What is Full Grain Leather?

‘Full Grain’ is the top surface of the hide that has had the animal's hair removed and has undergone the tanning process. It is the premium surface leather that shows up natural character such as hair cells, veins and even blemishes such as the odd scratch, growth marks or even insect bites. These naturally occurring features enhance the look of the leather if processed in a quality tanning environment.

Not all leather is Full Grain. Inferior hide selections (with extreme markings from unhealthy or poorly maintained animals) are often lightly sanded and/or polished to remove the worst of such defects. But the giveaway is that you can see light sand marks on the surface and in the attempt to remove the really bad marks, the natural character can be lost.

Many leather items are processed using the underside (referred to as ‘the split’ as it’s split away from the Top side or Full Grain) of the hide and can even have a polyurethane (PU) surface to give the leather a surface finish it otherwise lacks. This PU film may even be a photo of ‘real leather’ but its shiny surface and plastic feel gives it away as an imitation to the real thing. It will not improve with age as real Full Grain Leather does, and eventually the film will split with natural creasing through use.
At Fibre, we use only the best Full Grain Vege tanned leathers.

So what is Vege Tanned Leather?
Vege tanned leather is the age old and original process of tanning leather using vegetable extracts such as tree barks and other compostable natural materials. In modern times chemicals and dyes may be added but the most harsh chemicals such as chromium sulphates are not used. That process is known as Chrome tanning and at Fibre, we do not use leathers produced via this method.

“Premium quality leather goods do not have to carry a big price tag and it does not get old – rather it matures and gets better with age, making your history and travels a part of its story.”


Mark Yaxley, Founder