Full Grain Leather

Created by Nature, Perfected by DaVarg




Note 23

To understand fully, is to appreciate more.

- Castello DaVarg   


Dual Layer Structure

The Anatomy

The character and durability of full-grain leather comes from the dual layer structure of grain and corium. 


The tightly woven structure of grain is from the epidermal layer of the hide. In full-grain leather, this grain layer is left untouched and natural features and marks are retained in the leather. Hence, it is not uncommon to find healed scars, insect bites and other marks that further authenticates its originality. The lesser dense corium serves as the flexible durable base for the grain layer. The relatively open yet interwoven structure of corium allows the leather to breathe and retain moisture, making the leather durable and age gracefully.




Transforming Hide into Leather

Vegetable Tanning Process


Castello DaVarg exclusively uses vegetable tanning for transforming full-grain leather with its natural character and elegance. 


Vegetable tanning has been perfected over human evolution to transform raw hide into durable and elegant leather. It is still remains the most classical and traditional among tanning methods and the preferred process that can retain the characteristics of delicate leather grain.The transformation from raw hide into leather happens slowly over several weeks with tannins derived from trees and plants - hence the term vegetable tanning. These tannins convert and bind the collagen proteins in the rawhide, making them strong and more durable. 

Over time the corium fibers dehydrate, gaining strength and flexibility while the grain layer retains its character through the tanning process.The time consuming manual process of vegetable tanning has become a highly skilled craft, undertaken only by a few select tanneries. This renders vegetable tanning more expensive and exclusive; and makes vegetable tanned full grain leather more coveted and cherished. 


Due to cost and ease of processing, most mass market leather is now made with chrome or aniline tanning. While they cannot produce leather with the same quality and character as vegetable tanning, they are adequate for lower quality leather such as upholstery or large luggage.    


Making DaVarg Leather

Full-grain to DaVarg Leather


Vegetable tanned full grain leather start as a blank canvas, it need to be prepared to enhance its character. 


The grain side of leather is tinted with deep penetrating dyes and impart the shades into the leather. Unlike synthetic coatings that cover the grain, the dyes alter the color of the grain and retains the character of leather. These shades also enhance the sheen and pull-up ensuring the leather will mature gracefully as it ages.


In most natural leathers, the corium of leather is often left unfinished, causing it to attract moisture, get stained, or have its fibers quickly come loose. Not only be the leather gets dirty easily, but also the loose corium fibers can degrade the stretch and durability of leather. To overcome this we developed a proprietary coating that can bind the corium layers and give leather a smooth clean finish.The custom DaVarg shades along with back coating ensures the full grain leather retains its elegance and character for ages.  



Making DaVarg Leather

Better Full Grain Leather

Not all full-grain leathers are created equal.


DaVarg leather is selected from mature hides with optimal grain to corium ratio. While this leather will retain its nature made marks and folds, large ranch-brands or scars are avoided. This mature leather has to undergo further process steps to transform fully into DaVarg Leather.

Grading

The vegetable tanned leather comes in various quality levels. The tanneries grade them based on factors such as grain quality, corium thickness, and hide size. Only the highest leather grade with no branding or large marks are selected for DaVarg leather.

Shading

Vegetable tanned cow hide has a creamy, pale shade and can attract dirt and stains. To prevent any unwanted staining and to further add character, we tint the grain side with deeply penetrating dyes of various custom shades.

Back Coating

In most leathers, the corium or back side of leather is often unfinished- this causes the corium side to attract moisture, get stained, and have its fibers quickly come loose. We find this undesirable in our articles, and so the back side of Davarg leather is also coated with a specially formulated layer that bonds the corium fibers together

Branding

Once the leather is back-coated, the leather is branded with our inner wave pattern and stamp with the DaVarg maker's mark. The wave pattern proves the continuity in leather. The maker's mark is then applied as a stamp of approval.


Full Grain Leather

Grain, Sheen & Pull up


Grain

The untouched grain layer in full-grain leather retains the character of the natural hide.


Look closely, and we can see full grain resembles our on skin. Since vegetable tanning preserves this layer, even with every day wear and use, the grain matures and develops further character.



Sheen

The natural sheen of un-buffed grain develops further with the right conditioning and usage. 


Together with the grain and pull-up, the sheen differentiates DaVarg leather into elegant maturing material that develops character with care and wear.



Patina

Patina in full grain leather often noticed as natural unevenness in the leather shades. 


This multi-tone patina gets pronounced as the grain is stretched as leather is bent or stretched. This variations and patina is what gives leather the  well-worn vintage character.




Vegetable Tanned leather 

Scent of Leather

DaVarg Leather has a rich, earthy scent.  Vegetable tanned inherits  this unique aroma from the type of  tree tannins used as tanning agents.  This aroma further develops over time, adopting to the environment in which it is used that can reflect the identity of its owner.  


