How a leather product is made

How a leather product is made

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How do we turn raw hides into beautiful leather goods like shoes, bags and jackets? From beamhouse to leather finish, Stahl is involved in every step of the leather making process. Our leather chemicals cover tanners’ needs at every step in the process of converting a raw hide into leather. Learn more in our video

Cleaning the raw hides in the beamhouse

The beamhouse is the first stage in the leather-making process. Here, the raw hide is cleaned and then soaked, dehaired and degreased. Our solutions like Proviera® - Probiotics for Leather and our other responsible beamhouse solutions help tanners to reduce their impact on the environment.

Once the hides are completely clean, they are split into a grain layer – used for full grain leather and nubuck items – and a split layer, which is destined for suede and split-hide leathers. Splitting makes the leather thinner and more flexible. Splitting can either be performed in the beamhouse or during the subsequent tanning stage. Hides split in the beamhouse are typically used in the automotive and aviation industries, and in interior design. Hides split at the tanning stage are generally intended for shoes and leather goods such as bags and coats.


Preparing the hides for a wide variety of applications

Next up after the beamhouse stage is tanning. The tanning stage involves drying and preserving the hide to create a flexible form that will last. Tanning also readies the hide for further processing, such as dyeing the leather. And depending on which tanning agents you use and for how long, tanning can change the appearance of the hide. Our solutions like Stahl EasyWhite Tan™ and Stahl EasyBlue Tan™ make it possible to reduce the use of salt, water and chemicals during the tanning stage, which is not only better for the leather, but even more so for the environment.


Re-tanning, dyeing and fat-liquoring to give character to the leather

The next stage, re-tanning, is all about giving the leather the ‘character’ you desire. During re-tanning, you can change the look, feel, fullness, weight and color of the leather to add the characteristics that make a particular bag, jacket, car seat or other end product stand out in the marketplace. Stahl’s diverse re-tanning portfolio helps you create leather that checks all the right boxes: style, performance and sustainability. Our fat-liquoring products keep the leather fibers hydrated and lubricated for longer, which improves the softness and flexibility of the tanned leather.


Improving the leather quality and finishing it with style

Even after having been given the desired characteristics in the re-tanning stage, applying a surface coating can help improve the leather quality even further. This leather finishing may include oiling, brushing, embossing, giving it a matte or gloss finish or create a standout design color finishing.


Transforming the leathers to fashionable items

Once finished, the finished leathers are shipped to manufacturers who transform the leathers into fashionable items such as car seats, a beautiful leather bag or a stylish shoe.

And that is how a leather product is made.


Discover all the facts: download the infographic

See the leather supply chain at a glance – and discover Stahl’s role in it – in our infographic that takes you through every step of how leather is made, from the curing of the raw hides to the final leather product. Download the infographic below and discover how leather is made.


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How a leather product is made
Joachim Henkmann
Global Marketing - Business Unit Leather Chemicals