All About Chesterfield Leather

Leather and wood are the only materials that get better and more luxurious with age. No other material is so durable as leather, it is easy to care for and natural. Because leather “breathes,” it won’t pick up on surrounding room temperatures, whether too cold or too hot. As your leather furniture matures it will crease and soften to look better and become more comfortable the more you use it. Inevitably there are variations in the grain and texture, these are not faults but help to show the authenticity of the real thing

Leather begins with an animal hide that is tanned or preserved. The first quality issue is where leather is taken from the hide. The best leather is always top grain, from the topmost layer of the surface. Less expensive and weaker leathers, including suede, are taken from lower layers or splits of the hide

The quality of leather is also based on the dyeing process. Soft and supple aniline leathers are considered the most luxurious and stylish, but they are not necessarily the most practical option

Aniline is a transparent liquid dye (and natural derivative) used to color high quality hides. These dyes provide permanent color that also allows natural grain and markings to show through. Caution: The word “aniline” is used in a couple of ways, which can be confusing when you’re just learning

Pure aniline leathers are created from the highest quality top grain and are best for adult use. No additional pigment or surface treatments are applied after the dyeing process, so the quality of the leather must be outstanding. Like silk or hand-woven fabric, pure anilines are prized for their natural look and soft hand. Less than 5% of the world’s leathers qualify as pure aniline… explaining their high cost

Semi-anilines are soft leathers that are also more practical and easily maintained, making them a safer family option. In addition to aniline dying, these hides are given added color and/or protective finishes. Surface corrections are also made to correct imperfections and pigmenting. These are a safer option, but not as heavy duty as corrected grain leathers

Corrected grain leathers are also top grain-but not quite as flawless as the most expensive hides. They are buffed to remove unattractive surface markings before color pigment is added, then embossed with a natural grain pattern. The resulting surface is somewhat stiffer than pure aniline leather, although it will soften with use

Nubuck and suede are both buffed for a soft, velvety nap, but there’s a big difference. Suede is made from splits, so it’s a less expensive and less durable leather product. Nubuck is aniline dyed top grain leather, so it lasts longer and shows more natural markings. Because of its nap, Nubuck often receives a protective coating to guard against stains and markings

Suede isn’t the only product made from splits. Finishing techniques like embossing or antiquing can be applied to splits to make them resemble top grains. Such leather is less expensive, but does not have the same hand or strength as true top grains

Our leather is fashioned from hand-picked, hand cut, soft, smooth and supple hides to express the elegance and creative flair of our talented designers. Remember – with leather, Nature also takes a hand in design, we use as many as 6 hides for an average suite, with each one bearing the individual imprint of its original owner, therefore the suite that you have bought has its own exclusive character which is unique to you

Leather is forever and unlike many ‘trendy’ fabrics, its qualities are fully tried, tested and proven. It never dates. Never goes out of fashion and its tough and hardwearing that its impressive good looks won’t deteriorate with the years. Along with the many thousands of contented customers, you too will have many years of sheer enjoyment and add classic luxury to your home

Leather a Miracle of Nature

Leather has been used by man since the dawn of time and now in the age of the modem techno world we continue to do so. All attempts to replace leather have ended in failure, what other material could spend 200 years on the ocean floor as in the Mary Rose and remain intact, there is only one – that miracle of nature REAL LEATHER. Leather is made up of millions of fibres which permit air to circulate naturally, therefore allowing the leather to ‘Breathe’. The surface is not affected by heat or cold. Leather is both comfortable and pleasant to touch

Natural Characteristics

Leather has many natural characteristics that gives the furniture its very special character. On some parts of the hide, the grain will have a tight appearance; whilst other areas will more loose, but equally hard-wearing. Characteristic marks found illustrate the unique beauty of leather:

DUNG MARKS – these are seen in hide as more textured areas than normal

FLY MARKS – Occasionally cattle are attacked by small insects which leave the marks of their bites in the hides, these occur as tiny cuts on the leather surface

CREASES – these appear in the neck areas of the hide, Because of their heavy grained effect, they will appear as textured lines in the smooth hide

SCARS – are caused in many ways for example cattle being caught on barbed wire fences, pests or horns of other cattle, in its healed form the new skin is as strong as the remainder of the fide and these marks help to differentiate real, natural leather from its substitutes

GROWTH MARKS – reveal the age of the leather, as with scars, growth marks really do show off the full bodied character of real leather

No effort is made to conceal any natural flaws such as these in the leather, in fact highlighting them enhances and gives the finished product that real antique look that is so characteristic with real leather furniture

Real Leather is full of natural characteristics, the classical finished look, together with its soft textured feel gives hours of endless pleasure. All our staff pride themselves in having captured the complete fullness of real leather, along with its looks which are sure to give delight and the maturity of the leather as it ages will give you satisfaction for many years to come

Using both applied finishes and hand-rubbing, each piece of wood is finished to highlight the natural beauty of the solid wood itself. Just as no two trees are alike, no piece of wood will look just like another. Variations in color and grain patterns are directly related to where the individual pieces were cut from tree. Natural markings such as knots, mineral streaks and gum pockets have no effect on the furniture’s durability. They are proof that the furniture is indeed truly solid wood. Like leather, solid wood mellows and ages with time and grows more beautiful through the years

Caring For Leather

Our furniture is constructed to very high standards from carefully selected materials

