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Thread: Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

  1. #1
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    Default Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

    New to the board. Great to be here. I've read a lot of the stickies so forgive my ignorance on these subjects, but I think my wife and I were conned by a high end national furniture place that sold us a power reclining sofa and loveseat. The sales person said the item was 100% leather. She even referred to it as "top grain". On the website for the product, the description is intentionally vague and it is called "refined sable leather". There is no spec sheet. However, in the Q&A section, the company answers customer questions and 3 times it refers to the leather as "top grain".

    My problem is that this sofa is too delicate. I have 3 boys under 8 and the salesperson said this set would hold up with kids. Instead, see the attached photo. It is pretty easy to scratch and it has this very this super thin protective layer that has the grain stamped on it. No way is that protective layer leather or "top grain" leather. The top layer, after only 7 months, is coming off in a couple spots. The manufacturer is some company out of Hong Kong called Violino. They were bragging in a furniture today article a few years back about how they are using "split" leather.

    My question for the experts here is this...can you tell from that picture whether this is split leather (the layer underneath the paper thin top coat)? If so, is this the bottom layer of the hide? Is there any way their claim of top grain leather can be true? I'd be shocked if it is.

    Thanks for your help.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

    Sorry...forgot to add...they also describe the product as "semi aniline" leather. Not sure if that makes a difference.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

    Read this segment through its entirety and then we will review your questions afterwards, this will tell you about leathers, the types, and splits.

    http://www.myfurnitureforum.com/show...ecting-leather

    Looks to me you have a bonded or bicast leather product - and they do exactly what yours is doing. The plastic topcoat is peeling away. I think you may have made a bad buy.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

    Thanks Drcollie. I read through your segment. Very helpful. I'm still a bit confused though. The company calls the leather semi-aniline and 100% real leather. But, bi-cast doesn't seem like it is real leather....although I guess in the US they can call it that. To me, this looks like a split which is covered by a very thin protective top coat that has a grain on it. I can't see any grain on the layer below the protective top coat. (looks almost like suede). What irks me is that they called this "top grain" leather. I don't think a split can be called "top grain".

    Is it common to have a split hide with a protective top coat that has a grain (probably fake)? Is there any way in the U.S. that they can rightfully claim this is "top grain" or "semi-aniline"? Seems to me like I should contest this transaction. Thanks for your help.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Leather Newbie Confused about "split" leather

    I'd have to see that leather up close and personal, I can't make a 100% positive call off that one photo. I seriously doubt that is a semi-aniline hide. I've never seen one do that and there have been thousands of pieces through my store.

    That shows all the hallmarks of a bicast or bonded leather subproduct, or something made from a split. If it looks like suede underneath, then that is a split and its had a plasticized top coat applied is my guess. A split is not top grain, its the lower portion of the hide after its been sliced in half. The top portion is the Top Grain.

    Either way, you should go back to the seller and discuss a credit or replacement.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

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