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Full Grain v. Top Grain

ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
IMG_7516_Copy.jpg

in the above photo, Shinki on the left Victory on the right. Which one do you think looks more natural?
Remind you, when Shinki piece started, i.e. before it was processed, looked like the one on the right.

Here is a photo that I took of a swatch of brown Chromexcel horsehide leather that was left over from when my jacket was made. I worked the swatch over a bit to see how my jacket might wear with time. I suppose ignorance is bliss as to me it looks quite a bit like the Victory leather shown above. Full grain, top grain, whole grain, who knows, I kind of like it regardless.

cxlSwatchWorn_zps1de1e70d.jpg
 

andyfalzon

Vendor
Messages
422
Location
europe
Hi, it looks nice.
It's a nice piece of leather that has developed wrinkles due to wear.

Grain is a different thing than wrinkles. It can't be developed by wear (*). Either it is there or it is not.
One characteristic of wrinkles is that they can exist in the same level with the surface of the leather.
Grain on the other hand is a protuberance on the level surface of the leather, i.e. bulges and bumps above the surface.
This is hard to illustrate in 2 dimensional photos, it is far better experienced in person but in any case please see the close-up photos below.

IMG_7730.jpg


more here
http://s28.postimg.org/jx8tm8g3h/IMG_7728.jpg
http://s29.postimg.org/vj6u5rqfb/IMG_7729.jpg
http://s29.postimg.org/xmh9dfq87/IMG_7733.jpg
http://s29.postimg.org/tc2lhul53/IMG_7726.jpg

The visual appearance of grain cannot be imitated by wrinkles or wear.

I leave it to you to imagine how a full grain leather will look when it will have developed wrinkles with wear.

If you want I can send you a sample and you can examine it, compare it with your swatch and share your findings and opinion with us.

(*) except when a grainy leather has been ironed by the tannery and the grain pops up with wear.
 
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ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
It is nice of you to offer, but it is not really necessary. One reason that I took a photo in the first place was to be able to blow it up. My eyes can't make out the difference when unassisted by magnification. Even with magnification the difference is not all that clear. To someone like me, this enters into the realm of theory versus practical application. Full grain leather might be all that, and more. But if I can't tell the difference, or realize any practical benefit from it, then the difference really doesn't matter to me. The one thing that you've mentioned of interest to me is that full grain leather is more durable. Some explanation of why this is so and how it would impact the buyer over a few decades of ownership would be more interesting to me than the visual differences.
 

andyfalzon

Vendor
Messages
422
Location
europe
Hi,
On the contrary. You are trying to determine differences from photographs and relying on magnification when the difference is very obvious and crystal clear when seeing it in person. You CAN see the difference in person. Even from a distance. Not only that. You can also FEEL the difference if you run your fingers over the grain. It is no theory. Full grain IS just more beautiful. If a top grain jacket is put next to a full grain jacket the former will appear "poor" in comparison. Now whether "more beautiful" has any practical application this is a matter for the wearer to decide.

Full grain is more durable because its "structural integrity" remains intact. Grain is the toughest part of the epidermis; if you remove it, it becomes less durable. You should be able to find all this info online.


...and because an image is a 1000 words, I 'd like to show you a photo similar to yours which shows the grain visible from a distance

IMG_7745.jpg


full size here:
http://s28.postimg.org/o3xkm8xod/IMG_7745.jpg
 
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ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
Beauty is obviously subjective and stating that one thing is more beautiful simply does not make it so. There are only opinions being thrown about in such discussions.

Structural integrity on the other hand is something that would be measurable. As far as structural integrity goes, I'm sure there is plenty of theory on why full grain rates better in this regard. But I'm more interested in what impact this would have in terms of practical application. How long does the average person on this forum own a leather jacket, maybe 20 - 30 years? How would those differences in structural integrity play out in real world use after a few decades? Would the jacket made from top grain leather be noticeably more worn out than the jacket made from full grain. Or would the differences be negligible?
 

ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
I would add that the last image you posted is pretty dramatic in that you can really see the lumpiness of the surface. I much prefer the look of the other swatch that you posted as well as my own swatch. I understand that is just my preference and not everyone else will feel the same.
 

andyfalzon

Vendor
Messages
422
Location
europe
Beauty is obviously subjective and stating that one thing is more beautiful simply does not make it so.

I disagree basis on the fact that the leather market has set the prices for these commodities based on those aesthetics.
I agree that someone may dislike the grain on a full grain leather as much as I dislike Cindy Crawford, but that doesn't change the fact that she is (was) a supermodel.

Full grain leather does not mean that the whole surface of the skin is such dramatic as the photo I posted. A full grain skin can have smooth areas, grainy areas, wrinkly areas, heavy grain areas. I could show examples of each case.

I don't think that full grain durability is measured in longevity but rather in endurance.
 

Mark Ricketts

One of the Regulars
Messages
113
Location
ontario
The majority of the Fedora Lounge revolves around differences in quality that the majority of the population would neither notice nor care about.
Surely this is the ultimate subject. Something of such high quality that only one person can tell the difference.
 

andyfalzon

Vendor
Messages
422
Location
europe
Not only one person can tell the difference. Everyone who sees it can tell the difference.
The longevity of full grain and top grain leathers should be about the same I guess.
 

andyfalzon

Vendor
Messages
422
Location
europe
Some new info found online

Full-Grain Leather vs. Top-Grain Leather
The strongest and most durable part of the hide of an animal is just below the hair. The grain pattern in this part of the hide is very tight, and the leather made from here is called "full-grain" leather. Full-grain leather is the strongest and most durable leather. Additionally, since the grain is so tight, it resists moisture very well. Over time, full-grain leather will look nicer and nicer and develop a patina from being handled.

The next best—and second strongest—leather is called "top-grain" leather. Top grain leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that the top couple millimeters have been sanded and buffed to take away imperfections. With the top layer removed, the leather will have a more uniform finish, but it won't be as durable—and it will break down much faster. This is more of a "cookie cutter" leather that most leather wallets and handbags are made of, which lends to their generic appearance. Top-grain leather can be good leather, but its strength and durability is not even close to the strength of full-grain leather.
 
Messages
15,563
Location
East Central Indiana
Well..lookie here..another 'Best In The World' hide option maker....

Insurrection/Aero...
Full Grain, Veg.-Tanned Leathers for Aero Jackets!

Hi Folks! We've had a lot of interest in Full Grain, Veg.-Tanned Leathers for Aero Jackets...we've been in contact with Denny and Ken at Aero as well as John Chapman from Good Wear Leather. We have some good options for this full grain, veg.-tanned route and we wanted to post up photos of some finalists...these do look really nice!



 
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zhz

Practically Family
Messages
890
Location
China, London and Coventry UK
Which tanner is this? I thought Aero never use V-tanned before? All their leather is CXL?
This photo quality is very bad, there is no way to see the quality of the leather from it, it looks like a beef jerky to me...

Well..lookie here..another 'Best In The World' hide option maker....

Insurrection/Aero...
Full Grain, Veg.-Tanned Leathers for Aero Jackets!

Hi Folks! We've had a lot of interest in Full Grain, Veg.-Tanned Leathers for Aero Jackets...we've been in contact with Denny and Ken at Aero as well as John Chapman from Good Wear Leather. We have some good options for this full grain, veg.-tanned route and we wanted to post up photos of some finalists...these do look really nice!



 
Messages
15,563
Location
East Central Indiana
Which tanner is this? I thought Aero never use V-tanned before? All their leather is CXL?
This photo quality is very bad, there is no way to see the quality of the leather from it, it looks like a beef jerky to me...

Tanner? Well I wouldn't know. I suppose..stay tuned for future info. This is something new..samples of a 'coming attraction'..!! I would suppose better pictures will come at a later date.
HD
 

Sloan1874

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,418
Location
Glasgow
JC definitely uses shinki - Butte's lovely Ventura was made from it. No idea about the second half of your question.
 

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