The pendulum has swung back and forth when it comes to the use of leather in automobiles. Years and years ago the use of leather was predominant throughout an automotive interior. Seating, door panels, and even headliners were all in leather. In the ’50s it became a combination of some leather, some vinyl. In the ‘60’s and ‘70s manufacturers went almost totally to vinyls for their upholstery materials, attempting to keep costs down, into the ‘90s, it is back again to leather, the miracle product of nature. Strong, rough and rugged as a bull, yet breathable, soft and supple as baby’s butt depending on how it is tanned, nothing manmade can even approach the features of the incredible product – leather.
The long molecular chains in the leather’s makeup create a product that wears out razor blades after just a few cuts, demonstrating its truly unusual strength and durability. Yet these three-dimensional chains are what allow it to drape and mold to any contour, offering a look when upholstered nonexistent with any manmade material. The porous structure of the natural skin provides a very desirable breathability and absorption of color creating a beauty only Mother Nature can offer.
But leather isn’t leather! Vast differences exist in leather when tanned for different end uses. For the purpose of this article let me limit the discussion to the differences between leather tanned for furniture versus lather tanned for automotive end use. Generally, when tanning leathers we look to accomplish three goals. First is to make the product inert. It is initially a living substance and we must stop what would be the process of decomposition. Then we want to both color and soften the material for upholstery use. The hides are placed in very large drums and rotated with numerous chemicals to impart desirable features we wish to have in the finished product.
Four major differences exist in tanning skins for automotive end use versus furniture use:
1. The split or thickness of the leather should be greater. Automotive end use demands far more “use and abuse” than furniture. Heavier threads are used in sewing, and more sliding across and bouncing up and down are encountered as one rolls down today’s not so terrifically smooth highways.
2. Because of the above sliding and bouncing, automotive leathers require a little “harder” finish in the final stages of tanning to insure long-term wearability.
3. Automobile leathers are exposed to much more ultraviolet rays (sunlight) than furniture leathers and require more ultraviolet resistance or rapid fading and overall degradation of color will ensure.
4. Automobile leathers must be tanned to withstand more temperature extremes. Some cars wind up in northern Minnesota and others in southern Texas. Some cars go from one place to the other during their lives, and the owner expects the leather to hold up, and rightly so.
Therefore, be aware of these differences. Choose a reliable supplier and ask about how products being offered for sale are tanned. You will be the wiser and happier for it. Your investment in properly tanned leather will pay dividends as the years go by.
There’s something so delightful to remember from December (of 2015). Keleen Leathers’ Gigantic Rug was featured in DreamHome 2015 in the bedroom. Frank Fontana mentioned us in the video above. We were so happy to work with him and be a part of this amazing showcase of elegance and beauty. Take a360 tour by clicking here.
Fontana’s vision was simple: a bedroom should be a retreat that stimulates the senses and tickles the imagination, while projecting the feeling of serenity and balance! With the room’s grounding undertones of rustic wood elements, Fontana and his team contrast glamorous finishes with layers of rich texture to create a warm, yet stylish motif awash in monochromatic gray tones. A clash of metallic wall coverings, gray wood planking, mirrored furnishings and sensible styling make this room a perfect Midwest meets city dream. Custom window treatments, custom hide rug, one of kind art piece accents and comfortable seating round out the show-stopping design. (Source)
A bit of information on our Gigantic Rugs: When one hair on hide rug just isn’t big enough…. our gigantic rugs are the solution! We can create a custom rug that is the perfect size for your space. Natural patterns, stencils, hair parlor… options are endless. Rugs are complete with backing. Call us at 630.590.5300 for more details.
Our leather is featured in this month’s issue of Elle Décor Super Chic. Utah 1618 was chosen for the beautifully upholstered ottoman. Now, Utah is often described as having that “Old World” look. A two-tone effect and a bit of oil on the surface gives these aniline hides charm and character. A clear water based top coat is applied at the end of the tanning process for a soft, smooth feel and a bit of added durability and stain protection. If you’re interested in doing a project similar to the one below, we recommend Utah. It is one of our many collections reflecting elegant vintage luxury.
Our new hair-on-hide leather collection HAIR PARLOR is featured in this Season’s publication!
More About Hair Parlor
Do “Brunettes Have More Fun”? Ready for your “Set & Style” you “Blonde Bombshell”? Want a “Purple Pixie Cut” or should I “Cover My Greys”? Whether you are “Up In Foils” getting “Highlights”, a “Silver Streak Cougar” or have “Purple Hair Don’t Care” The KL Hair Parlor has the right look for you! Hair Parlor is a combination of prime hair-on cowhides that are both acid-washed (Metallic or Non Metallic) and natural aniline dyed. Both are produced using the finest European hides. They are a very unique product imported from a specialized tannery in Italy. The acid-washed hair-on cowhides are dipped to create an acid-washed effect that is completely unique from hide to hide. The natural hair-on cowhides are dyed throughout.
So, go “Punk Blue” or “Rock The Mohawk”!!! Get a “Beautiful Blowout” on your “Platinum Blonde” “Goldie Locks”. The Hair Parlor is truly unique and really adds oomph to any room.
Sold in 55 SF full hides with the exception of “Highlights” which is available in half hides.
All running color ways may not be shown. Please call 1-630-590-5300.
Chicago Life Magazine Mentions Keleen Leathers, Inc.
Keleen Leathers, Inc. was mentioned in the Chicago Life Magazine Fall 2015 Issue. BELTwalkand KLAD™, our leather surface system were the topic of discussion. Why? Well…
BELTwalk offers unlimited design possibilities…
…at half the price of traditional leather floor & wall tiles! Cutting the leather into strips allows us to develop this magnificent leather at a 50% lower cost than if provided in squares. Keleen Leathers BELTwalk vegetable tanned leather flooring absorbs the traces of our life as it grows old without becoming unattractive.
KLAD™ offers exciting design styles for most surfaces…
…to create leather walls and floors. Designs of all shapes and sizes can be cut to specified dimensions using any of Keleen’s exceptional leathers and hair on hides as the surface material.