defects: Defects of leather include fiber quality, soft spots, brands, cockle, scratches, wrinkles, insect bites, grain damages, grub damage, cuts, skiving defects, fleshiness, and slack tannage.

Degrained Leather: Leather from which the grain has been removed after tanning, by splitting, abrading, or other process.

Degras, Moellon: The partially oxidized oil pressed out of sheepskin after tannage with cod or other marine oil. (See also Moellon.)

Doeskin: Commercial term for white leather from sheep or lambskin, tanned with alum or formaldehyde or both.

Double-dressed: As applied to chamois skins, with the grain removed and buffed or sueded on both surfaces.

Double Shoulder: The fore part of the hide cut off at right angles to the backbone line at the break of the fore flank, with the belly cut off and the head cut off behind the horn holes (See R’UT’S’ in Fig. 1.)

Doubler: An interlining between the toe lining and vamp of the shoe, to aid in preserving the shape during wear. It is usually made of cotton twill or drill.

Drawn Grain: Shrunken, shriveled, or wrinkled grain surface of leather, particularly in the flanks.

Drum Dyeing: The application of dyestuffs to leather by immersion of the leather in a revolving drum containing the dyestuff solutions, as contrasted with table dyeing.

Drumhead Leather: See Parchment.

Dry Pickling: A method of curing skins from wool sheep with sodium sulfate and sodium chloride.

Dry Salting: A method of curing hides in which the hides are first greensalted and then dried.

Dubbing (Dubbin): (1) A mixture of oils and fats for stuffing leather. (2) Army dubbing – A composition of oil, tallow, wax, and aluminum stearate used for restoring fatty matter to military footwear in the field.

Examination: An element of investigation, without the use of special laboratory appliances or procedures, of supplies and services to determine conformance to those specified requirements which can be determined by such investigation. Examination is generally nondestructive and includes, but is not limited to visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, and other investigations, simple physical manipulation, gauging, and measurement.

Electrified Shearling: Shearling or lambskin in which the wool has been straightened by a special process.

Elk Leather: Trade term used to designate chrome-tanned cattlehide for uppers of work shoes, hunting boots, some children’s shoes, and others requiring flexibility and durability. More properly, Elk-finished Cowhide. Leather made from elkhide is known as “buckskin.”

Elongation: The extension between bench marks produced by a tension force applied to a specimen. It is expressed by a percentage of the original distance between the marks on the unstretched specimen. (Also known as Stretch.)

Embossed Leather: Leather that has been ornamented with a geometrical or fancy design by heavy pressure of a machine.

Extract: A liquid, powder, or solid concentrate of vegetable tannin obtained by evaporating a solution of the tannin material obtained from natural sources.

Eyelet: An annular ring of metal or other material inserted in leather to provide a durable ring for lacing. Regular eyelets are driven in from the outside of the leather. Blind eyelets are concealed on the inner side of the shoe upper, leaving the lace hole with a raw edge on the outside.

Fancy Leather: Leather made from hides and skins of all kinds that have commercial importance and value primarily because of grain, or distinctive finish whether natural or the result of processing. Major classifications include characteristic natural grains, such as reptile and aquatic leather; simulated natural grains; and decorative finished, such as geometrical patterns and metallic finishes. Processing may be graining, printing, embossing, ornamenting (including in gold, silver, and aluminum finishes), or any other finishing operation enhancing the appeal of leather.

Fatliquor: An emulsion of oils or greases in water, usually with an emulsifying agent, used to lubricate the fibers of leather.

Fat Wrinkle: Wrinkles on the grain of leather caused by fat deposits in the live animal. Also known as neck wrinkles.

Fiberboard: A firm, somewhat flexible, composition material in sheet form, made from new long vegetable fibers. Used for counters, insoles, midsoles, and heel lifts. The term is often loosely applied to boards made from scrap material or short-fibered stock, such as chip-board, which has inferior physical properties in the uses mentioned. Leather-board is a type of fiberboard in which the fiber content is at leather 75 percent leather, usually with asphaltic or resinous binder.

Finders’ Sole Leather: One of the two principal types of sole leather. It has less flexibility and compressibility than factory sole leather and is more suitable for use in shoe repair. (See also Factory Sloe Leather.)

