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Leather Splitting - What is Split Leather?

Leather Splitting - What is Split Leather?

Leather Splitting
Leather splitting is a process where the skin is divided into several layers over the entire surface.

If the skin is divided into several layers over the entire surface, this process is called "leather splitting". The thick leather, which is 5 to 10 millimeters in thickness, is split. The obtained layers are classified as grain split or top-grain split and flesh split. There are times when the leather is thick enough for a middle split. Drop split is the difference between the split and the grain split. The leather is rough on one side and smooth on the other. Leather splitting is a process where the skin is divided into several layers over the entire surface.

The thickness of the skin should be taken into account when adjusting the machine because of the water content. The dry weight of leather is three times heavier than the water content of wet skin. The leather is also made thicker by this water content. The tanner needs to consider this difference in thickness when adjusting the splitting machine so that the desired leather thickness is achieved once the leather is dry.

The grain split is considered more valuable than the other two. The upper layer of the grain side has a dense fiber structure that is tear-resistant. When tanned, the grain split is referred to as smooth leather. The term "grain split" has been removed after leaving the tannery. The leather dealer uses terms such as "smooth leather", "aniline leather", and "Nappa" depending on the type of leather. The term "split" isn't connected with the grain side anymore. The drop split with the two rough sides is referred to as "split leather" or "suede" instead of being called flesh split. This separation of words in public and in tanneries is important to make the leathers more understandable to the general public. The term "split" always means the less stable lower layer of the hide.

The quality of split leather is not as good as the top grain leather, so there are rules about using the terms. In almost every country there are different rules. Some countries don't allow the term "leather" to be labeled. When further details are made clear that it's split leather, some allow it to be called.

Turning the Cowhide into Full Grain

The key to comprehending the layers of leather splitting is to first understand the layers of the leather itself. The entire thickness of the skin as rawhide is made up of three major layers. The ‘Flesh' layer contains a tight arrangement of fibers on the inside, forming a tough inner skin for the animal. Corium is the intermediate layer of the hide, and it accounts for the majority of its thickness. This layer's fibers are more disorganized and open in the structure; it serves as a superhighway for skin supplies, as well as providing thickness and a cushioned barrier for the animal. The Grain is the top layer of the hide that we see on the outside; it contains the hair follicles and protects the animal from drying out making it abrasion resistant. The fibers are closely interwoven to give a particularly tough surface.

In terms of the worldwide leather industry, cowhide accounts for 67 percent. How tanneries manufacture different types of cowhide leather will be explained on this page. We'll talk about full grain (also known as full-grain), top-grain (also known as top grain).

In order to determine the quality of the hide before it is delivered to a tanning factory, the hides are sorted and graded according to How did she be bit by a mosquito? Was she scraped by trees or barbed wire? Or did she get brand? A hide recounts the tale of an animal's existence. They all leave their imprint on the dermis, the outermost layer of skin, although cows have a thicker dermis than other animals.

As you can see in the image below, the skin has two major layers: the grain, which is at the surface, and the corium, which lies below the grain. As you approach closer to the grain or the corium, the structure of the leather changes, with fibers orientated in different orientations and natural collagen in tight or loose bundles, depending on This has an effect on the leather's strength and character.

Leather Material Splitting Section
As you approach closer to the grain or the corium, the structure of the leather changes.

An important choice in the tannery is deciding how to "split" the hide, which involves shaving it lengthwise into the grain and/or corium. They would do this based on the quality of the hide and the intended function of the product There are a few techniques that allow the manufacturer to create two, or perhaps more, types of leather from the same hide: a "split" leather, and a "bonded" leather.


This means the epidermis is cleansed but the fur or wool remains intact. The hide is then sent straight to tanners (more on that in the next post).

Full Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is a kind of Leather. When it comes to full-grain leather, it's simply a piece of animal skin that has been cleansed, tanned When we say "as is," we imply that the animal's skin is kept undisturbed, and its It's the best grade for leather splitting available. Because of the natural leather grain, it is tougher and more durable than other types of leather. The strongest fibers in leather are found in natural grain. Another way of putting it is that full-grain leather Its hardness, on the other hand, is a drawback in that Full-grain leather is more costly since it needs more people and costs more to produce.

Patina is another distinctive characteristic of full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is the only leather that develops a pat There is a tendency for it to grow along the natural grain But it does take some time for the leather to get that wonderful old appearance.

