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656 Highway 6, Unit3
Caledonia ON N3W 1M6
Store Hours: Mon-Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-7, Fri 10-8, Sat 10-5:30, Sun Noon-5

Top grain leather isnít an expense itís an investment. A natural material it becomes richer and more desirable the more you use it. This handmade Canadian leather sofa has a rolled back mimicking the graceful curves of a sleigh. Covered in a brown distressed leather (there are over 80 leather choices, all top or full grains) it promises years of happy family memories (Did you know, top-grain leather will outlast most fabrics four to five times)? Yes you can order it with a firm cushion at no additional charge.
Part of our Hollywood glamour collection the Redford features extra deep seating, perfect to cozy up on with your special someone. Not only can you choose the leather and the comfort level for the seating but you decide if you want it with two or three cushions across the back and on the seat. Because the Hollywood glamour sofas can be large, the arms are removable if necessary to make it easier to get into most spaces.

All About Leather

Leather is the strongest, most durable and practical upholstery covering with unrivalled richness yet able to outlast fabric four to five times.

The finest leathers come from Central and Southern Europe or Scandinavia where conditions cause less damage to the hides from scratches and insect bites.
It’s a natural material with distinctive wrinkles and marks that make each piece unique. Even grain distinctions cause dyes and finishes to penetrate to differing degrees creating attractive variations. These are the hallmarks of fine leather not imperfections.

After cleaning and conditioning, hides are sorted according to quality. The best are set aside for upholstery. Unlike shoes and handbags, upholstery requires large unblemished hides making upholstery leather the most expensive per square foot.
The outside surface – or top grain - of the hide is cut away from the rest and reduced by a series of rollers to a thickness between 0.9 and 1. 4mm. Because the cells are closer together in the outside layer, it’s the strongest, most supple and durable part of the hide. The layer below - called the split - is thicker and stiffer but not as strong.

Important Consideration Number One: Real Leather, Fake Leather or the Stuff In-Between

Top Grain Leather – The outside layer – or top grain - is most desirable for furniture. Nature adds its share of markings, often requiring sanding, protein injections to retain suppleness and a protective coating. This process – called correction – adds heat and light protection and makes it more resistant to spills. The more correction a hide requires the lower the quality. Those top grain hides requiring no correction – the rarest and most expensive - are called full grain or full top grain. These premium leathers are incredibly comfortable because the leather can breathe. However, they are more susceptible to staining and marking with use.

Bi-Cast Leather – Made from the split hide below the top grain, it’s vinyl coated to resist cracking, splitting and peeling. While this helps it doesn’t come near matching the durability and feel of top grain leather.

Bonded Leather – The leather equivalent of particleboard, it contains only about 17% leather in the backing. What looks like leather is actually vinyl.

Important Consideration Number Two: Dye and Protective Coatings

Full Aniline Dye – Hides are immersed in a transparent aniline dye allowing the natural markings to show through then rotated in drums until the dye completely penetrates from front to back. No protective coat is applied making for the most luxurious of leathers. Generally reserved for premium leathers it’s also the reason they’re so vulnerable to stains.

Semi-Aniline Dye – Used on corrected leathers. Despite the name, hides are dyed through but then a layer of pigment is sprayed on top to even out variations. A thin coat of lacquer seals in the colour, resulting in leather that’s almost as soft as premium leather yet harder-wearing and protected against fading and staining.

Surface Pigment – Used only on the cheapest hides, primarily bi-casts. The pigment sits on top and is then sealed with lacquer resulting in a stiffer surface. Easily identified because back is not the same colour as the front. The raw hide will show through if nicked or scratched and is susceptible to cracking and splitting.

Important Consideration Number Three: You

Quality leather isn’t an expense it’s an investment that looks better the more you use it. There’s a place for bi-cast and bonded leathers but it’s false economy to think they’re cheaper. Top grain leathers, whether full or semi-aniline dyed, cost more up front but last longer, age well and hold their value better.

It’s confusing out there. Terms like “All Leather” and “Top Grain Seating” can lead you to believe you’re looking at a quality piece of furniture when it’s just the opposite. If you know what you’re looking for it makes it that much easier to ask the right questions. (Hint: For “All Leather,” ask what kind of leather. For “Top Grain Seating” ask what the rest is made out of.)

Consider carefully how you’ll use your leather and what you expect of it before making a decision about which type to invest in.

We don’t stand still. Stock is always changing as we strive to keep fresh and ahead of the newest styles. Rather than include pictures on our web site that might already be obsolete, check out the link to Leathercraft for the full range of what we can provide for you.

Please note
: We carry a generous sampling from Leathercraft but with so much available not everything is on our floor. However, anything you see you can order from Applegate & James.

Leathercraft Furniture - http://www.leathercraftfurniture.com

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