The chemical process by which animal skins are turned into pliable skin is known as tanning. This takes approximately six weeks to complete and includes up to 120 steps. Tanning includes curing, preserving, soaking and dehairing the raw skins, cleaning the flesh side (suede side) by soaking in a salt solution, wringing to remove excess moisture, splitting, shaving, dyeing, drying, conditioning, buffing, finishing, measuring and grading the skin.
A variety of finishes are used to enhance the natural beauty of leather. Aniline finish is like staining wood allowing the natural grain to shine through, pigmenting is like painting - completely covering the natural surface. Nubuck is the top or grain side of the leather which has been buffed with a fine sand paper to give it that velvety appearance.
The most common finishes are aniline, pigmented, patent, metallic, oily, waxy, suede and nubuck.
The manufacturers select leather of a quality standard. When leather is cut, special precautions are taken to minimise damage and waste. The leather is then assembled and all the pieces are again inspected for quality.
Leather permits the free flow of air and moisture, making it an ideal material for footwear. Because of the special nature of leather, it is most important that your customers receive product care information when making their purchase.
TYPES OF LEATHER PRODUCED
HIDE - A heavy leather tanned from cow hide. Used in mens working shoes and industrial footwear.
CALF - Leather from a small bovline animal. Fairly thin, high quality leather with a fine grain appearance: light weight and supple for better class shoes.
BUFFALO - Distinctive rough grain.
KID - Young goat leather from the skin of a young goat. Fine grain, firm texture and elegant appearance.
KANGAROO - Soft, light and strong: very durable and flexible.
SHEEP - Two groups
1. Wool sheep Leather.
2. 'Grease sheep' - spongy and less durable
PIG - Shows the grain of strong pig bristles.
FULL GRAIN - The natural outer surface or grain portion of leather.
GRAIN - The outer surface of leather produced by any special finishing or embossing.
SHOES WITH NORMAL LEATHER UPPERS
The object should be to build and maintain a continuous wax film over the shoe. To achieve this Platinum Shoe Cream or Luxury Leather Conditioner must be applied regularly as described below.
1. If only dusty or slightly dirty, clean with Platinum Premium Polishing Cloth or using the Polishing and Buffing Brush, brushing lightly, then apply Platinum Shoe Cream or Luxury Leather conditioneras in (3) and (4).
2. If very dirty or muddy, remove lumps with a blunt knife, preferably as soon as shoes are taken off, then wipe down, using using platinum bag + shoe wipes. Do not rub hard, or gritty particles may damage the surface of the leather.
3. When dry apply Waproo Shoe Cream or Waproo Luxury Leather Conditioner following any instructions given on the product label. Never use polish or cream to remove dirt: remove the dirt first. Waproo Renovating Polish should match the color of the shoes, a transparent neutral polish can also be used. Remember, however, that excessive applications of polish or cream may change the shade of delicately colored leathers.
4. Polish by brisk but gentle use of Platinum Polishing + Buffing Brush or Polishing Cloth. Please note that an accumulation of old polish may make shoes dark or shabby. They can be revived by the careful use of Waproo Preparer, Waproo Stripper or Waproo Spot Remover for removing grease spots etc.