what is buffalo leather

What Is Buffalo Leather?

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Buffalo leather is the tanned hide of domestic buffalo. It is also known as English Saddle leather that is sourced from one of the 74 species. Buffalo hide is usually three times thicker than cowhide. It is wonderfully soft, flexible, and is not stretched during the tanning process. Buffalo leather offers unsurpassed strength and durability for several lifetimes over.

The history of Buffalo leather

Domestic buffalo hide was first tanned by Asians over 6,000 years ago. Back in the days, buffalo were domesticated to plows, pull carts, and produce milk, and when they reached the end of their working life, people tanned their hides to produce leather. Today, the global population of domesticated buffalo is 194 million, of which 97% are nurtured in Asia. 

The making of Buffalo leather

Buffalo leather is made using traditional tanning practices used by Native Americans. Today, it is also called a “green tanning practice” that does not use toxic chemicals and takes up to four weeks to complete. This tanning process makes a durable, soft, and supple leather that feels relaxing on the skin and is breathable, as well. But, in some areas, chrome tanning is used to make the leather because it is the fastest method and completed in a few days. 

Appearance & quality of Buffalo leather

Buffalo hides are generally smaller in size because these are not stretched during the process of tanning. The buffalo grain is so distinct that artisans and manufacturers can go to suitable lengths to keep their leather products’ natural appearance. You will find buffalo leather in a wide range of colors and finishes, such as in lightly pebbled tans, rich earthy tones, smooth, and heavily grained.

Different types of Buffalo leather

Buffalo leather is classified into different types based on its strength, quality, and durability. 

Full-grain Buffalo leather

Full-grain buffalo leather is the finest quality leather made from the top cut of buffalo hide. It carries all the natural imperfections a buffalo gets during its lifetime to give the leather a unique and appealing feel and texture. This type of leather is sturdy and beautiful in appearance.

Top-grain Buffalo leather

Top-grain buffalo leather is the second-best quality sourced from the second top cut of the buffalo hide. This type of buffalo leather is sanded down to remove any natural imperfections, but still, it has the natural characteristics of the hide. It has an elegant appearance and unmatched durability.

Buffalo mix leather

This type is also called buffalo split leather, made from the bottom cut of the buffalo hide and coated to get a smoother finish. Buffalo mix leather is less durable. It can still be a good option for the finest women’s leather clothing because of its suppleness and graceful appearance.

Pull up Buffalo leather

Pull up buffalo leather is coated with an aniline dye and a blend of oil and waxes to attain a richer color, better finish, and aesthetic appearance. It is soft, light, breathable, and become lighter in color when stretched. You will see the natural blemishes pull up buffalo leather with a different tone because of the aniline coating. It is also resistant to collecting dirt and dust.

Genuine Buffalo leather

Genuine buffalo is also called the lowest-quality leather. It is thin, weak, and less durable. The word genuine is only there to enhance the appeal of the product. Genuine buffalo leather is stamped and dyed to imitate top-grain leather. But it doesn’t carry any of the natural characteristics of the hide. It is sold at economical prices.

Water Buffalo leather

Water buffalo leather is sourced from Asian water buffalo hide. These buffalo are plentiful through the Asian sub-continent. This type of buffalo leather is famous for its natural grain and supple feel. It is a bit lighter and has a subtle matte finish.

Italian Buffalo leather

Italian buffalo leather is made from imported buffalo hide. This leather is tanned and processed in Italy and is well-known for its impressive quality and craftsmanship. 

Buffalo embossed leather

Buffalo embossed leather is also called the low-grade genuine leather, which is processed to get a desirable appeal. This kind of leather is stamped using high pressure and heat to get a unique pattern and design. 

Buffalo hunter leather

‘Buffalo hunter leather’ is typically a phrase used to label buffalo leather articles, such as bags. This type has a matte appearance to evoke traditional American leather. Usually, this type of leather represents traditional Americans from the wild frontier who work the outdoors.

Is Buffalo leather better than cow leather?

It’s hard to say that buffalo leather is better than cow leather, but unlike cowhide, buffalo hide does not stretch to preserve the unique grain pattern, making it marginally stronger and thicker. 

Is Buffalo leather better than sheep leather?

Buffalo leather is thick, extremely strong, and supple. In comparison, sheep leather is thin and less strong than buffalo leather. Each leather has different usage in different products, but buffalo leather is ideal if you are buying leather bags.

Is Buffalo leather expensive?

Buffalo leather is slightly expensive because of its natural appearance and thickness. 

How does buffalo leather age?

If you care and maintain buffalo leather with leather conditioner, it will last a lifetime. A rich patina will develop over time that will enhance its beauty.

 

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