Finish: Materials applied to the grain and sometimes split surface of the leather to cover blemishes, create smoothness and give uniformity of color and appearance which may vary from dull to glossy.

Flaky Finish: Appearance of crazing, checking or flaking with or without separation of finish film.

Flanky: A characteristic of loose grain leather that forms coarse wrinkles on bending with the grain inward.

Flesh: The inner side of hide or skin. Also used as an adjective referring to that side.

Flesher: The flesh split or under-cut of a sheepskin, split before tanning. (See also Chamois.)

Flint: Usually in phrases “flint-dried” or “flint hides.” Air or sun-dried without other curing.

Formaldehyde Tannage: Tannage with formaldehyde, used especially for white leathers and washable glove leathers.

Fourchette: A fork or V-shaped piece of leather used in making the fingers of a glove. Pronounced “four’ jet” in the trade.

Foxing: The back part of a shoe upper from shank to heel.

French Kid: Leather tanned from kidskin by an alum or vegetable process.

Frigorifico Hides: Cattlehides from South American slaughtering and freezing plants, cured in brine and salted.

Frizing (Friezing): In tanning Mocha glove leather, a process of removing the grain surface involving severe liming for not less than a month, during which the elastin structure of the grain layer is destroyed.

Front: The forepart of a hide or skin. Particularly in horsehide leather, the front is used for garments, baseballs, etc. It is the part left when the butt is cut off about 22 in. (559 mm) from the root of the tail.

Full Grain: Having the original grain surface of the skin.

Gauntlet: The part of a glove covering the wrist.

Gem Duck: A heavy duck fabric cemented to insoles so as to support and strengthen the insole lip.

Gill Box Leather: A leather used in textile machinery , similar to Comber leather. (See also Apron Leathers.)

Glazed Finish: Produced by polishing grain surface under heavy pressure of a roller of agate, glass or steel. Infrequently made by a varnish or shellac coating.

Glazed (Glace) Kid: Kid leather, usually chrome tanned, with a highly polished, smooth finish. 

Glove Leather: Term covering two distinct classes: (1) the leather used for dress gloves, including those for street, riding, and sports wear. Tanned predominately from hair sheep, wool sheep, and lamb skins and to a lesser degree from deer, pig, goat, and kid skins, and (2) the leather used for utilitarian or work gloves and made of a variety of hides and skins, of which the most important are horsehides, cattlehide splits, calfskins, sheepskins, and pigskins.

Glove Splits: Split chrome-tanned cattlehide leather used for work gloves.

Goodyear Welt: The most widely used type of shoe construction. A hidden chain-stitched inseam holds together the upper, welt, insole, and lining. A lock-stitched outseam attaches the outsole to the welt.

Goring: A woven fabric with rubber threads forming an elastic material. It is used as an insert in footwear.

Grain: The outer or hair side of a hide or skin. Also used as an adjective referring to that side.

Grained Leather: Any leather on which the original natural grain, through any method, process, or manipulation, has been changed or altered.

Green Salting: A process of curing hides in which they are treated with salt on the flesh side and stacked in piles to cure for a period of ten days or more.

Grub Hole: A hole through the hide caused by the penetration of the grub of the warble fly.

Gunn Pattern: A type of welder’s gloves.

Gusset Leather: A soft flexible leather used for gussets in shoes, bags, and cases.

Hair-on Leather: Leather tanned without removing the hair from the skin or hide.

Hand Buffs: A term used to describe upholstery leather of the same type as full top grain except that the surface of the hide is lightly snuffed or sandpapered all over. Such snuffing removes only the top of the hair follicles. Also known as Snuffed Top Grain, Corrected Top Grains, and Top Grain Snuffed.

Harness Leather: A self-explanatory term sometimes so defined as to include collar and saddlery leathers. Harness Leather, including the related items mentioned, is practically all made of cattlehides, vegetable-tanned, except for a considerable quantity of pigskins used for making saddle seats.

Hat Leather: Usually sheepskin or calfskin for sweatbands of hats. The grain splits of sheepskin are vegetable-tanned for this purpose.

Head: That portion of the hide from the snout to the flare into the shoulder.

Heavy Leather: A somewhat indefinite term, generally understood to include vegetable-tanned sole, belting, strap, and mechanical leathers made from unsplit cattlehides. More recently it also refers to thick side leathers.