Full grain leather is easy to care for and unlike many other fabrics, real leather has a natural resilience to wear, more or less taking care of itself. There are a few things you can do however, to ensure its long lasting pleasure:

MAKE SURE THAT THE LEATHER doesn’t dry out, as this will affect its suppleness and softness of touch

AVOID EXPOSING THE LEATHER TO DIRECT SUNLIGHT for prolonged periods of time. The sunlight will bleach both the leather and the wood. Protect it where possible by drawing the blinds or curtains

WATCH OUT FOR SHARP OBJECTS like toys, jewellery, buckles on shoes, pet claws as these can score the leather

BEWARE OF PLACING THE LEATHER too near to direct strong heat sources such as open fires, heat outlets, open windows, or sources of damp

LIGHTER COLOURS will wear just as well as darker ones, but will need to be cleaned slightly more often
DO NOT ALLOW GRIT AND DIRT to build up to excessive levels as this could have an abrasive affect

Over a period of time all leather will be inclined to stretch, this may lead to the opening of the pleats, do not worry it is not a fault, it is a common occurrence especially in deep buttoned cushioned upholstery

The cushions will also form creases, again this is a natural occurrence of the leather as it stretches slightly and in no way affects the quality of the furniture

Your suite is designed to be sat in comfort, so use it properly for that purpose. Sitting on the edge of cushions or the arms and backs may cause premature wear and distortion of the padding and leather

If your furniture is in constant use, all reversible cushions should be turned daily and positions changed where possible, this will prevent excessive soiling and wear to one side

Do not place plastic or rubber materials directly on the wood finish. Chemicals in the plastic and some rubber may soften and thus injure the finish if left in contact with the furniture for a long period of time. To avoid these markings, place a strip of felt, leather, or cork under tray accessories, etc

Cleaning Your Suite

Leather Upholstery
All our leathers have already been permanently preserved in the tanning process and need no maintenance other than the simple cleaning recommended

Once a week
Keep your furniture dust and dirt free. Dust with a clean dry soft cloth and occasionaly vacuum with a soft brush to prevent dirt and dust from being ground into the leather

Wipe with a warm and damp clean cloth to remove body oils and dust that builds up in the crevices. Thoroughly dry with a towel

Once or twice a year
If required, apply leather food (cream), carefully following the manufacturers instructions

Spills and Stains
Deal with spills and soiling as soon as possible. Permanent stains can result if food and liquid is not wiped away immediately. For soiling use a mild solution of liquid ivory soap and clear lukewarm water. Apply the soap to a clean wet sponge and gently wash, then rinse well with clean water and towel dry. Do not force dry by using a hair dryer etc. Always try the cleaning method in a hidden area first to convince yourself of the results

Wipe excess butter, oil or grease off the leather with a clean, dry cloth, then leave it alone as the spot should dissipate into the leather in a short period of time. Do not apply water to try to wash a butter, oil or grease spot

Do Not Use
Saddle soap, oils, furniture polish, abrasive cleaners, soaps, varnishes or ammonia based products as these products may contain solvents which will break down the protective coat on the leather

Cleaning Nubuck and Suede Leather

To clean nubuck and suede, blot (don’t rub) excess liquid immediately with a clean white cloth or sponge. Allow area to air dry naturally, then brush lightly with a suede brush to restore the nap

Body oils will stain leather, but they gradually blend into its surface giving both patina and character

Because of the lack of surface coats, pure aniline leathers are less stain resistant and should be handled with extra delicacy

Polished Wood

Once a week
Frequent dusting will remove abrasive dust buildup, which can damage a finish over time. Vacuum clean or dust with a soft cloth

Use a cloth just barely dampened with solvent-based cleaning wax to wipe the surface to pick up more dust, and immediately wipe with a dry cloth or soft paper towel. Occasional polishing with a high-quality, non-silicone furniture polish will enhance the beauty of the fine finish. Avoid using oily polishes or waxes

Once or twice a year
Use a solution of one tablespoon of vinegar to a quart of water. Rub with the grain until the surface is completely dry. Or saturate a cloth with cleaning wax and wet the surface thoroughly, one square foot at a time. Wipe area dry with a clean cloth

Occasionally wax with paste (carnauba) wax. Rub on a very light coat with a soft cloth with the grain of the wood (or put a lump of wax inside a few layers of folded cheesecloth and rub onto wood thus preventing heavy smears); then buff at once with soft cloth, turning often, until wax coating is hard. (Old cotton tee-shirts are good.) Be sure all wax is completely buffed until hard to avoid smears and streaks. A small electric polisher is a great “arm-saver” on all smooth surfaces; wipe surface gently with clean soft cloth after applying wax to remove any loosened soil and then let set several minutes (following wax label directions) before power buffing. An occasional re-buffing will renew the soft gloss. Paste wax helps cover small cracks and checks in old finishes, and can easily be removed with solvent when desired.

Spills and Stains
Soil buildup can be removed by rubbing with a soft cloth dampened in a 50/50 solution of warm water and an ammonia-free detergent. Follow by wiping with a clean cloth dampened in warm water. Wipe dry. Always rub in the direction of the wood grain.

Liquids should be wiped from the surface immediately with a soft, slightly damp cloth, in the direction of the wood grain.

Small marks and scratches may be touched up or covered with a mar, scratch remover or touch-up stick.

Do Not Use
Do not use spray waxes and polishes on surfaces as they will leave a higher gloss and some silicone which may make future refinishing more difficult.