Many people think (as we do) that full-grain leather is the greatest expression of leather since only the highest quality skins are used to make it. Because of this, approximately 10-15% of all leather has full grain. There's a nice, tight finish Occasionally there may be stretch marks, creases, lines, bites, tags, or scars to give it character and When it comes to full-grain leather, it means that it has Is there a reason why you'd wish to preserve the distinctive grain layer with its scars and its vintage appearance with the use of leather filler. Three reasons:

  • The collagen bundles in the grain layer make it the hardest and most durable layer. It won't tear or rip.
  • Its particular interaction with lubricants and sunshine makes the grain layer's surface last longer. Age and use result in a darkening ("tanning") of the leather.
  • A quality wood like birdseye maple or knotty pine has a natural wood grain that may be admired for its beauty and uniqueness.

Top Grain Leather

These days, the majority of leather products (including leather furniture) are made from cowhide or cow skin. This is due to the fact that cowhides are widely accessible, large, and of exceptional quality. Similar to that, cowhide is used to make much of the top grain leather we see today. Leather, on the other hand, may originate from a variety of sources, depending on the Leather is made from a variety of animals other than cows, such as pigs and sheep as well as deer, horses, and kangaroo Then there are the unusual leathers that may be found Animals such as alligators, ostrich and elephants provide the leather for these unusual leather goods.

As a matter of convenience, top grain leather is generally made from cowhide. Furthermore, we can refer to top grain leather as "genuine" or "true" leather, just as we do with full-grain leather, pure aniline leather, semi-aniline leather The reason this is that they are made from genuine animal False leather or faux leather, on the other hand, are those that are not made of actual animal skin. There is a substantial variation in the leather grade between real and fake leather backpacks.

This type of leather has had its top layer sanded removed, which eliminates scars and blemishes from lower-quality hides but also removes the leather's most resilient outer layer. As a result, the leather's lifespan is reduced, but it's nevertheless of Top grain leather has a looser structure than full-grain leather, making it more flexible, and the surface does not age well. An even, constant pebble pattern may be seen on the surface of the leather. This can be easily replicated by machine stamping lesser leathers, though.

Split Leather (aka “Suede”, aka “Genuine Leather”)

"Split" leather is made from the corium of top-grain or full-grain leathers that has been "left behind" (or "split"). As a result, the fibers lay flat, are more prone to break, and rest in Numerous terms are used to refer to this type of hiding: genuine hide (also known as calf hide), split hide (also known as split hide), corrected hide (also known as corrected, As a matter of fact, nubuck is top-grain leather with a treatment that makes it supple like suede.)

However, suede's suppleness comes from the tiny raw threads left behind after splitting. However, producers may emboss, stamp or imprint real leather to make it appear like anything they want it to look like while it is in its natural condition If you want it to seem like full-grain, you may cover it with So that the grain seems like top grain, it can be embossed with Debossed with a distinctive design, it can take on the appearance of an ostrich or crocodile, for example.

Bonded Leather (aka “upholstery”)

It's a kind of particleboard for leathers, and it's what producers do with all the leather dust that's been sanded off of "Manufactured upholstery material that incorporates animal hide" is another name for reconstituted or mixed leather Using rubber and adhesive, the leather dust is mixed with other materials and attached to a paper or cloth background. What it is, in essence, is a cloth that has leather dust.

In spite of the fact that it utilizes the full hide, it takes a lot of glue and chemicals to keep it together. Because of this, it's not very long-lasting and isn't very, For example, its surface can be embossed with a design, stamped, painted, printed, or debossed Sheets or rolls of any size may be manufactured, thus its dimensions are not limited by the animal's silhouette, which is particularly useful for upholstery.

Leather Splitter Machine

Leather Splitter Machine
Leather Splitter Machine

As a result of the original hide's thickness, it may really be divided into two layers that can be used separately As a result of the use of a terrifying machine called a Splitter, the leather may be separated horizontally, ripping the top from the bottom to produce two identical but thinner portions from a single piece. "Full-grain leather" is created by combining the Grain and Split layers.

