How is leather made?

The production of leather, especially tanning, is a complex process with many individual steps. Tanning is the preservation of animal skin for the purpose of use/processing.

From animal hide to fine leather
For furniture leather, cowhide is almost exclusively used, as it has sufficient stability and thickness and is therefore particularly hard-wearing. Animal hides are a waste product of the food industry and the raw material for leather production. The tanneries usually obtain the animal hides from the slaughterhouses via raw material traders.

Rawhide warehouse

First, the rawhides are sorted. Then the skin must be washed and freed from manure and impurities. The skin is then “limed”. This removes the hair and loosens the collagen structure of the skin. The meat, fat and connective tissue residues are then scraped off. This job is carried out by a special “flesh removal machine”. In several steps, the hide is then prepared for the actual tanning process through various processes such as deliming, pickling and pickling.


Water workshop

Washing, dehairing, fleshing, deliming and pickling take place here. Pelt is the result of the water workshop



Treatment with tanning agent(s) preserves the animal hide in the long term, improves the strength properties of the desanded leather and protects it from oxidation/decomposition. The main tanning methods used today are chrome tanning, vegetable/vegetable tanning (using tree bark and wood, roots or leaves of certain plants containing tanning agents) or synthetic vegetable tanning.


Wet finishing

In this step, the leather is limed (removing moisture from the leather by pressing), possibly split (depending on the thickness of the leather), dyed with aniline dye, greased, possibly retanned and impregnated.



The leather is dried well by hanging, stretching on frames or other means.



The purpose of this final work is to improve the surface properties of the leather. For example, an additional pigment/color top coat is applied to leather that has already been dyed through with aniline dye, which makes the leather more durable and easier to care for. The resulting leather is therefore referred to as pigmented or covered smooth leather. In order to achieve an appealing look, the special leather structure is also embossed onto the covered leather using an embossing roller.


Finished leather

Once the finished leather has passed the final quality control, it can be used depending on the application. Furniture manufacturers use it as a poster cover, the clothing industry uses it to make fashion items, shoes, bags etc.. Leather can be found on car seat covers, in equestrian sports for saddles and bridles and much more.

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