5 ways to spot fake leather

What do fine wine, cheese and leather have in common?


Besides that fact that you will look good sitting on your leather sofa, sipping wine and eating good cheese, there is something else – they all get better with age. That’s right, quality leather can last a lifetime and improves with age.

I recently saw a friend’s stylish leather chairs but there was a top coat that was peeling off.  She commented that the leather was old.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her she had fallen foul of bonded leather.

I knew it instantly because the same thing had happened to me once.  I had meticulously fed and protected my leather, only for it to all peel off like a case of bad sunburn.

 

While leather imitations have improved over the years, they aren’t as good as the real thing.  Here are some things to look for when choosing good leather:

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REad the label

Reading the label is always a good start.  It needs to be authentic to make the claim of being leather, however, ‘genuine leather’ does not mean it is the best quality. ‘Full grain leather’ is the best you can buy.  

However if it states, ‘made with full-grain leather’ it might imply that part of the item is not full-grain.  It is not uncommon for sofas to use bonded leather on non-contact surfaces such as the back.  

Bonded leather is a manufactured product made from leather offcuts. It can have a leather content as little as 20%.

 

smell it

Once again, like cheese and good wine, there is always a smell.  Natural leather will smell different from artificial leather.  This is partly because of the glues and chemicals used in the manufacturing.

Faux leather usually smells like vinyl and chemicals, while real leather has this distinctive fragrance of leather and animals.  It will be helpful to check the smell of real leather and faux leather on a regular basis.

 

Wet It

Real leather is a natural breathing product, so while a robust textile, it does absorb water.  You can easily differentiate real leather from the counterfeit by putting small drop of water on it.  Leather will absorb it over a few minutes – imitations won’t.

 

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touch it

Real leather comes in a range of finishes and can feel coarse or smooth, depending on the quality and type.  If the product feels excessively smooth or has a plastic feel, chances are it’s fake.

 Real leather is also generally less consistent in texture because it is natural and harder to regulate.  If you get in the habit of feeling real leather, it will help you spot the counterfeit.

 

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inspect it closely

Be sure to check the pores of the leather.  If it seems too perfect, chances are it is probably too good to be true.  Genuine leather has an inconsistent pattern of pores because it is natural.  In contrast, manufactured products that look like leather have a consistent, repeating pattern.

While it is hard to see on a finished product, the edges are also a good indicator of its authenticity.

If you are looking for genuine leather, we have a wide range and can assist you with finding the perfect finish for your project.  Fake leather will have a perfect, smooth edge that feels plastic whereas genuine leather has a more natural, rough edge.

 

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