Heel Base: That part of the heel next to the sole, usually concave to fit the heel seat.

Heel Breast: The forward face of the heel, often concave towards the shank.

Heel Lift: A single layer of leather or other material forming part of a built-up heel.

Heel Seat: The part of the sole to which the heel is attached, often beveled to form a rounded top which fits into the concave heel base.

Hide: The pelt of a large animal, such as cow, horse, etc. Also used interchangeably with skin. (See also Kip and Skin.)

Hide Grades: Standard hide grades, take-up and delivery practice are given in the booklet, “Trade Practices for Proper Packer Cattlehide Delivery,” issued by Leather Industries of America (202) 342-8086 and U.S. Hide, Skin & Leather Association (703) 841-9656, 

Hide Powder: Purified, shredded rawhide as a reagent in the determination of tannins.

Hide Powder, Standard: Any lot of hide powder officially approved by the American Leather Chemists Association.

Hide Substance: The protein content of leather determined by multiplying percent Kjeldahl nitrogen by the factor 5.62.

Horsehide Leather: Leather made from the hide of a horse or a colt. (See also Cordovan and Front.)

Hydraulic Leathers: A collective term sometimes used for the cattlehide leather – either vegetable, chrome, or combination tannages – with special stuffing added, and employed in pump valves, as piston packing, etc. Also known as Gasket Leather.

Imitation Leather:
 Fabric coated with rubber or synthetic resin and embossed, printed, or otherwise finished to resemble leather. Some imitation leathers may contain leather fibers or other protein fibers.

India-tanned: Term applies to hides and skins from India, considered as a semitanned raw material and generally retanned in the United States before finishing.

Indian-tanned: Combination-tanned with alum and vegetable tannins.

Inseam: (1.) Shoemaking – The hidden seam of a Goodyear-welt shoe holding together the welt, upper, lining, and insole. (2.) Glovemaking – A seam on the inside of the finger. 

Insole: A sole of leather or other material cut the size and shape of the bottom of the last. In some shoe construction the insole surface forms the inside of the bottom of the shoe; in others it is covered with a sock lining of thin leather or other material which conceals stitching, nails, etc. Also known as Innersole.

Iron: A term used for measuring thickness of sole leather. One iron equals 1/48 in. (0.53 mm).

Iron Tannage: Tannage with salts of iron.

Kangaroo: Leather made from the hide of the Australian kangaroo, usually chrome-tanned and with a glazed finish. Resembles glazed kid but has a fine grain and is one of the strongest of all leathers.

Kid: Originally referring to leathers made from the skins of immature goats, the term is now rather loosely applied to glove and shoe leathers made from goatskins.

Kip: Skin from a bovine animal in size between a calf and a cow, weighing in green-salted condition from 15 to 35 lb (6.8 to 15.9 kg).

Lace Leather: A form of rawhide leather (from cattlehides) for lacing together sections of power-transmission belts; sometimes prepared also with an alum and oil, chrome, or combination tannage.

Laces, Shoe: The commonest types are cotton and mercerized cotton woven in tubular form or braided, and leather, used mainly for sport shoes, bunting boots, etc. Fabric laces are usually tipped with metal or plastic to permit easy insertion and to prevent raveling.

Lambskin Leather: Term applied to leather from either lambskins or sheepskins, which are practically undistinguishable after tanning.

Larrigan Leather: Oil-tanned light cattlehides used for moccasins.

Latigo Leather: A type of lace leather, alum and vegetable tanned, used in saddlery.

Leather: A general term for hide or skin that still retains its original fibrous structure more or less intact, and that has been treated so as to be imputrescible even after treatment with water. The hair or wool may or may not have been removed. Certain skins, similarly treated or dressed, and without the hair removed, are termed “fur”. No product may be described as leather if its manufacture involves breaking down the original skin structure into fibers, powder or other fragments by chemical or mechanical methods, or both, and reconstituting these fragments into sheets or other forms.

Leatherboard: A type of fiberboard in which the fiber content is at least 75% leather, usually with asphaltic or resinous binder.

Levant: Term applied to goatskin on which the grain pattern is accentuated in tannage. Goatskin embossed to give a Levant pattern is properly described as “Levant-grained goatskin.” Sheep, seal, and other skins bearing this pattern should not be described as “Levant leather” but as “Levant-grained sheepskin,” etc.

