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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Glossary of Leather Terms

The leather making process and descriptions of different types of leather can sometimes be a bit confusing. In this blog post, we compiled a list of the most used words across our website when describing our belts. We also have done previous posts on both leather grade terms and the types of leather that our belts are available in.

If you’re looking for something a bit more in depth, the American Leather Chemists Association has an extensive glossary of leather terms. We hope this helps clear a few things up, and of course please contact us (or leave a comment) if you have any further questions!
Cow Hide: Leather made from unsplit cow hide or its grain split.
Embossed Leather: Leather that is carved or printed with some type of design, whether to represent the natural grain of the animal’s hide or a decorative design. Also known as “tooled leather.”
Finish: The final stage of manufacturing leather, which typically involves adding a surface coating to the leather. The surface coating itself is also known as “finish.”
Full Grain: The highest quality grade of leather. This grain of leather maintains all layers of the leather, with no layers stripped from buffing or splitting. All Orion Leather Company belts are made with full grain leather.
Grain: The texture or pattern that is on the surface level of the leather. In high quality leathers (full grain), this will be a unique characteristic of each piece, because it is unique to the animal that it was derived from.
Hide: Leather made from the outer covering of a grown large mammal, that has not been split.
Leather: Hide that has been treated to be imputrescible (non-perishable) and maintains its fibrous structure. The hair may stay intact (as with fur) or be removed. If the hide has been treated with chemical or mechanical methods that break down the skin fibers, it can no longer be correctly called “leather.”
Tanning: The process of turning hide into leather.
Retanned: Leather which has been subjected to an additional tannage with similar or other tanning materials.
Oil Tanned: Leather that has been tanned using fish oils to produce a very soft leather. Oil tanning also creates a “Pull-up” effect in the leather.
Pull-up Effect: An effect produced in oil tanned leather—the leather will change color slightly when it is bent.
Spew (Spue): During tanning, a white crystallized or gummy deposit will come to the surface during certain processes, known as spew. It can also create unique effects in the end product.
Stuffing: Incorporating grease into the leather making process by drumming wet leather with warm grease and oils.
Tannin: Any plant matter or substance used in vegetable tanning.
Unfinished Leather: Any leather that has been tanned to the point that no other unnatural finishes are added. Intended to preserve the natural look of the hide.
Vegetable Tanned: Leather that has been tanned using only vegetable tanning methods and agents, or primarily with vegetable tanning agents. If other agents are used, they are only used to improve or modify the leather, but not to affect the vegetable tanned character of the end result.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Leather Buying Guide Part 3: What’s Your Occasion?

In our last two blogs, we have learned about quality of leather is the best and the different types of leather. This time we will discuss what belt would work best for certain occasions. Belts are a great accessory to any outfit. Whether you’re going for a dress or casual look, Orion Leather has the belt for you.

Dress Belts

Wearing a nice belt when you’re in a business meeting or when you’re attending a formal event is essential. Our dress belts, handcrafted using the finest dark and tan leathers, are designed specifically to compliment your outfit and are generally between 1 and 1 3/8 of an inch. This means that each belt is of the highest quality and has its own touch of class, from woven belts to embossed belts.

Casual Belts

Going for a more relaxed look and feel? The causal belt is great for everyday use around the house or a normal day at the office. Typically, casual belts will have a thicker cut, from 1.25 inches to 1.5 inches. These handmade casual, yet sophisticated, belts are made to withstand everyday use and still maintain their beautiful full grain leather look and feel for years to come.

Work Belts

Our work belts are built for strength and durability. These dual pronged, full grain leather belts are made so that they can withstand the day-in and day-out harsh labor conditions. But don’t let that fool you. These belts, while being the toughest of the tough, still have the beautiful color and outstanding texture that you expect to see while you’re shopping at Orion Leather Company.

Women’s Fashion Belts

If you want to dress to impress, our fashion belts are the belts for you. With a gorgeous, sleek and subtle design, you can wear this belt on your biggest date or around the house. Each handcrafted belt is made from full grain leather and tanned in the highest quality oils. These Buffalo leather belts are a great accessory to tie together your stylish casual look.
Every belt sold by Orion Leather Company is handmade in the USA with the highest quality full grain leather. When you purchase a belt we guarantee complete satisfaction. Browse our store today and find the belt that is perfect for you occasion. If you have any trouble finding your belt, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Leather Buying Guide Part 2: Full Grain Leather Types

In our last post we discussed the difference between different grades of leather. In this post, we will break down the types of full grain leather used in our belts to help you better understand what kind of belt to buy.

Bridle Leather

Bridle leather is a great choice for a belt that will encounter the elements. Tanned from steer hide using a generous amount of oil and wax, this leather is weather resistant and long-lasting. This is also the reason that bridle leather has a particularly beautiful color throughout shades of tan, brown and even black. Bridle leather is quite firm, making it a great belt for rugged use.

