【 Where Leather Comes From: A Journey from its Origin to its Transformation 】 - Curtidos Menacho
where does leather come from
Leather is one of the most versatile and durable materials that exist. It is used in a wide range of products, from footwear and clothing to furniture and accessories. But where does leather come from? How is it transformed from animal skin into a resistant and durable material? In this article, we invite you to take a journey from the origin of leather to its transformation into different products, so that you can better understand its history, its process. and its alternatives.

The Origin and Transformation of Leather

What is leather and how is it produced?

Leather, a material admired for its durability and versatility, is obtained after a detailed process of tanning animal skins. This process has been refined over centuries, although its main objective remains the same: converting a natural resource into a utilitarian product. Leather is derived mostly from the meat industry, efficiently taking advantage of byproducts to create added value. This synergy between industries is an example of how production processes can be efficient and sustainable.

The origin of leather : livestock

Leather comes mainly from the skin of animals that are raised for the production of meat, milk or wool. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in 2019 there were about 1.5 billion heads of cattle, 1.2 billion sheep, 1 billion pigs and 400 million goats in the world. These animals are the main source of leather, although the skin of other animals such as reptiles, birds or fish is also used.

The leather process: tanning

Leather is not a natural material as we know it, but requires a transformation process to convert animal skin into a durable and resistant product. Tanning is a key process in leather production, where raw hide is transformed into a material that does not deteriorate over time.

Tanning methods vary widely, from vegetable tanning, which uses natural tannins, to modern methods with more advanced chemicals. This diversity in techniques allows for a wide range of finishes and features, thus satisfying the needs of different industries.This process consists of several steps:

- Skinning: the animal's skin is separated from the rest of the body, cleaned and classified according to its quality and size.

- Edging: The skin is trimmed to eliminate excess or defective parts.

- Soaking: The skin is submerged in water to hydrate it and remove dirt, blood and organic remains.

- Defleshing: the inner part of the skin is scraped to remove the subcutaneous tissue, hair and glands.

- The fleshing: excess fat and proteins are removed from the skin using chemical or enzymatic agents.

- Tanning: the skin is treated with substances that give it stability, resistance and flexibility. The most common type of tanning is chrome tanning, which uses chromium salts as a tanning agent. This method is the fastest and cheapest, but also the most polluting and toxic, since it generates waste that is dangerous for the environment and human health. Other types of tanning are vegetable tanning, which uses plant extracts such as tannin; alum tanning, which uses aluminum salts; or synthetic tanning, which uses synthetic resins.

- Retanning: the leather is treated again with substances that give it color, softness, shine and other desired properties.

- Drying: Excess moisture is removed from the skin using methods such as pressing, hanging or vacuum drying.

- The finish: Different techniques are applied to improve the appearance and quality of the leather, such as sanding, polishing, varnishing, stamping or engraving.

The leather process tanning
Different types of leather and their characteristics

Different types of leather and their characteristics

According to its origin, leather can be classified into:

Bovine leather: is the most common type of leather. It is obtained from the skin of cows.

Goat leather: it is obtained from the skin of goats.

Porcine leather: it is obtained from the skin of pigs.

Equine leather: It is obtained from the skin of horses.

Reptile leather: It is obtained from the skin of reptiles, such as crocodiles, snakes or lizards.

According to its tanning method, leather can be classified into:

Vegetable tanned leather: It is the most traditional type of leather. It is obtained using tannins, which are natural substances found in the bark of trees.

Mineral tanned leather :It is the most common type of leather today. It is obtained using chromium salts, which are chemical substances obtained from the extraction of minerals.

According to its properties, leather can be classified into :

Nappa leather: is a type of soft and flexible leather. It is used in the manufacture of footwear, clothing and accessories.

Suede leather: is a type soft and velvety leather. It is used in the manufacture of shoes, bags and clothing.

Suede leather: es a type of soft, plush leather. It is used in the manufacture of shoes, bags and clothing.

Synthetic nappa leather: It is a type of synthetic leather that imitates the properties of nappa leather. It is used in the manufacture of footwear, clothing and accessories.

The final product: the leather

The result of the leather production process is a resistant, durable and versatile material that can be used to manufacture different products such as clothing, shoes, bags, belts, furniture or accessories. Furthermore, leather is a raw material that has several advantages as a material, such as its adaptability, its breathability, its thermal insulation or its elegance.

That is why at Curtidos Menacho as a wholesaler and experts in leather sale we invite you to visit our catalog at tanned leather, so you can choose your best batch of leather for that project you have in mind. If you want buy cheap leather without sacrificing quality, do not hesitate to contact us, you will not regret it.

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