Lining Leather: Any leather used for making shoe linings which includes sheep, lamb, kid, goat, cattle, calf, kip and splits.

Linings: Usually refers to quarter lining or vamp lining. Quarter lining is upper lining at the back of the shoe, extending forward to the vamp line. Lightweight leathers are usually used, kid and sheep for women’s shoes, calf and kip for men’s shoes. Coated fabrics resembling leather in appearance are also used. In high shoes cotton drill or twill is often used. Vamp lining extends from the vamp line to the toe. Cotton fabrics are most widely used; leather is used for punched or perforated vamps.

Littleway: A type of shoe construction in which a machine-driven staple holds the upper and lining to the insole, and the outsole is fastened to the insole by a channel-stitched lock stitch or by cementing. A variation is the Uco process, in which the insole, upper, and lining are fastened with cement.

Load: (1) The amount of nonprotein material in vegetable-tanned leather. (2) the amount of tannin in vegetable-tanned leather.

Loading: The addition of glucose, magnesium sulfate, or other materials necessary to give leather the physical properties needed for working in modern shoe machinery. Also known as Filling or Stuffing.

Lock Stitch: A double-thread stitch that locks the threads together within the material. It is distinguished in service by the fact that breaking one stitch does not permit the seam to be raveled out.

Lot (Inspection Lot): A collection of units of product from which a sample is to be drawn and inspected to determine conformance with the acceptability criteria, and is to be accepted or rejected as a whole. It may differ from a collection of units designated as a lot for other purposes for example, production, shipment, etc.

Lot Size: The number of units of product in a lot.

Machine Buffs:
 That cut of the hide from which a buffing of approximately 1/64 in (0.4 mm) (1oz) in thickness has been removed from the grain. This should leave a portion of the grain on approximately the entire hide.

Mange: A parasitic skin disease of animals, resulting in leather with coarse and scarred grain, prominent hair pockets, and soft spots in the leather.

Manufacturer’s Leather: See Factory Sole Leather.

Mat Finish: A smooth, dull finish on upper leather. Sometimes written Matte Finish.

Matadero Hides: Argentinean cattlehides corresponding roughly to city butcher or small packer hides in the United States.

McKay: A type of shoe construction. The upper is tack-, staple-, or cement-lasted and the outsole is attached by a chain-stitched seam. The stitches are concealed by a channel in the outsole and pass through the outsole, upper, lining, and insole.

Mean: The arithmetical average of a set of numbers.

Mechanical Leather: A collective term for many types of leather used in connection with textile and other machinery.

Median: In the numerical values for a given property are arranged in ascending order, the median is (1) the middle value of the series if the number os values is odd; (2) the mean of the two middle values if the number of values is even.

Meter Leather: A specialty leather made from sheepskins, treated to make it impermeable and used for the measuring bags of gas meters.

Midsole: A sole placed between the outsole and the insole.

Milling: A natural softening process in which leather is tumbled in a drum. 

Mineral Tanned: Tanned with chemical compounds of mineral origin, without the use of vegetable tanning materials. Tannage with chromium compounds is the principal type of mineral tannage.

Moccasin: A shoe or slipper characterized by a single piece of leather for the vamp which extends all the way under foot. The vamp has a U-shaped throat to which the vamp plug is attached with a butt seam. It may have an attached outsole of harder leather. Imitation moccasins often have the upper of moccasin-type construction but the Good year welt or other standard type of bottom construction.

Mocha Leather: Leather from any variety of hair sheep. After the grain has been removed by a liming process known as frizing, the fine fibers below the grain are sueded.

Moellon: Synthetic moellon is made by direct oxidation of cod or other fish oils (see also Degras).

Montpelier Pattern: A type of welder’s gloves.

Morocco Grain: Embossed imitation of the natural goat grain on other kinds of leather.

Morocco Leather: Vegetable-tanned fancy goatskin leather having a distinctive pebbled grain.

Mouton: A sheepskin shearling tanned and finished for use as fur; usually with wool straightened.

Mukluk Leather: Leather usually made from deer, elk, or similar skins. It is tanned white with formaldehyde, alum, or syntans. It is highly permeable to moisture vapor and retains its flexibility at very low temperatures.

