Nappa leather is the exceptional one from all the types of leather; it’s soft to touch as well as tough in wear and tear. That makes it an excellent for car seats and jackets, just two of its many uses.
Leather is a tough, durable and thick material that is used to make a variety of goods like shoes, jackets, wallets, belts, bags, briefcases, etc. Leather is made from animal skin, primarily that of cattle. However, animal skin can spoil and decompose easily. To avoid goods made from animal skin from decomposing, it is first tanned. Tanning is the process that gives leather from animal skin. Tanning makes use of an astringent like the plant product tannin, or some artificial chemical substance that will elicit similar effects. Tanning results in the proteins in the animal skin to coagulate and precipitate – this permanently alters the structure, composition and often the color of the animal skin. Leather thus formed is of a particular color and is much more durable and tough. It is also not susceptible to decomposition.
Types of Leather
In the tanning process that gives us leather from animal rawhide, several steps are performed to remove the animal hair, skin, etc. Depending on degree of this processing and which of these steps are or are not performed, we get four basic types of leather.
● Full-grain: This is the kind of leather in which the epidermis of the animal skin has not been removed. Also, no corrective processes have been performed on full grain leather to get rid of the natural marks that may be present on the skin.
● Top-grain: This is the kind of leather in which the top grain and split layer has been removed. This is softer than full-grain leather, also cheaper, and less susceptible to spoiling.
● Corrected-grain: This kind of leather has an artificial grain applied to it, to hide the corrections made. Also, this kind of leather can be given various artificial colors by pigmentation.
● Split: Split leather refers to the leather made out of the fibrous part of the animal rawhide that is left over after the top-grain has been removed from it.
Nappa leather is a kind of full-grain leather. It was first made by Emanuel Manasse in the year 1875. Manasse worked for a tanning company in Napa, California. That is how the leather gets its name. As stated previously, Nappa leather is a full-grain leather. The leather is made from kid, lamb or sheep skin, and it is ‘unsplit’. The tanning process for this leather makes us of artificial tannins such as aluminum sulfate, chromium sulfate and other such salts. Nappa leather is typically dyed so as to obtain various colors.
Properties of Nappa Leather
- The leather is very soft and pliable. It is not hard like other leathers and does not crease.
- The leather is tough and durable in spite of being soft. It is not easily spoiled.
- The leather has an intact top-grain. Hence, it is more “breathable” and does not retain moisture.
- The leather often develops a patina over the years that adds to its aesthetics.
Goods Made from Nappa Leather
Nappa leather has been commonly used to make what are referred to as specialty goods – bags, wallets, toiletry kits and goods of personal use. Nappa leather however, has also been used for car furnishings. Nappa leather seat covers are available to go with many cars, such as a Ferrari, Porsche or a BMW. Footwear made from this leather is also available. Goods made of Nappa leather look really beautiful, with the original texture and marks or blemishes of the animal skin preserved.
Care of Nappa Leather
Nappa leather – being a full-grain leather – is rather delicate and requires quite a bit of care taking. Depending on what Nappa leather article it is that you have, you can choose from leather water and stain proofing sprays, to leather care pens, and a lot of other products. Many companies provide with assorted leather cleaning and maintenance kits. Nappa leather is a kind of aniline leather, so an aniline leather maintenance kit would be perfect to care for your Nappa leather goods. In case of car furnishings, it is best to consult the car-makers about proper care for your leather seats. If you are confused about which kit to buy for your Nappa goods, you can instead choose to make a leather cleaner at home! However, personally I would strongly recommend you to consult someone and buy a professional leather care kit – you do not want to mess with expensive and beautiful looking leather!
I hope this article was able to answer all your doubts and questions about Nappa leather. It is indeed a fine quality leather, and like most fine quality leathers, requires a bit of extra cleaning and care. However, it is totally worth the pains, for it looks absolutely exquisite!