What Is Corrected Grain Leather?


Corrected grain leather is where the surface of the hide has too many faults or imperfections to be used as top grain leather or full grain leather, and it’s sanded off to remove these imperfections, and then a false grain is stamped or pressed into the hide to give it an even looking grain again, and then aniline dyed and/or pigmented coated. Often corrected grain leather is given a semi aniline finish and used in the fashion industry for handbags, shoes and clothing.

Corrected grain or embossed grain, embossing is done to give a uniform grain pattern to leather skins, this is done as the last thing you want to see on an item costing thousands of pounds is a big scar or branding mark in the middle of your designer handbags or leather jackets.

Nubuck leather is a full top grain leather that’s just been buffed to create the velvety feel to it, but when looking closely you can still see the full grain. Nubuck is created due to faults in the top grain the buffing process hides these faults and creates a great looking strong warm durable leather skin.

Walking boots are also made from Nubuck as it’s strong, warm and very watertight being a top grain leather, this gives great support to hikers on rugged terrain, also making nubuck waterproof is easy as it’s a strong leather with a tight fibre structure, due to the tight fibre structure it also retains heat yet is very breathable.

A corrected grain is very often referred to as a full grain, facts are that the grain that was present has been fully removed, a layer of the skin has been taken off then smoothed out and a new grain applied by pressing or a roller method.

Corrected grain has no visible hair follicles as these have all been sanded smooth and when a thick painted layer is applied the hair follicles have all gone. This results in a much stiffer leather, due to the highly compressed fibres that’s also much colder to touch due to the thickness of the painted layers, but this painted layer cannot be more than 0.15mm thickness an industry standard to ensure you are still dealing with leather a surface coating thicker than this and then it can’t be legally classed as leather.

Corrected grain leathers come in a variety of grades, this can depend on the amount of corrected that’s been carried out to the skin. If this has heavy correction then this skin will be of lesser quality and a great deal weaker than a corrected grain skin that’s had minimal buffing to remove scaring and imperfections in the skin.

When the skin is a corrected grain, that beautiful softness you gain with a full grain leather is lost as the top surface softness is removed in the buffing stages to correct the skin, when this is completed, you are left with a skin that feels much harder / stiffer and has a cold to the touch feel compared to full grain leather, but not as cold as vinyl would be. Another disadvantage of corrected grain leather is it’s less flexible and over a period of time this will crack, corrected grain leather will also not gain that patina that full grain leathers will as its ages.

As manufacturers try to give lower prices for furniture more corrected grain leather is being used, so this can be misleading when you see an aniline leather suite thinking you have the best leather with a genuine grain, when in fact you have a corrected grain leather that’s just aniline dyed and finished, this type of leather won’t gain characteristics like a full grain leather will as it ages and gains its beautiful patina.

Corrected grain leather should not have harsh chemicals used when cleaning as some people think it should. People believe that it’s not natural leather at all and is in fact fake, this is a genuine leather skin, it’s just sanded on the surface to remove imperfections then a grain is heat pressed in and pigmentation colour is applied, then a fine clear coat sealer is applied. These layers of paint and clear coat are so thin, using items like caustic cleaner, scrubber pads, magic erasers and other abrasive materials like a microfibre cloth can be very damaging to the coated surface, causing this coating to be removed very quickly.

To put this into perspective the clear coat that’s applied is around 5-20um on automotive and furniture leather. Let’s look at it this way 80g of paper is 100um this should help put this into perspective how fine that clear coating is on the surface of the leather.