In traditional and puritanical terms, Napa or Napa Leather or Nappa was referred to the only sheepskin for its suppleness. However, over the years the term Napa has come to represent any type of genuine leather that is soft and supple in touch and feel. So, now there is Cow Napa along with Lamb Napa that is widely in use today. Due to its suppleness, it is primarily used in leather apparel, furniture upholstery, and handbags. Napa leather has following subcategories –
Pure Aniline Leather: This leather is tanned and dyed with water soluble transparent aniline dyes with no direct surface treatment or any finishing coat application.
Full Aniline Leather: This leather is tanned and dyed with water soluble aniline dyes and coated with a transparent seal coat.
Semi-Aniline /Aniline Pus Leather: An aniline dyed leather that is finished with a clear topcoat, color base, and a topcoat.
Spray-Finished/Pigmented Leather: This leather is sprayed with a transparent seal coat, base colored and top coated for a uniform finish. Needs to be buffed and embossed for finishing.
Nubuck leather is essentially aniline leather, the surface of which has been sanded or brushed and polished for it to have a velvet like nap of protein fibers creating a texture with lush and luxurious appearance. So, if you were to run your hands over this textured surface, it will show the difference in shading as you go along, just like in velvet. Nubuck leather is often mistaken for Suede or reversed leather, which it is not. The basic difference between the Nubuck and Suede is that Nubuck is the outer grain side of the hide buffed and the Suede in the inner side buffed to a smooth finish.
The Suede is generally made by buffing and sanding the inner side of the skin or hide to create a smooth finish. Suede also could be made by splitting a thick hide.
SPLIT GRAIN LEATHER
Split Grain Leather is the leather that is split from the lower side of the hide after the top layer has been split off for the purpose of creating higher selection leather. While the leather goods made from this layer are still acceptable, they are considered inferior in quality as compared to the products made from the top layer. This is because the split leather portion of the hide does not have as strong fiber structure as the top layer does. The leather will also not show the natural marking that a top layer would show. This leather is used in producing goods when affordability is important.
CORRECTED OR TOP GRAIN LEATHER
Corrected Grain or Top Grain Leather is probably the most misunderstood term in parlance of leather goods. People often confuse Top Grain Leather, which is a less expensive type of leather with Full Grain Leather, which is the top-quality leather and therefore expensive. Top Grain Leather typically is defective leather that has been artificially stamped to look like natural grain and is usually heavily pigmented.
Pull-Up Leather is a full natural grain leather that is aniline dyed and finished with oil or wax to give it very soft hand or feel and other unique characteristics. If you stretch this leather the oil and color in the leather temporarily shifts making the pulled areas lighter in color. Ergo, the name Pull-Up Leather. Due to its honest nature and unique characteristics, this leather is very popular where aesthetics is important.
Patent Leather is more or also the same quality leather as any with a high-gloss lacquer coat applied to it in its finishing stages to give it a shiny and reflective surface. Used primarily in making of shoes, apparel, belts, and purses.
Bonded leather doesn’t come from whole hide of an animal but is reconstituted by shredding, grounding, and pulverizing the leather scrap and leather fiber and then mixed with bonding materials or glue to recreate the leather sheet. Primarily used in inexpensive furniture and book binding etc.