I recently came across this very handy list of words used in the leather craft / industry. It is no longer being published - some of the term are seldom heard nowadays, but it is still good to take not of all of these terms.
Genuine Alligator is sold by the inch measurements across the back. They run 9 to 6 inches and are used mostly for billfolds and small handbags.
Upper portion of a side (the belly has been removed).
Bottom portion of a side (the part produced when a back is made).
Deer and elk skins, having the outer grain removed.
Hide from a male bovine, capable of reproduction.
Skin from a young bovine, male or female.
Mature bovine that has been vegetable tanned. The only kind of leather suitable for carving, tooling and stamping.
Hides from a bovine of any breed or sex, but usually mature; includes bullhide, steerhide, cowhide, and sometimes kipskins.
The product of oil tanning the underneath layer (called a "flesher") that has been split from a sheepskin.
4-4.5 oz cowhide splits used in making chaps, moccasins, soft boots, handbags and vests. Available in many colors.
This is a smooth finished calf used for many purposes. It is not suitable for tooling. Comes in many colors.
Taken from the flesh side split off a cowhide.
Leathers which have been tanned with soluble chromium salts, primarily basic chromium sulfate. Currently the most widely used tannage in the U.S.A.
Leathers tanned with more than one tanning agent. For example, initially chrome-tanned followed by a second tannage (called a RETAN) with vegetable materials.
Hide from a mature female bovine that has produced a calf.
A mechanical process of permanently imprinting a great variety of unique grain effects into the leather surface. Done under considerable heat and pressure.
Leather as it is when taken off the animals. Only the hair has been removed and grain or epidermis left on.
“Breathing", yet water-repellent. Unusual grain surface. Is virtually skuff-proof. Used mainly for men’s shoes, tips on children’s shoes, belts and wherever leather is used.
Skin from a mature goat.
Leather graded by sight and feel by well trained graders. Grade designations vary from tanner to tanner. Grading is only on amount of marks and blemishes.
This is the epidermis or outer layer of animal skins.
Hides and skins which have been processed with the grain, or outer surface, dressed for end use.
Vegetable tanned cattlehide leather finished for harness and saddlery use.
The whole pelt from large animals (cattle, horse, etc.)
Skin from a bovine, male or female intermediate in size between a calf and a mature animal.
Skin from a lamb, or young sheep.
Cowhide specially tanned for the making of very rugged, long wearing outdoor gear.
LIVE OAK TANNED
Reg. TM, the exclusive property of Tandy Leather Co. Referred by some as "Easy Tooling Leather because it tools and carves easily with wonderful results.
All leather is measured on intricate measuring machines at tannery and marked to the nearest Va of a sq. ft.
Special 4-5 oz cowhide tanned soft and rugged for long wearing outdoor use.
A goat originally from Morocco, now from India. Has a crinkled effect and is very durable. Used for billfolds.
Used for linings. Suitable for tooling in the heavier weight. Color “natural” as the name indicates.
Cowhide that has been specially tanned to produce the Latigo Look and still be suitable for tooling.
Leathers tanned with certain fish oils. Produces a very soft, pliable leather such as chamois.
Term used to specify the thickness of leather. One (1) ounce equals about 1/64" = 0.4mm of thickness.
(8 OZ = 8/64” = 1/8" = 3.2mm)
A shoe leather used for the outer soles. From vegetable tanned cattlehide, often quite thick and even compressed.
A shoe leather, heavily finished to give a highly lustrous, baked enamel type appearance, used for shoe uppers. Generally from cattlehide.
Pig design on lamb.
An untanned hide or skin with the hair on.
Skin from pigs or hogs.
Tanned with the fur left on. Used for warmest trim, handbags, linings, pillow covers and home decor.
Large sheep skins with the deep pile wooj left on. Used for throw rugs, home decor and high fashion jackets.
Made from cow or goat skins. The leather is not tanned, only treated to prevent decay. Used for drum heads and Indian lore projects.
Very heavy vegetable tanned cowhide. Used for making saddles and other ranch gear.
Washed and tanned with the wool left on, then clipped to the desired length, usually one-fourth to one inch.
Cattlehide grain leather which, prior to processing, has been cut in half forming two “sides". The reduced size better accommodates tannery equipment Represents largest volume of commercial leather produced.
The pelt from small animals (calf, sheep, goat. etc.).
The top grain is split off a sheep. Very light and used for pasted or glued linings. The flesh side of this leather is often used for making CHAMOIS.
The skin of an unborn or prematurely born calf. The skin is sold with the hair still on it.
The underneath layer of side leather which has been “split” off. Devoid of a natural grain, it may be either sueded or pigment finished and embossed.
Leathers that are finished by buffing the flesh side (opposite the grain side) to produce a nap.; Term refers to the napping process, and is unrelated to the type of skin used.
Any leather that has been vegetable tanned and is suitable for tooling.
Heavier than Kip or tooling calf and suitable for larger patterns.
TOP GRAIN does not mean “Full Grain." Top grain has often been sanded to remove scars and is then sprayed or pasted to “cover up”. TOOLING LEATHER must be Full Grain and must not have been doctored.
Large cattlehide, split thin, and tanned for use as furniture and automobile seat coverings.
Leathers which have been tanned with vegetable materials, that are derived from certain plants and trees, often called BARK tannins.