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Common Terms

Chic Sparrow Common Terms

  • RPL: Removable pen loop
  • Full Grain: Leather that has its surface left completely intact, showing all natural characteristics of the hide. (ex Austen, Maverick, Creme, Waypoint)
  • Top Grain: The term intended to define genuine grain leather, as opposed to split leather which has been pigmented and embossed with a new grain. In reality, top-grain leather usually has had the original grain removed and an imitation grain embossed into the surface. (ex Callahan) 
  • Vegetable-Tanned: A tanning method that employs vegetable liquors derived from tree barks. This method of tanning is very traditional and takes longer to achieve than chrome tanning. Leather that is vegetable tanned is sensitive to sunlight and will patina with use.
  • Chrome-Tanned: Leather that has been tanned using chromium salts and/or chromium sulphates to make the leather soft and supple and also to prevent discoloration. Leather that is chrome tanned is not sensitive to sunlight and will have very little to no color change with use.
  • Italian Leather: Italian leather has a reputation for being great quality leather. Italians use a centuries old process of vegetable tanning on their leather and take great care of it as they go. They tend to use full grain hides and process them in a way that produces a softer, more pliable leather than other methods of vegetable tanning.
  • Fat Wrinkle: Marks or wrinkles that form in the grain due to fat deposits in the animal’s skin; they are sought after because they are not visible in imitation or corrected grain leather.
  • Freckle/Mole: Dark spots on the leather caused by extra-pigmented skin cells, both being a common occurrence in skin. Moles are often raised from the skin’s surface while freckles tend to be flat. Moles are also generally darker in color than freckles.
  • Striation: Natural marks from the cow hide that show color shading within a hide, usually running vertically or horizontally. These differ from hide to hide.
  • Variation: General term for, moles, bug bites, light scars, or other natural markings on leather prior to the tanning process. 
  • Pull-up: The temporary lightening of certain leathers when folded, stretched, or pulled. This is caused by displacing oil and waxes. This usually happens in soft hand leathers.
  • Hand: A term used to describe the texture/feel of leather e.g. softness or fullness.
  • Soft Hand: Leather that is extremely flexible and pliable. It does not tend to hold its shape. It is usually floppy and will hug your inserts.
  • Medium Hand: Leather is slightly stiff and less rigid. Tends to hold its shape. This leather is usually thick, not floppy but not super stiff either.
  • Firm Hand: Leather that has a hard and rigid feel. Stiff leather is not easily bent or folded. It will retain its original shape and might need spine training to bend around the inserts better.
  • Skive: A term used to describe splitting or slicing the leather into a thin layer – commonly done with goatskin or calfskin.
  • Patina: A luster, shine, or darkening that develops in the leather with use over time.
  • Hot Stuffed: Leather that has been nourished and conditioned with unrefined oils and greases. This is achieved without the use of water and emulsifiers and gives a much richer feel. Hot stuffed leathers typically exhibit pull-up and good water resistance.
  • Matte Finish: A flat or dull finish.
  • Gloss/Glazed: A method of applying even pressure across a leathers surface to add smoothness or sheen. 
  • Suede: Split leather that has been buffed and brushed to create a fuzzy surface feel.
  • Gradient Distressing: Found on the Hemingway Collection, this is a hand done ink application to achieve a unique surface appearance that fades from a bright to shadowed look.
  • Pocket Designs: (scalloped, cascade, slip, secretarial, credit card)                                                
  • Pen Loops: (removable, curved, stitched, riveted)