What is pebble grain leather?

NukeMeSlowly

Senior Member
How does it come to be "pebbled" anyway? Is it real leather or corrected grain?

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"Hey, we all can't live near K-Mart."
 

jcusey

Senior Moderator<br>Technical Support
In most cases, the pattern in embossed on the surface of the leather with giant, heavy rollers. It is full-grain leather, though, not corrected-grain.
 

Tomasso

Elite Member
And one of pebble grain leathers unique properties is that it can made to be waterproof/resistant.


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Cantabrigian

Elite Member
quote:Originally posted by jcusey

In most cases, the pattern in embossed on the surface of the leather with giant, heavy rollers. It is full-grain leather, though, not corrected-grain.

Does the pebbling process harm the leather? Or, in otherwords, are there good reasons to avoid pebble-grain shoes?
 

Bracemaker

Senior Member
Any printed grain has a permanently embossed surface (usually done with a press, and in this case a pebble grained plate, rather than rollers) which does not in itself confer resistance to water or lead to permanent damage.
As discussed in various previous posts this 'correcting' is done to second and third quality hides which have too much surface scratch, growth marks or insect scars to be able to be finished out as full grain leather. Only a small proportion of hides can be graded as first quality full grain, many end up with a print of some description and have their own charm - there is nothing intrinsically wrong with them.
However, it (by that I mean a heavy print such as a pebble grain) can also be applied to split leathers, and these should be avoided as it is an entirely artificial surface suitable only for cheap belts and bags. Unfortunately you need a lifetime of dealing with leather to have a chance of telling the difference visually - the cheaper split leather generally wears poorly, so time eventually gives it away...
 

Cantabrigian

Elite Member
Bracemaker,

Thank you for your informative post. What are split leathers?

So just to check, good pebble grain leather is made from otherwise high-quality hides that are too blemished to be used as full-grained leather?
 

Bracemaker

Senior Member
Indeed they are, Cantabrigian.
Re 'split' leather - this is when the hide is thick enough to be split, so for example a 5mm hide of say 60 sq feet in area ( by the way, do you like the way we in the leather trade casually mix imperial and metric measurements...)could be split to produce a 60 sq foot upper hide 3mm thick and a 2mm thick 'split' lower layer of maybe 50 sq feet. Hey Presto! you have just nearly doubled the amount of leather you have to sell...
Because there is no natural grain on the split surface the taner or dresser has to do a fair bit of work to produce a saleable leather - printing, coating with plasticized finishes, and so on. Can end up looking exactly like a hide, especially with some of the polyurethane coatings.
 

culverwood

Super Member
Now I know what my attache case is made from. The label said elephant split and I had always thought it was a part of the animal not a type of leather. It has a very rough almost towling texture.
 

Bracemaker

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by culverwood

Now I know what my attache case is made from. The label said elephant split and I had always thought it was a part of the animal not a type of leather. It has a very rough almost towling texture.

Intriguing - real elephant hide is about an inch (25mm) thick so you could get 3 or 4 'splits'.
Possibly it is a cow hide split with an elephant grain print - I have seen that before.
Usually they use it for making trunks, however...:D
 

culverwood

Super Member
No I got it in Africa 30 years or more ago. It's not elephant grain at all but a very rough unfinished texture almost like the unfinished side of a leather but much more so.,
 

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
Some definitions from the Shoe chapter of The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes:

Categories of Leather by Quality:

The grades of leather are ranked by grain, which are the markings that appear on the skins and hides when hair or feathers are removed. Check the stamp on the leather for material. The Federal trade Commission regulates the proper stamping of leather.

TOP or FULL GRAIN refers to the top or hair side of the skin. It has a smooth grain, is soft, and easily absorbs dyes. Look for small pores.

CORRECTED Leather is top grain, but damaged and thus lower quality. Corrected grain often looks better than top grain leather to the consumer when it’s new, since the flaws have been altered by sanding and smoothing and covered with a uniform finish so there are no pores showing. The leather looks overly smooth, and very shiny, almost like plastic. The problem is that corrected gain leather doesn’t age well. Scuffs will become noticeable, the color fixed and polishing is difficult.

SPLIT Leather is the part under the top grain (everything but the top half of the leather). These are used for suede shoes to disguise the lack of grain.

BONDED Leather is the particleboard of leather. It is made from chopped leather bonded with glue for inexpensive, non-durable shoes.

Andy
 

bigCat

Honors Member
On a related note,

how does suede from reversed leather (where the bottom is the skin) compares with suede from the split leather?

The surface is practically the same but the deeper layers of the leather differ? Does this make an imact on quality/durability?

-Ex falso quodlibet-
 

rip

Elite Member
I have a pair of C&J loafers in pebble-grain black; it is certainly a handsome finish to these shoes. I can't imagine C&J using less than top grade leather (I could be wrong about this, of course).

Train your eye! Then train your brain to trust your eye.
 

bystander

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Polishing of shoes in pebble grain leather: the polish tends to deposit in spaces between the raised "pebbles". Any suggetions on how to eliminate these deposits?
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
^ apply the cream and work in well, then brush with a proper horse hair brush.

I do this with my pebble grain shoes and have never had any issues.
 

Tempest

Honors Member
So what's the difference between scotch grain and pebble grain?

And what's the deal with AE's football grain? Same process?
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
So what's the difference between scotch grain and pebble grain?

The name.

And what's the deal with AE's football grain? Same process?

Sorry, I don't know. But I strongly suspect it's embossed, just as is the case with most other pebble-grained leather. The only other process I know to create a similar effect is Shrunken Grained leather. I have a belt made from shrunken calf. The pronounced grain tends to be less regularly shaped, but more uniform across the surface of the hide.

https://www.natanning.com/natcorpleather_glossary.htm
 
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