Natural leather has several features that make it far more different from synthetic leather. These characteristics have to be known by leather craftsmen and students to help develop their taste and sharpen their judgment concerning ‘fake’ and real leather products. Some of its distinct characteristics are vividly described in this article. The aim of the paper is not to discourage leather craftsmen and producers from using artificial leather but to accentuate the unique abilities of leather gotten from nature.
1. It has an excellent molding and forming qualities-
This leather is pliable and elastic. Due to this, it can be shaped in various forms, unlike synthetic leather that can tear when exerted with pressure to conform to a particular form. Natural leather ‘listens’ to the dictates of its maker without difficulty. Owing to its nature, it can take the form and shape of objects that even have various curvy aspects. No wonder it is used for the molding of bottles, vases, jars and even sculptural forms.
2. It has tear strength (plasticity)-
This is how leather can stand the ‘strains and stresses’ without breaking. Natural leather possesses the quality to be stretched, shaped or manipulated with tools without tearing. leather from animals is very strong and thus does not tear easily. Synthetic leather rather tears easily. This quality of natural leather explains why its products usually last longer than ‘synthe’ (synthetic) leather products. Upholstery in cars is produced with it because it can stand various forms of tension as a result of seating.
3. Puncture strength-
It is very difficult to create punctures in products made of natural leather. Pointed objects cannot easily pierce through natural leather products. That is why, in the construction industries, workers are mandated to wear boots produced from it. Personal protective gadgets such as jackets and cardigans are usually produced with it.
4. It has an insulating ability-
Leather in a natural state has the ability to reduce or even preventing the transmission of heat or cold. That is why jackets fashioned with it are worn in both hot and cold climates. While it has excellent functions such as protecting wind and naturally ventilating so as to be well put on in autumn, winter, and spring, synthetic leather does not. It protects its wearer from the harsh weather conditions.
5. It can be tooled, carved and embossed-
Because of its thickness, it can be carved, tooled and embossed with the greatest ease. These production techniques cannot be employed on synthetic leather due to its lightness.