Unlike mass-market leather tanned with phenolic anilines or chromium salts that has a hard chemical smell, veg-tan leather smell almost sweet when it dried fresh out of tanning drums. The lack of harsh processing chemicals   is another reason why  veg-tan leather is prized by leather connoisseurs.

Vegetable Tanned leather 

Durability of Leather

Leather can last decades , if not centuries.  In fact few natural materials could survive everyday wear like leather and still retain the elegance and character. 


The natural grain layer and the interwoven corium enables the leather to be flexible yet resilient. It resists the elements, but is permeable enough to absorb moisture keeping it supple. 


Don't take our word for the durability fo leather. The 5,500 year old shoe, the oldest leather shoe in the world, was discovered  in a cave in Armenia.  Made of cow-hide,  shoe dates back to ~ 3,500 BC (the Chalcolithic period) was found in near perfect condition.



EEEVE's Leathercare Products

Caring for Full-grain Leather

Full-grain leather is similar to human skin in many ways. 


It is designed to absorb and retain oils through its open epidermal structure. Without this necessary moisture, leather can dry out and crack. To protect as well as to enhance its elegance and character, leather needs to be properly conditioned to retain natural oils and repel excess moisture.DaVarg's exclusive EEVEs’ Leather Care products are made from natural ingredients, with a formulation that was originally developed as a moisturizing cream and is suitable for any natural full grain leather. 



Know Your Leather

When is leather is not really Leather ?

Most leather in market are actually not full-grain leather, and some are not even leather or made from animal hide. 


Unknowingly or not, we acquire them without fully realizing what they are made of and wonder why they don't hold up to our expectations. To complicate further, leather that is processed out of split corium or manmade materials are also called split leather, corrected leather, embossed leather, coated leather, suede, Napa leather, painted or patent leather, bonded leather, or reconstituted leather.Since there are no strict industry regulations to define what exactly constitutes leather, a great many items in market are made with these artificial materials, and can still claim to be made of leather.If you are unsure of the origin of the 'leather', do your research and proceed with caution. If the manufacturer does not state explicitly it is full-grain leather, chances are that it is one of the inferior artificial leathers.


Know Your Leather

Distinguishing Real Leather

Artificial leather can imitate full grain leather and deceive even experienced leather connoisseurs. 


Especially with Polyurethane (PU) leather, the look and feel of grains is successfully imitated. To distinguish between such leather and natural full grain leather, we will have to look for multiple characteristics that differentiate full gain leather.The best option is to buy leather from a reputable source who would stand by their leather. 

Scent of the leather

The vegetable tanned leather comes in various quality levels. The tanneries grade them based on factors such as grain quality, corium thickness, and hide size. Only the highest leather grade with no branding or large marks are selected for DaVarg leather.

Monotonous patterns

Genuine full grain leather does not come with patterns. In genuine leather, the wrinkles, folds and patterns are developed as the articles see some usage. Monotonous, repetitive grain patterns are a result of embossing with rollers on a synthetic layer over a fabric or split leather layer.

Black coated leather

Black pigments on synthetic layers hide the imperfections and gives a leather-like appearance on substandard splits with embossing. Our general recommendation is to stay away from black opaque leather. Keep in mind, if you cannot see individual grains on leather chances are that it is not full grain.

Uniformity of patterns

Artificial leather is often mass-produced with a regular and uniform texture. This is evident in most upholstery leather where the color is even and grain patterns are well defined and consistent. On the other hand, genuine leather is seldom uniform. An animal's scratches, scars, insect bites, and natural stretch marks are all present on full-grain leather.

Embossing and prints

It is very easy to impart such as crocodile or ostrich skin patterns with a rolling die on vegetable tanned leather. Fake embossing and prints such patterns are common in cheaper imitation leather.

Thin grain layer

Thin top grain without corium will disintegrate quickly. So if the leather is thin (less than 1mm) it is most probably has no corium but could be bonded leather with a manmade substrate, such as fabric. If you see very thin leather look for fabric backing to support it.

Lack of pull-up

“Pull up” on leather is seen as a color variation when the leather is bent or folded. As the grain and corium expands, the moisture in leather redistributes and imparts a lighter shade on the folds. If the leather does not show any pull up effect, there is a good chance that it is not full-grain leather. Excessive pull up is a sign or oiled or latigo leather.

Glossy and uniform

Painted leathers does not absorb conditioners such as EEVEs' Leather Balm since the grain or corium layers are coated with synthetic material. If the leather surface does not effectively absorb EEVEs' leather balm, it is highly likely that it is painted or a synthetically coated leather.

Non-porous grain

Artificial leather is often mass-produced with a regular and uniform texture. This is evident in most upholstery leather where the color is even and grain patterns are well defined and consistent. On the other hand, genuine leather is seldom uniform with scars, and natural marks all present on full-grain leather.


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