A new technique of working with our hides was created with the introduction of the splitting machine. Preceding this, all leather was thinned by hand, using a razor-sharp stainless steel blade to systematically remove ultra-thin layers from the back (flesh side), much like planing wood. However, the splitter not only revolutionized this time-consuming and labor-intensive procedure, but it also offered us 'split leather' or 'bovine splits,' as cow skin (which is not, as it turns out, an advanced yoga pose for cows).

To ensure a perfectly flat surface on both sides of a full-grain piece as well as the Split's new top, the splitting machine cuts beautifully. This means that you can now use the Split in the same way as leather, but there is one major difference: it is much more fragile now that the grain has To be functional, leather splitting must maintain the right thickness since it lacks the grain layer's tight fiber structure and is therefore considerably less robust. There are a number of ways to improve the appearance of the new surface.

An embossed grain pattern can be added to the PU finish to make the Split seem like full-grain leather by applying a thick layer of pigment on the surface, or a plasticized paint or polyurethane (PU) finish. As soon as the electric splitting knife machine was invented, school satchels were the first mass-produced splits. By the 1950s, every schoolchild had one. Currently, anything from satchel leather to convincing saffiano or croc-prints that are nearly indistinguishable from the genuine thing is available, but only when fresh.

These lesser grade skins, while not entirely split, have their uneven full-grain surface rubbed off and possibly grain- or pattern-embossed before being coated, to achieve a totally uniform surface. As the name suggests, this is a process used to extend the usability (and increase the price) of lower-quality skins by masking defects in the grain.

So, while corrected leather retains part of its surface grain (and consequently some of its strength), it is completely covered up and will not polish and patina as naturally full-grained leather may. A closer look at this picture reveals that the grain in the raw leather (right) is more defined than that of coated leather (left).

Types of Leather Splitter Machine

While the leather splitter machine's principal job is to split leather, there are three sorts of leather splitter machines that you're likely to discover on the market today. Industrial leather splitting machine, Standard Leather Splitting Machine, and Handheld Splitter Machine are the three options.

The Industrial Leather Splitter Machines

In terms of size, industrial leather splitting machines are those that are large enough These are the leather splitter machines that are more powerful. In comparison to other splitter machines, industrial leather splitting machines operate in an In addition to being more powerful, industrial leather splitter machines can split leather of all widths and thicknesses, and they are considerably more expensive.

With the industrial leather splitters, the most noticeable aspect is that many of the functions and parts are automated instead of the hand cranks and manual feeding operations of other splitters, which are utilized for huge projects. Since the industrial leather splitter machines will also be powered by electricity, upgrading your workshop's power source could be necessary. As a result of the increased power consumption, you will also want a larger workspace, as these are not your typical tabletop machines.

The Standard Leather Splitter Machine

With its basic design, the leather splitter machine is ideal for craftsmen and small- to medium- 9 out of 10 times, a leather splitter machine will be manually operated equipment that may be clamped to a workbench for use.

A manual crank, lever, or thumbscrew is often used to engage the blades for the splitting operation. Despite the fact that the leather splitter machines are manually controlled, you'll be astonished at how powerful they, However, compared to the industrial leather splitters, the regular leather splitter machine has a restricted range of splitting leather width it can handle, generally between 4-6 inches.

The Handheld Splitter Machine

Handheld leather splitter machines are small, lightweight, and meant to be operated by a squeezing motion. Compared to industrial and conventional leather splitter machines, portable leather splitter machines are tiny yet perform a wonderful job for you. If you work a lot with straps and belts or projects that do not require broader widths and thicker leather, these manufacturers, while not widely known, will serve you well.

Benefits of Having a Leather Splitter Machine

A leather splitter machine offers a lot of advantages that go beyond what you may expect. I'd suggest that it's even better than the obvious benefits you'll think of.

Here are a couple of benefits of having a leather splitter machine:

Makes the Most Accurate Splits

If you want to split leather perfectly and accurately, then you'll want to invest in a leather-splitting machine. Without any mistakes, a leather splitter machine that has been correctly set or designed will be capable of splitting any thickness of leather, all the way down to a fine hairline To reach the desired thickness, you'll simply split the leather with your splitter machine and measure it using a leather thickness gauge.

Split Thinner Leathers Easily

Splitting thinner leathers is a difficult task, especially if you're using a Skiving Even with the greatest hand tools, reducing soft leather to a featherweight thickness might seem unattainable. Leather splitter machines work best on thick harness leather, but they can also perform a great job on soft and thin leathers. Obviously, the leather splitter knife must be sharp and fitted correctly if you want it to work.

