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Thread: Buying Leather Hides on the Internet

  1. #1
    pkr914 Guest

    Default Buying Leather Hides on the Internet

    Would really appreciate some advice - I'm totally out of my league here.

    I am buying 6 Cherner chairs, 2 w/arms, 4 w/out (here's a picture, if interested) and want to cover the seat in black leather. The company's cheapest choice if they upholster the chair is $90./chair. If I send them my leather it will be $40./chair for them to upholster it.

    I have been in touch with this company, Leather Hut, from Ebay and even gone to Brooklyn to get samples of their hides. Here's one I like for the chairs:

    It says the finish is "naked". Will that finish hold up? Also it says it's a Grade A leather - according to who?

    I'm told by the owner that the samples I took are $2.50/sf. Each chair requires 4 SF. It seems to me if I buy from Leather Hut, that's the bargain of the year!

    I'm also interested in one of their dark brown hides to cover a 50" x 31.5" Lee Jofa ottoman we're buying (we're downsizing). Here's the one I'm interested in. Think it will work? I like the color, brown with some black in it.

    Would appreciate any and all comments. I want to save money, but I don't want to be stupid. Many thanks, Phyllis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria VA

    Default Re: Buying Leather Hides on the Internet

    OK....ready for a quick education?

    Two types of leather out there, cowhide and steerhide. The EBAY ad says "cowhide", and cowhide is the female skin, not the best choice for upholstery as it stretches. You really want Grade A Steerhide because it won't stretch as much.

    Is this leather top grain or split? All leather is separated into two sections, top grain is the upper part, and the 'splits' are the lower part. Splits are not as strong as top grain and are only suitable to convert to suede or industrial use. I suspect these are splits designed to look like top grain with embossing (but I may be wrong). And it could be Bonded leather as well, otherwise known as Bycast. That's nasty stuff as well, not real leather. I'd ask if its top grain, and hopefully you can tell the difference visually if they say it is.

    The price is really cheap for top grain steerhide.... Most top grain, class A steer hides sell in the lower grades for around $ 12 per sq. ft.

    Finally watch your square footage. 36 s.f equals 2.0 yards of fabric, because of leather yield loss in trimming and going around flaws. You have to buy enough leather to give your upholstery company trim capability otherwise you might wind up with some rather unsightly leather on your pieces (that may or may not matter to you, just a data point). Don't short them too much is my advice. Hancock and Moore figures 2x the leather use that is actually needed by the square foot, for example.

    "Naked" finish is the wrong one for kitchen and dining chairs. You want a protected finish in that environment otherwise they will get stained and possibly ruined in short order. The second, brown leather you reference is protected.

    Interesting experiment in bargain hunting! Keep us posted, I'd like to see the end result....good luck.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  3. #3
    pkr914 Guest

    Default Re: Buying Leather Hides on the Internet

    Thanks - will keep you posted.

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