What Is Split Leather? Is It The Same As Splitting Leather?

Splitting leather is the craft of separating the layers that compose thick leather pieces. When we hear the term split leather, most people think of shoes, but splitting leather can be used to create a wide variety of things, from belts and wallets to vests and bags. Here, we'll discuss everything you need to know about split leather, including what it is and why it's used.

Whatever happens to the remaining hide after the leather is split or chopped to generate top-grain leather? Glad you inquired! That gets us all to split leather at last. Split leather is indeed a general word for the second and occasionally third cuts of something like a hide, whereas premium materials leather is indeed the initial cut of the hide.

Split leather lacks the same organic appearance and feel as full-grain and top grain leather. This is so because a split leather's surface is actually a layer inside the hide. Therefore, unless they have been intentionally imprinted or embossed onto the leather, features like holes, wrinkles on the skin, etc., are completely missing.

The lowest standard of these three classes, split leather, is often solely utilized to create coloured leather goods. However, split leathers are significantly less expensive. For trim or other parts of finer leather furniture fewer prone to constant wear; for instance, on the edges or back of a couch, split leathers are occasionally used in place of vinyl leather matches.

split leather

What is split leather?


Split leather is a term that is used interchangeably with the phrase splitting leather. It refers to the process of removing the grain layer from an animal hide. This can be done for many reasons, but it's typically done as a part of creating more supple leather. The process of splitting, or removing the grain layer, can also be called retaining. The term split comes from the word tanned, which means treating with tannin. Leather splitting and splitting leather are not always interchangeable terms, but they are related in meaning and sometimes used interchangeably.

Split leather is frequently referred to as "genuine leather." Sadly, this is simply another deceptive word used in the leather business. Whenever anyone hears the word "genuine," they automatically assume that it means that it is a genuine article. However, genuine leather is actually only a word employed by the business to refer to split leathers of poorer grades.

Suede is a type of split leather, too. The splitting of the leather is what gives suede its soft, fuzzy hand feel. As you are probably aware, shoes and other clothing are most frequently made out of suede and other split leathers.

The history of split leather


Split leather refers to the process of separating and thinning the hide of an animal. This type of leather is known for its durability, which is due in large part to its grainy texture. There are a few different ways split leather can be made, but the most popular way is through hand splitting with tools. To make this kind of leather, first, you have to remove hair from the animal's skin by treating it with lime or other substances. Next, soak it in water to become pliable and easy to work with. The skin will then be stretched over a bench or some other type of surface and cut horizontally with a knife at regular intervals (usually 2 inches) until it splits open into strips.

It is known as "splitting" when skin is split into many layers over its whole surface. Splitting is done on thicker leather, primarily cow leather, that is 5 to 10 mm thick. Grain split, also known as top-grain Split, and flesh split, are the obtained layers. The leather may occasionally be robust enough for a central split. Drop split is another name for the Split that is distinct from grain split. The drop-split leather has a rough texture on both sides, much like a leather's back.

The tanner must consider that perhaps the skin's density is larger at this stage because of the wet skin's increased water content while regulating the splitting machine. Wet skin weighs three times as much as leather when it's dry due to the water content. The leather becomes thicker as a result of the water content. To reach the correct leather thickness after the leather is dry, the tanner must take this variance in thickness into account while setting the splitting machine.

It is thought that the grain divided is more valuable. The top part of something like the grain side has a significantly denser fiber structure, which makes it more tear-resistant. When tanned, the grain split is known as smooth leather.

split grain leather

What is split leather made from?


Split leather is leather that has been split down the middle and then glued back together. It is also called split leather or leather splitting. There are many different types of split leather, which can all be made from cow, horse, pig, or sheep skin. The most common type of split leather comes from cowhide and is usually used for products like dress shoes and belts. Split sheepskin is often used for gloves and slippers because it's more flexible than other types of split hides.

Grain split is no longer utilized after leaving the tannery. Depending on the type of leather, the leather trader will then use phrases like "soft leather," "alkane leather," and "napa." The phrase "split" is no longer used in reference to the grain side. The drop split with both the rough and smooth sides is then solely referred to as "split leather," "split," or "suede," and no longer as a "flesh split." This distinction between the terms used in tanneries and also in public is crucial for making leathers more understandable to laypeople. This demonstrates that when we use the word "split," we always refer to the bottom, less stable layer of something like the hide.

Unquestionably, top-grain leather has superior qualities that split leather does not. The individual cannot tell the difference between split and grain leather if the split leather is treated to look like the latter. The leather then resembles a lower-quality veneered wood piece. If the top layer has a smooth leather appearance, it is not leather but rather a covering, and the embossing process produces the grain.

Therefore, from the end user's perspective, labeling requirements are reasonable and acceptable, and split leather should be officially and clearly disclosed.

Suede split leather

The hide is split at the tannery while it remains wet using enormous equipment. Smaller splitting devices that can't separate full hides are frequently seen in leather workshops.

What is split cowhide leather?


Split leather is a type of leather that can be split down the middle. This process is known as splitting leather. The term split comes from its ability to be split down the middle. It is usually made from cowhide, which is tanned and then cut into two pieces for easier use in different projects.

