How a leather product is made

How a leather product is made

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How do we turn raw hides in to beautiful leather goods as shoes, bags and jackets? From beamhouse to leather finish, Stahl is involved in every step of the leather making process. Our leather chemicals cover the needs of tanners through the different initial stages of converting the raw material into leather. In our animation video ‘How is a leather product made?’ we explain you how.

Cleaning the raw hides in the beamhouse

The beamhouse is the first stage in the leather making process. In the beamhouse the raw hides are among others cleaned from dirt, soaked, dehaired and degreased. Our solutions like Proviera® - Probiotics for Leather™ and our responsible beamhouse solutions help tanners to improve their impact on the environment.

After cleaning the hides are completely cleaned the hides are split into a grain layer – used for full grain leather and nubuck articles – and a split layer for suede and split-hide leathers. Splitting creates thinner and more flexible leathers. Hides split in the beamhouse are typically used in the automotive, aviation and interior design. Hides intended for shoes and leather goods are generally split during the tanning stage.

Preparing the hides for a wide variety of applications

After the beamhouse stage comes the tanning. The tanning stage will dry out the hide to a flexible form which will not putrefy and prepares the hides for a wide variety of applications like dyeing the leather. Depending on how long and which tanning agents are used, tanning can change the appearance of the hide. Our solutions like Stahl EasyWhite Tan™ and Stahl EasyBlue Tan™ make it possible to use less salt, water and used chemicals during the tanning stage, which is not only better for the leathers, but even more for the environment.

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

At the next stage, the re-tanning stage, it’s all about giving the leather the desired character. During re-tanning, you can change the look, feel, fullness, weight and preferred color of the leather to add characteristics that differentiate a bag, jacket, car seat or other end product in the marketplace. Stahl’s diverse re-tanning portfolio lets 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, so improving the softness and flexibility of the leather after tanning.

Improving the leather quality and finish it with style

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

Transforming the leathers to fashionable items

The finished leathers are distributed to manufacturers to transform the leathers in fashionable items such as car seats, a beautiful leather bag or shoe. And that is how a leather product is made.

Discover all the facts: download the infographic

We have outlined the leather supply chain in a clear infographic that takes you through all the steps of how leather is made; from the curing of the raw hides to the final leather product. With this infographic the whole process, and the part Stahl plays in it, becomes clear. Download the infographic below and learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about how leather is made. 

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