As the grain surface is left intact before applying the surface coating, the leather has more fibre strength and durability and as it ages, it will develop a patina (see below) over time. Full grain leather often comes with an aniline finish which stains or dyes the leather while still allowing the natural grain to show through, this subtle finish allows the leather to continue to breathe, as opposed to other types of leather which are sanded down and given a thicker finish coat.
Being the strongest, outermost layer of the hide to be used, and keeping the grain in its entirety, rather than being sanded away to look more ‘uniform’, full grain leather lasts much longer. As it ages, it develops a patina, which is the change in colour over time. This change occurs faster on untreated pieces and is considered to be a highly desirable characteristic of leather.
Every hide is unique as it comes from a different animal with different markings and blemishes so when looking at or working with full grain leather you’ll soon realise that no two hides are exactly the same.
WHAT DOES FULL GRAIN LEATHER UPPER MEAN?
Full grain leather comes from the layer of skin just under the hair and is made from the outermost layer of the hide which means it’s more durable as the structure of the fibres are much more tightly interlinked.
We named our brand GrassLanders as we choose to only use cattle skin to make leather with. All product on our website that is listed as full grain leather, comes from cow hides, bison hides or goat hides only.
HOW TO MAINTAIN FULL GRAIN LEATHER?
Full grain leather is fairly low maintenance. In fact, with our bags we suggest simply wiping your bag down with a cloth every now and then to avoid the build up of dust and dirt. The most important thing about maintaining full grain leather is how it is stored. You should never place any leather product near the radiator or use a hair dryer on it as this can dry out the leather. Another tip for keeping leather soft is keeping it in a humidity controlled environment of about 40-50% to allow it to maintain its essential moisture.
There are hundreds of products available online made for cleaning, waterproofing and conditioning leather, which are all good ways of keeping up the quality of your product. Although it’s nice to embrace the natural changes and ageing of leather, you may want to invest in a suitable leather conditioner or wax from Bunnings (extra virgin olive oil acts as a great conditioning alternative) to keep the leather soft and supple. Just rub the product into the surface of the leather, not dissimilar to moisturising your face, to allow it to soak into the pores. This also helps to stop the leather becoming stiff and drying out.
Please note: it is advised that you always patch test a new leather care product on an inconspicuous area of the leather before applying it all over, as some products may alter the colour of the leather in a way you are not happy with.
HOW LONG DOES FULL GRAIN LEATHER LAST?
Full grain leather is extremely durable and typically lasts 5 times longer than fabric. With the correct care, and dependent on usage, full grain leather can last decades.
FULL GRAIN LEATHER VERSUS CORRECTED LEATHER
While full grain leather is the outermost layer of the hide with the epidermis intact and showing all blemishes, corrected grain leather is just that, a top grain leather which has been ‘corrected’ through buffing and sanding to remove the top layer of blemishes due to brands, healed scars or insect bites. It is then stamped or embossed with an artificial grain. Corrected grain has a much smoother and more uniform appearance but is of lower quality and has a more plastic look and feel to it.
Rest assured all your leather goods are made from the purest form of leather allowing you cherish your goods for very long time.