Glossary – Leather Crafts

Glossary

acrylic dye A dye used like a paint to impart bright colors on vegetable-tanned leather.

aniline A leather dyed with translucent aniline dyes rather than pigments, which creates a deeper dye penetration through the thickness of the hide.

back Half of a whole hide of leather cut lengthwise down the backbone (a side) without the long, stretchy sides (belly).

belly The stretchy, long sides of a hide.

bend The bottom half of a side, without the belly.

binding post Another term for a Chicago screw.

bonded leather The “plywood” of leather, consisting of shredded leather pulp held together with fabric backing, binders, and glues, and cosmetically treated embossed with a leather-like texture; often used for upholstery.

brain-tanned leather Leather that has been tanned using animal brains, an ancient technique.

bridle leather Vegetable-tanned leather treated with dyes, oils, and waxes on both the grain and flesh sides for outdoor use.

buckle A flat, typically rectangular fastener with a hinged pin used for joining the ends of a belt or strap.

buffed leather Leather which has been buffed with an abrasive to create a soft nap, including suede and nubuck.

butts See double bend.

carving leather See vegetable-tanned leather.

center-bar buckle A type of buckle with the hinge pin located in the center of the frame, with the other end of the frame acting as a belt loop.

chamois The flesh side of a sheep, tanned uniquely using oils for absorbency and pliability.

chrome-tanned leather Also known as garment leather, leather tanned using chromium salts.

chromexcel See garment leather.

combination tanned leather A leather tanned with two or more tanning methods, usually chrome-tanning followed by vegetable-tanning.

cordovan A leather made of horse hide, used most commonly in shoes.

corrected grain Leather with the grain sanded down, then cosmetically finished with pigments with a faux grain pattern.

culatta The bottom half of a side, including the belly.

dosset See double back.

double back A whole hide, less the bellies and neck.

double bend The bottom half of the whole hide, less the bellies.

double culatta The bottom half of a whole hide, including bellies.

double shoulder The top half of the whole hide.

draw gauge Another term for a strap cutter.

drive punch Another term for a hole punch.

drum dyeing A dyeing process where leather is tumbled with dye in a drum for maximum penetration of the dye.

edge slicker Another term for an edge burnisher.

edger Another term for an edge beveler.

English bridle leather Bridle leather made in the United Kingdom, the home of bridle leather. English-style and “English” bridle leathers are bridle leathers made outside of England.

finish See gloss.

flesh side The napped, rough side of the leather. On some leathers, like bridle leather, the flesh side is finished to a smooth surface, making it nearly indistinguishable from the grain side.

full-grain leather Leather with the hair removed but the grain left intact. All real vegetable-tanned leather is full grain.

garment leather Also known as chrome-tanned leather, leather tanned using chromium salts.

gloss A protective finish for vegetable-tanned leather applied after dyeing.

grain The outer layer of the skin.

grain side The smooth, finished side of the leather.

hair-on leather Leather with the hair left on to the grain.

half hide See side.

harness leather Bridle leather with extra oils and waxes for a stiffer finish.

hot-stuffed leather Vegetable-tanned leather that has been treated with copious oils and waxes, such as bridle leather.

lacing chisel Another term for a pricking iron.

lacing pony Another term for a stitch horse.

lacing punch Another term for a pricking iron.

latigo leather Leather that is first chrome tanned and then vegetable tanned and treated with oils. Labor-intensive and expensive, latigo is finished on both sides like bridle leather but with the softer feel and drape of chrome-tanned leather, making it a good material for belts and straps.

leather conditioner A solution for adding oils back into leather.

neck The top of the hide above the back.

nubuck Top-grain leather that has been buffed with an abrasive to create a soft nap.

oak leather See vegetable-tanned leather.

oak-tanned leather See vegetable-tanned leather.

oil dye A penetrating dye used in coloring vegetable-tanned leather with a hand application.

overstitch wheel A tool used similarly to a pricking iron operating as a rotary wheel making stitch divots instead of punched holes.

paraffin wax An inexpensive wax made from hydrocarbons used in burnishing.

patent leather A leather with a glossy, impermeable finish treated with multiple oils, resins, and/or varnishes.

pull-up leather A semi-aniline leather with a waxy, waterproof coating applied. Also spelled pullup.

quilting ruler Another term for a quilter’s square.

Sam Browne button Another term for a button stud.

screw post Another term for a Chicago screw.

semi-aniline leather Aniline leather with a top coat added.

shoulder The top half of a side.

side Half of a whole hide of leather, cut lengthwise down the backbone.

sinew A traditional leathercrafting thread made from animal tissue or tendons.

skin An entire animal hide. Skin can also refer more specifically to the entire skin of a small mammal, such as goat, sheep, or pig, as opposed to hide, which refers to a large mammal such as a cow or horse.

split See culatta.

splits The undersection left from splitting leather into two thicknesses.

stitch gouge Another term for a stitch groover.

stitching pony Another term for a stitching horse.

stitching chisel Another term for a pricking iron.

strap leather Usually a thick vegetable-tanned leather, sometimes bridle leather.

structural snaps Another term for Ligne 20 button snaps.

stuffed leather See hot-stuffed leather.

suede Leather—usually split leather—that is buffed with an abrasive to create a soft nap.

swivel knife An advanced leathercrafting tool used for decorative leather tooling.

T-nut Another term for a Chicago screw.

thonging chisel Another term for a pricking iron.

tooling leather See vegetable-tanned leather.

top-grain leather Leather with the grain sanded down for a uniform look, often done to cover up poor quality leather.

utility knife Another term for precision knife.

vegetable-tanned leather Leather tanned using oak bark or other plant tannins. Vegetable-tanned leather is always full grain.

vegetable tanning A traditional, historic method of tanning using oak bark or other plant tannins. It is the tanning method used for bridle and latigo leathers.

Western bridle leather Bridle leather with a moderate amount of oils and waxes for more flexibility.

wet blue leather See chrome-tanned leather.

whole hide The entire skin of a large mammal, such as a cow or horse.

X-Acto knife A brand name commonly used for the precision knife.