Split leather was originally created because it was more affordable than full hides, but nowadays, it's used primarily for craftwork and repairs due to its high quality and soft texture. The most common types of projects for which you might use this type of material are belts, wallets, or jackets.

What is calf split leather?


Calf split leather is the most common type of leather used in the garment industry. It's a variety of cowhide that has been split down the middle, leaving the grain and natural color intact. The top layer is tanned with a finish, while the bottom layer remains unprocessed. Calf split leather is not as durable as other types of leather (such as buffalo or goat), which makes it best suited for clothing that doesn't require much contact with abrasive surfaces.

pu split leather

What is split grain leather?


Split leather is not the same thing as splitting leather. Split grain leather is a type of leather that refers to the way the animal's skin is split into two sections when it is tanned. The grain side, or outermost layer of skin, has a tighter grain than the flesh side or inner section of skin. It can be used for any type of product made from leather, such as jackets and shoes. The difference between split grain and other types of leather can be seen on a finished product like animal hide but cannot be seen on rawhide because it hasn't been tanned yet.


Why is it used in products like belts, boots and wallets?


Split leather is a type of processed leather that has been split into two pieces. It is primarily used in the production of belts, boots and wallets because it is stronger than full grain leather. Split leather is also sometimes called split cowhide.

How does it differ from full-grain leather in quality and durability?


Split leather is not as durable and high-quality as full-grain leather. Split leather is a byproduct of the process that creates full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is made from the outermost layer of animal hides, which has been left intact during tanning and other finishing processes. The term Split refers to the removal of this exterior layer, often referred to as the grain. This leaves behind a more delicate product that can't withstand heavy use as its counterpart can. It's important not to confuse split leather with split-leather meaning; the two are different products.

Given the existence of these layers, it is logical to assume that full-grain leather could perhaps preserve the whole grain of the hide, which it does. The problem arises given that not all leather includes full-grain leather, despite what you may believe. Actually, a shocking amount of leather—particularly the kind used to manufacture bags—is not. Additionally, the selling cost is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the leather's quality.

Who makes good use of split leather products?


The use of split leather varies by individual and industry. The most common use for split leather is in the creation of saddles. But what is split leather? Split leather refers to the process of removing the upper-most part of the animal's hide, which includes the hair. It has many other uses as well, including for handbags or clothing.

The splitting simply cut nicely, creating a super-flat surface on the new "top" of the Split and the backside of the full-grain piece. Now that the grain has been removed, the Split can also be utilized as leather, although it is considerably more delicate than before. The split leather must maintain a decent thickness to be used because it is significantly less robust and, therefore, can tear easily without the grain layer's tightly packed fiber structure. However, its fresh, top surface might be thoroughly treated to enhance its look.

The Split may be made to seem approximately like full-grain leather by covering it with a couple of layers of pigment, or more often, a polymeric painting or polyurethane (PU) coating that could also be embossed with a grain pattern. In the 1950s, with the invention of the electric splitting machine, we saw the first widespread application of these splits in school satchels, which each student possessed. Today, we see items ranging from this "satchel leather" to saffiano or croc designs that are so lifelike they are nearly impossible to tell from the genuine thing - but only when they are brand new.

Advantages of split leather


Splitting leather is a great way to recycle old materials, which can also save you money. It's also good for the environment, as it saves trees from being cut down and prevents less waste from going into landfills. Leather splitting is a simple process that anyone can do with just a few basic tools and supplies. The process takes about an hour or two and only requires one person.

Disadvantages of split leather


A major drawback of split leather is that it will start to dry out and shrink if not treated in time. This can cause the leather to crack, which makes it very difficult for the split leather to be used. Another problem with split leather is that it does not have as many uses as a whole piece of leather. Split pieces are often too small for anything but trimmings or craft projects.

If you want the best quality, you need to go for the whole piece of animal skin instead of splitting it up before you start working with it.

Cost of split leather vs. other options


You can get split leather for much less than other options like genuine leather, faux leather, or even recycled leather. The cost is about one-fifth the price of these other options! Leather splitting is also environmentally friendly since you are reusing old materials and reducing your impact on the planet.

Where can I buy it from if I want to learn more about the product myself?


Split leather is the layer between the top grain and the flesh of a hide. It is a natural byproduct of tanning that can be used for many purposes, including bookbinding, upholstery and more. So what is split leather? Is it the same as splitting leather? If you're curious, we've got answers!

Split leather is also referred to as split cowhide. The term is used when referring to the layer of material in a cowhide that sits between the top grain and flesh. It's called this because it can easily be separated from the rest of the hide using a splitting knife or blade. Leather splitting means removing this material from other parts of a hide for use in other products.



Split leather is a term for the process of separating the outer layer from the inner layers to make leather lighter and thinner. The word Split is an archaic usage, but it can be understood as meaning to separate or to divide.

Split leather is used in many industries, including fashion, furniture and upholstery, auto parts, shoes and boots, horse tack and saddles, etc. It has many different meanings depending on where it's used.

So what does split leather mean? It's a term for the process of separating the outer layer from the inner layers to make leather lighter and thinner. Split leather is used in many industries, including fashion, furniture and upholstery, auto parts, shoes and boots, horse tack and saddles.

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