English Bridle Leather

Bridle leather’s English cousin is named for the tanning method used. The method creates “spew” in the leather during tanning which results in a slightly textured finish (known as “draw”). English bridle has many of the same characteristics as bridle, including durability and deep, beautiful colors, but it's a much softer leather with luxurious, smooth finish on both grain and flesh sides.

Harness Leather

Harness leather is the perfect choice for people that like the natural color of leather. The leather is finished with an old fashioned method that gives these belts a rich look. Some of our belts take this a step further, with no dyes used in the process so the belt remains the natural color of the hide itself.

Work Harness Leather

Unlike harness leather, work harness is hot stuffed with heavy oils and waxes. This creates most uniquely finished belts. These belts feature a beautiful “pull-up” effect (when the belt is bent or stretched, the leather will lighten in color, due to the waxes spreading through it) and have a waxy, almost greasy feel that makes them water resistant. Because of the hot dip step of the process, these harness belts will only become more unique as they age.

Show Harness Leather

Another type of harness leather is show harness leather. If you’re a fan of the look of worn-in leather, these belts will achieve that look and feel beautifully. The tanning process gives these belts an oily feel and because of the wax present in the leather, it will have a “pull-up” effect and lighten in color when bent or stretched.

Latigo Leather

Latigo is known for its soft and supple feel without sacrificing strength. Made from cowhide and borrowing its name from saddle straps, belts made with latigo leather have a beautiful natural texture. They are great if you’re looking for a belt that has a soft, smooth feel.

Oil Tanned Latigo Leather

Oil tanned latigo leather has the same soft and supple feel of latigo with the added benefit of improved element resistance. This also gives the leather glossy and oily look, which adds to the “pull-up” effect in the belt. The tanning method used in oil tanned latigo gives these belts potential for a worn-in look very similar to show harness leather.

Buffalo Leather

Buffalo leather is one of the strongest leathers available. Made from American Buffalo hide, our buffalo leather belts come in two varieties: west tan and esquire. The buffalo west tan leather is tanned with oil and wax that gives the finish a subtle “pull-up” effect and accentuates the natural grain of the leather. Buffalo esquire leather is drum dried, giving it a consistent glossy finish throughout the belt. Both feature the softness and durability that is characteristic of buffalo leather. One thing to keep in mind when shopping for buffalo leather products is to be sure that it’s made from American Buffalo (or Bison), which is very different from water buffalo that comes from India or China.

No matter the type of leather used in the belt, all of Orion Leather’s belts are made in the USA using only high quality full grain leather. Check out our store and find the right style belt for you.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Leather Buying Guide for Quality Leather Belts

Buying a belt can be tricky. With a variety of industry terms, it’s hard to tell what kind of belt you’re getting, the level of quality, and whether you’re paying an appropriate price for the quality. In this article, we will focus on the most important part of any belt (the leather) and what some of these industry terms mean when referring to leather quality.

Artificial Leather

Also known as PU leather, pleather and synthetic leather, artificial leather is exactly that: fake leather. There are a variety of materials and ways to make artificial leather, and some are better than others, but at the end of the day it’s not real leather.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is partially synthetic. It contains bits and pieces of leather that are usually ground up and mixed with the synthetic materials to give the leather the appearance of leather. Leather content will vary across brands, so this also happens to be one of the most unpredictable types of leather, quality-wise. Like fully synthetic leather, if you’re looking for the real thing, it’s best to avoid bonded leathers.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is real leather, but is the leftover parts from the two higher quality levels. The leather in genuine leather often doesn’t look as nice, so the part of the belt that’s exposed might be painted to look like higher quality leather, meaning that you won’t even see the real leather part. Genuine leather can also be several layers of lower quality leather glued together.

Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather is the piece of leather that is split from the top layer so that any blemishes and imperfections on the top layer aren’t seen. This is generally a quality leather, but because it doesn’t contain the top layer, this leather isn’t as strong as full grain leather. Top grain leather also won’t age nicely with wear and tear.

Full Grain Leather

Simply put, full grain leather is the highest quality leather available. At Orion, we offer a variety of different kind of leathers, all of which are full grain. It means that this leather comes from the top layer of the animal’s skin, without any low quality leftover leather parts. Full grain leather is one piece of solid leather—it’s not glued to another piece of leather or compiled from other scraps of leather.
There may be imperfections already present on full grain leather, which is a testament to its quality. These blemishes were already on the animal’s skin when it was cut. Full grain leather is also the most durable, which means it will age beautifully over time.
At Orion Leather Company, we only use full grain leather in our belts. The leather is tanned and the belts are constructed in the USA, so you know you are getting a high quality product. Shop our store today.