Mean: Arithmetical average of a set of numbers.

Nailed Process: A method of construction of men’s work shoes in which the upper is lasted to the insole with tacks that clinch against the metal bottom of the last. The insole and outsole, previously stitched together, are attached by nails passing through the entire bottom and clinched.

Nap Finish: A woolly and fuzzy finish, such as suede or reversed calf.

Napa Leather: Chrome-,Alum-, or combination-tanned sheepskin glove leather, drum colored.

Native Hide: A cattlehide without a brand.

Natural MARKINGS: The subtle markings on leather are analogous to finger prints. They distinguish genuine leather from man made materials. Other marks which can appear on the surface of leather are healed scratches and scars, barbed wire marks, stretch marks, vein marks, wrinkles, brands and insect holes. 

NECK WRINKLES: Natural creases from the neck and shoulder areas of the hide. 

NUBUCK: This is a full aniline that has been sanded or buffed in order to create a nap. This is atop grain leather, therefore it is not considered a split or suede. 

NUDE FINISH: A leather that is usually vat dyed, but has little or no protective coat. 

Nuclear Sole: A generic term for synthetic sole materials of the butadiene-styrene type, along with other ingredients. (Note. – Neolite, a trade-mark name for a particular brand, is often used as a generic term for soles of this type.)

Normal Inspection: Inspection that is used when there is no statistically significant evidence that the quality of the product being submitted is better or poorer than the specified quality level.

Oak Tannage: Originally the tannage of leather entirely, or nearly so, with oak bark; later the tannage with a blend containing oak tannin. Now loosely applied to any tannage of heavy leather with vegetable extracts.

Offal: Parts of hides not used for standard grades of outsole leathers; the heads, shoulders, and bellies of heavy leather.

Oiling Off: Coating the surface of wet leather with oil before allowing it to dry.

Oil Tannage: Tannage with cod oil or other oxidizable oil, usually of marine origin.

Ooze: Traditionally, vegetable-tanned suede leather. Now also refers to other tannages sueded or napped on the grain side.

Orthopedic Leathers: A general term for the types of leather used in the manufacture of artificial limbs, braces, etc., for orthopedic purpose. The leathers may range from chamois and horsehide glove to case and strap leathers.

Ounce: A term used to indicate weight or substance of certain kinds of leather, such as upholstery and bag and case leathers. In theory it is based on the assumption that 1 sq. ft. of leather will weigh a certain number of ounces and will uniformly be of a certain thickness; hence a 3-oz. Leather theoretically would be 1 sq. ft. of leather that would weigh 3 oz. In practice this varies because of specific gravity of tanning materials used, and for that reason a splitter’s gauge has been adopted which controls the commercial thickness of leather when sold by the square foot. An ounce is equivalent to thickness to 1/64 (0.0156 in.) (0.4 mm).

Outseam: In glovemaking, with the seam on the outside of the finger.

Outsole: The bottom sole thickness, the surface of which is exposed to wear. Also known as Outersole.

Pac (Pac Leather): A type of footwear used by lumbermen, hunters, and others for outdoor wear, especially in northern climates. It is often of a moccasin type, and the upper usually extends to between the ankle and the knee. Some pacs are made with rubber bottoms and uppers to a height of an inch or more, the remainder being of leather. The leather used in pacs is usually heavily stuffed for water resistance.

Packer Hides: Hides from meatpacking houses.

Packing Leather: See Hydraulic Leather.

Parchment: Traditionally, alum-tanned sheepskin or slunk used for special documents, drum heads, lamp shades, etc.

Patent Leather: Shoe leather with glossy, impermeable finish, produced by successive coats of drying oil or varnish.

Pebbled Grain: An embossed-leather grain finish resembling a pebbled surface, ranging from fine pebbled Morocco goat to heavy scotch grain upper leather.

Peccary: A wild boar found in Central and South America. The skin is usually chrome-tanned and shaved to light weight for glove leathers. It is distinguishable from pigskin and carpincho leather by the fact that bristle holes occur in straight-line groups of three.

Pelt: A raw skin with hair. Usually refers to fur animals.

Persians: India-tanned hair sheepskins.

pH: The negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. A solution at pH 7 is neutral; lower numbers indicate increasing acidity; higher numbers, increasing alkalinity. 

