Leather is the most crucial factor to decide the quality of barcelona style furniture, and can be devided into two types, one is the genuine leather, the other is the synthetic leather.
We use 4 different kinds of genuine leather to make our chairs and sofas.
1) real calf leather
2) Italian leather
3) aniline leather
4) pony skin or cowhide
For synthetic leather, we use PU leather not vinyl or PVC
Real Calf Leather
Real calf leather is the genuine leather processed from the natural skin of cattle or buffalo, it has the natural poles if you look close at them, which you can not find in the synthetic leather.
We use the cattle leather for the barcelona chairs unless requested by buyers for other choices.
Cattle leather vs Buffalo leather
Though the two are all called calf leather,and both are mostly used in the furniture industry, they are quite different.
The real calf leather made from cattle is with full and dense grains in the surface and well-stacked, it is stronger in the intensity and tenacity, better in the elasticity, feels much more soft compared to buffalo leather.
Cattle leather can stay glossy and intact through a long time, while the buffalo leather, although it has the natural poles same with cattle leather, it is with less density and elasticity, and easy to break in the usage
Cattle leather is more expensive than buffalo leather due to its better quality. But it is very hard for normal customers to tell when the leather is new, as they are quite similar from the outside. Only after usage of some time, the distinctions can be shown.
In the market,many sellers use buffalo leather to substitute cattle leather, and still claims to be real calf leather or even "Italian Leather".
For many middle sellers, you don't need to ask him about whether their offer is cattle leather or buffalo leather, as he is even unable to tell by the seller himself if he is not the factory provider.
First layer vs second layer
We use the first layer leather NOT second layer leather.
The natrual skin of calf or buffola can be devided into two layers when it is crosscut in the process.
The first layer leather is the upper layer with grains and intensive fibers, sometimes even with wrinkles and imprints as it is natural. It is usually the total piece of the leather when our factory buys it from the leather shop or factory for production.
The second layer leather is the lower layer leather with loose and sloppy fiber, which must be processed together with chemicals such as polytene, adhesion agent, tectoria technique of PVC or PU and spray paintings. And it is not sold as a whole piece.
The easiest way to tell first layer leather from the second one is, the first layer leather is able to have wrinkle, while second layer leather is not.
Sometimes we would hear from customers saying that the cushions have wrinkles or imprint when she unpacked. It is just because we are using the first layer real calf leather.Most of the wrinkles or imprints can be recovered after a time as the leather is breathing and bounced. Ony the cushions made of second layer real leather or synthetic leather, you can never find wrinkles or imprints on it.
First layer leather is almost twice higher in the cost than the second layer leather.Some sellers use the second layer leather to reduces the cost to half, but after 6-12 months the surface of the leather is falling off and the cushions is worn.
Italian Leather is a calf leather produced in Italy and Europe, and needs to be imported into China. Italian leather has the great reputation in the worldwide industry due to its high quality and highly developed process techniques.
Compared with the normal calf leather, it is with higher density grains and very very soft when you touch it. It has a natural gloss on the surface of the leather which makes the whole furniture even more elegant.
Recently with the process techniques highly rised in China, many leather factories import from Italian the raw materials and process it into finished leather in China, in this way, the cost of Italian leather is reduced much while the quality is most the same with the originally processed ones.
Under this circumstances and with rising quantity of orders, we directly order Italian leather from the leather factory now and upgrade our products from normal real calf leather to Italian leather.
Aniline leather is the leather second-processed from top quality real calf leather (first layer and cattle leather), by using a soluble topcoat paint or insoluble pigments to dye it but without covering the surface. Thus this leather is with a very unique gloss and color, but different from other synthetic leather, you can see the natrual pores, grains there.
Aniline leather is the most expensive leather and the net cost of a piece of aniline leather is nearly 10 times of the normal real calf leather.
Due to its high cost, aniline leather is not so popular with the market. In our factory non-bulk orders (not buying at container quantity as wholesale), as the direct manufacturer we offer it around $1000-$1500. The geniune aniline leather chair offered by branded reseller is sold around $5000. In the market many middleman sellers put a tag of aniline leather on the chair and sell it around $1000, which is actually made of fake aniline leather. For more details, please click Compare Italian Leather and Aniline Leather
Pony skin & Cowhide Leather
Cowhide leather is the natrual skin and hair of cow. Pony skin leather is the natrual skin and hair of pony. After process, the two is more alike each other in the surface grain and structure, but usually cowhide leather is with color of white and black while pony skin leather is white and gray.
Cowhide and pony skin leather is as expensive as aniline leather, due to its complicated process and high quality and elegance.
There is no color swatch for cowhide or pony skin leather, because none of the two can be with the same grains or lines or same pattern. In another word, each cowhide or pony skin leather is unique.
Sometimes, customers will require the leather to be more white than black or more gray than white, in this situation, we will take the pictures of each piece of leather and you can choose from them, then we use it to produce. This step can be only done after your payment, because only with the order confirmed, we can choose the cowhide and pony skin leather, and buy from the leather supplier in the quickest manner in case the one is bought by others and no substitutes any more.
PU leather--The best for vegetarian
PU leather is a synthetic Leather, made of polyurethane with canvas which is strong in tensile strength as backing (sometimes together with furs). It is not the genuine leather but made to feel, look and display properties similar to genuine
leather. It is widely used to make shoes, bags, furniture, balls,luggage and etc."
PU leather can be made with wide-ranged colors, patterns, and various process, for this point the geniune leather can never match.
There are also various grade for the PU leather based on different process techniques. Some PU leather with special process is even more expensive than geniune leather.
What we use is the high quality PU leather with two layers of canvas backing inside and outside, and with furs at bottoms, which are more or less the same in cost with normal real calf leather.
There are some rumormongers in a deceptive rating website pretending our customers saying that we use vinyl to make the cushions which is stinking, they are totally lying and cheating without any professional background.
Vinyl leather is also called PVC leather, it is a synthetic leather as well. It is made by coating the Polyvinylchlorid grains into the T/C knitted fabric and then processed through the foaming.
PU leather is much more complicated in the process, invovling the coating with semi-leather and later separating from it.
Just because PU leather is with semi-leather involved and with canvas as backing, it is more soft, breathable, and much better in the tensile strength, which means when an adult pulls the PU leather and PVC leather with two hands, the former will be hard to break while the latter can be broken into two pieces in 5 seconds.
PU leather is twice of the cost of PVC leather.
Just because the PU leather we use is with the characteristic of strong tensile strength, in the standard quality of barcelona chairs, we use it at the bottom of the cushions. From outside look, they are nearly the same with the real calf leather or italian leather, buth with much lower cost and same or better function.