Difference Between Cowhide, Leather and Skin

Published : 08/03/2018 16:31:13
Categories : Latest News Rss feed

Animal skins have always been one of the most used materials by man since ancient times, but why today are we use three different terms to indicate the same material? What's the difference between cowhide, skin and leather?

Genesis of the terminology

The word leather has a genesis that is closely related to the type of tanning process used, while the word skin indicates in a more general way the superficial dermis of an animal: when it comes to leathers treated with the vegetable or chrome tanning method then usually comes used the word “leather”, on the other hand, the word “skin”, generally indicates a material of animal origin that has been simply tanned or not yet treated (raw skin or raw hides).

What is leather?

Many people mistakenly think that this is the only distinction but in reality, if you want to go more specific, the people in the industry use the word "leather" to indicate any type of leather that has been tanned with vegetable or chrome tanning and (or not) already finished that is ready to be used to produce leather goods.

Difference Between Cowhide, Leather and Skin

What is the skin?

All the material used to make leather goods are called "skins". This term generally indicates any type of tanned, pre-tanned leather (wet-blue, wet-white, crust) or raw hides of animal origin (bovine, ovine, caprine, swine, equina etc.) which must be submitted or finds in an intermediate stage or at the final stage of the processing processes that go under the name of "tanning" but which include a numerous series of processes such as:

Works of “Riviera”, preliminary chemical and mechanical operations

The tanning, to give the dermis its stable physical characteristics;

Re-tanning, dyeing and possibly fattening according to the intended use of leather and according to market requirements;

Finishing work, touches that are given to semi-finished skins depending on the product to be obtained.

leather skin

What is the Cowhide (or simply hide)?

In the business of tanneries, for cowhide it is intended a leather of bovine origin (cowhide), tanned maintaining its original whole shape usually with a chrome tanning process, suitable for upholstering of furniture and car interiors. This the most common kind of leather and usually one of the cheapest. When talking about whole skins, not of bovine origin the generic term “hide” is used to indicate the skin of every animal in its whole form.


Conclusion on the difference between leather and leather

So, the next time someone talks to you about the difference between leather, skin and cowhide, you can reply by claiming that for the skin the generic category that includes the dermis of animals at any stage is indicated; cowhide is a leather of bovine origin, that has a very big size and is used for upholstery. Finally, with the word leather it is indicated a skin that has passed one or more stages of production and is ready to be used to create a bag, a wallet, a shoe, a belt or a sofa.

Share this content