INFORMATION ABOUT LEATHER:
The hide is composed of sections called the belly, bend, shoulder or side.
The bend is the section of leather that is of highest quality because it has the least stretch, least amount of waste and is most rectangular. Highest quality belts are made from the bend although belts can also be made from the shoulder which has a little more stretch.
The shoulder is a softer area of the hide, often used for making bags.
The sides are best for large project pieces and when long lengths are required such as oversize belts or leashes.
Bellies are best for small projects as there is more waste due to the irregular shape of the leather. As the belly stretches more than the other parts of the hide, it is used when wet stretching leather around wooden molds. It is also the least expensive part of the hide making smaller projects more affordable to produce.
FULL GRAIN LEATHER: This is the best, the very top layer. There may be blemishes which may or may not be used in the finished product.
TOP GRAIN LEATHER: Split from the top layer and sanded and refinished so there are no blemishes.
GENUINE LEATHER: What's left after the top is split off, the surface is refinished, generally sprayed.
LEATHER THICKNESS: usually measured in ounces. One ounce equals 1/64" in thickness. Therefore, a weight of 7 to 8 oz. means the leather is 7/64" to 8/64" in thickness or approximately 1/8" thick. The thickness of leather varies to some extent throughout the hide. This is why leathers are usually shown with a range of thickness such as 4 to 5 oz., or 6 to 7 oz. As a comparison, a quarter (coin) is equal to a 4 oz. thickness.A standard thickness for belts is a 7 to 8 oz leather.
1. Vegetable (Veg), strong, firm, non-elastic, used for shoe soles, belts, saddles and for carving and stamping.
2. Chrome, most leather is tanned this way, supple, somewhat elastic, used for shoe uppers, handbags, clothing, gloves, etc.
3. Oil treated chrome tanned is weatherproof.
Machine vs Hand Stitching:
Hand stitching is superior to machine stitching in many ways: it will not loosen when a thread breaks or frays, it's appearance is nicer and those areas that require more than one stitch will look much nicer.