Saves a Lot of Time

There is no doubt that the leather splitter machine saves a lot If you have a lot of tasks to work on, physically splitting leather may be a hassle. For example, using an automatic leather splitter machine allows you to quickly and easily thin down each individual portion of your finished product to a suitable thickness, ready for final assembly.

Reuse Leather Scraps

For those who work with thicker hides, you may find that mounds of leather scrap accumulate in your workstation. If you're lucky, you'll find a few bits of uneven, very soft, or extremely thick leather that you can' With the leather splitter, you can convert all those leather scraps into usable leather and manufacture profitable things out of it.

If you want to utilize the leftovers for little scrap crafts for yourself or for sale, you can simply separate the scraps into Whatever scraps you have, level them down to a beautiful, even thickness, and Voila! You're done! like wallets, key fobs, coasters, and a whole host of other crafts you can use your cracked leather scraps for.

Remove Fuzziness on Flesh Side

Heavy vegetable-tanned leathers are prone to fuzziness. Leatherwork is unprofessional because of the additional fuzzy strands on the flesh side or underside of the leather. A leather splitter machine is one of the best ways to get rid of significant fuzziness in leather, even though there are alternative methods. In order to prevent the fibers from getting fuzzy again, you must apply a coat of Tokonole leather finish to the split side and buffing the surface using a leather glass burnisher.

Reduce Amount of Glue Usage and Improves Adhesion

Glue absorbs more from leather that has a fuzzy flesh side, thus it In the process of splitting leather, extra fibers are removed from the flesh side of the leather, where glue is typically placed when Afterwards, a tiny amount of glue may be applied to a big leather area uniformly.

Reduces Weight from your Project

Using leather that is heavier and thicker will assist maintain the object in form while constructing items such as bags. If you're working on a project like a leather wallet, you'll need to measure every element of When designing a wallet, you don't want it to be large before the user can put anything in it.

Remove Variations in Tannery Split

Because leather is a natural material, it gets split during tanning because it will not be perfectly flat after tanning. It is also beneficial to further thin the leather before use in order to get rid of any flaws and thickness differences.


No one can deny that split leather does not have the same qualitative qualities as top-grain leather. As long as the end-user cannot tell the difference between the two types of split leather, it is OK to coat the split leather to look like grain leather. As a result, the leather looks and feels like a veneered wood An embossed technique creates the grain in the upper layer of leather that has a smooth leather optic.

So from the end-perspective, the user's labeling requirements are reasonable and appropriate, and leather splitting should be explicitly and clearly stated. Large machinery is used to break the hide while it is still wet in the tannery's tannin These devices can only split tiny portions of hides and are commonly seen in leather workshops.


What happens when a hide is hair-on?

When a hide is hair-on, the epidermis is cleaned and left intact along with the fur or wool and the grain, and the hide goes straight to the tanning process.

What is Aniline leather?

Aniline leather, semi-aniline leather, and pigmented leather. Among the three, aniline is considered as the "untouched" leather. From raw animal skin to leather, nothing is done to the material. No corrections were made to the skin. It, therefore, has the most natural form among all leather types. Making it the best type of leather available. Likewise, it is soft and gracefully supple. It can however get quite expensive.

What is Split Leather?

This leather is the corium that has been “split” – or left behind – from the grain of top-grain or full-grain leathers.

What is the difference between suede and leather?

(Incidentally, nubuck is a top grain leather with a finishing that makes it soft like suede.) Suede has been marketed as a luxury, high-end product, but suede's softness is nothing more than the delicate, raw, loose fibers left behind after splitting.

What is Cowhide Leather?

Cowhide is the most common leather, comprising 67% of leather produced globally.

What is a hide?

A hide tells the story of an animal's life: where she got bit by a mosquito, scratched by a tree or pierced by barbed wire, or where he was branded.

What is bonded leather?

The particleboard of leathers, bonded leather is what manufacturers do with all the leather dust that got sanded from top-grain and genuine leathers.

How do I use a leather splitter match?

It's often operated by pulling on a hand crank, lever, or thumb screws, that engages the blades for the splitting action.

How do I measure leather thickness?

You will simply split using your splitter machine, measure with a leather thickness gauge, and continue to split and measure till you achieve the thickness of your choice.

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