Picker Leather: Leathers used for pickers in textile machinery and having a wide range of properties. Some are hard rawhide buffalo leathers, others glycerin-treated rawhide, and still others belting leather.

Pickle: To treat unhaired hides with a solution of salt and acid in order to prepare them for mineral tannage or for temporary preservation until they reach the tannery.

Pigment-finished Leather: Leather finished with compounds containing opaque pigments which more or less conceal the grain pattern. Split leathers are often finished with pigments and embossed to simulate a grain.

Pigskin: Leather made from the skin of pigs or hogs. In the glove leather trade “”Pigskin” includes peccary and carpincho. (Note. – The popular name “pigskin” for a football is a misnomer, as footballs are generally made from cattlehide leather.)

Pin Seal: Natural grain sealskin tanned for fancy leather. Imitations on other skins should be described as “pin-grain sheepskin,” “pin-grain goatskin,” etc.

Pipey: See Flanky.

Pit: Tiny depression or hole on the grain surface of leather, due to natural causes or manufacturing.

Pitch: The inclination of a shoe heel from the vertical. It should be such that the heel will tread flat.

Plating: Pressing leather with a heated metal plate, usually smooth, under high pressure.

Pocket-shaped: As applied to chamois skins, a skin trimmed in the form of a rectangle with the two corners at one end rounded.

Pre-welt: A type of shoe construction, generally for children’s shoes, in which the upper and welt are joined by a chain-stitch seam, the insole and the upper are cemented together, and the outsole is lock-stitched to the welt.

 The upper part of the shoe upper, above the vamp line.

Quebracho: A tanning material extracted from the wood of a South American tree.

Quirk: A small triangular piece of leather used between the fingers of a glove.

Rand: A strip of leather used around the edge of a leather or composition heel at the base to fill the gap between heel and sole. It is beveled on the inside to a thin edge.

Rawhide: Cattlehide that has been dehaired, limed, often stuffed with oil or grease, and has sometimes undergone other preparation, but has not been tanned. It is used principally for mechanical purposes, such as belt lacings, loom pickers, gaskets, pinions, and gears, and for hand luggage, shoe laces, snowshoes, etc.

Raw Streak: An untanned center layer of leather, visible in cross section as a light-colored streak, especially as applied to heavy leather.

Rejection Number: A number, "R", such that if the number of defective inspection units in the inspection sample taken from the lot is equal to or greater than "R", the lot should be rejected.

Rejection of a Lot: The disapproval of a lot as not conforming to a contract or specification, or both.

Retan: Term applied to leather tanned first with mineral compounds and then with vegetable tannins as alum-retan lace leather or chrome-retan upper leather.

Retannage: A modifying second tannage, applied after intermediate operations following the primary tannage.

Reverse Retan: Term applied to leather tanned first with vegetable tannin and then with chromium compounds.

Rigging Leather: A strong, flexible, vegetable-tanned leather.

Roan: A sheepskin, not split.

Roller Leather: Vegetable-tanned sheep or calfskins used for cots and covers on the upper rolls of cotton-spinning machinery.

Rolling: A tannery operation in which the grain surfaces compressed and smoothed under pressure by a metal roller.

Rough: Term applied to cattlehide leathers tanned but not finished. Also known as Rough-tanned and In The Rough. See also Crust.

Russet: A term of varied meaning in the leather trade, since it connotes both color and tannage. (1) Russet calf is the natural color of unfinished calf leather resulting from tannage by vegetable extracts. (2) Russet harness is a completely finished leather of bright, clean, uniform color and finish. (3) Russet sheepskin is leather tanned in cold-leached hemlock bark and used for shoe linings, with color resulting from the hemlock. (4) Russet upholstery is leather tanned but not finished.

Russian Leather: Originally a Russian calfskin shoe leather, distinguished by it odor of birch oil. Now, in the United States, a fancy calfskin stock.

 A sample consists of one or more units of product drawn from a lot, the units of the sample being selected at random without regard to their quality.

Sample for Examination: A specified number of units taken from a lot for the purpose of visual, dimensional, or tactile inspection.

Sample for Test: A specified number of sample units taken for the lot for the purpose of testing the lot for all physical and chemical properties for which.