[Northkeep] suede leather

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 15 10:27:56 PDT 2003

>From: "Deborah Sweet/soc/cas/Okstate" <dssweet at okstate.edu>
>So, Dairmuit, what's suede leather?

Well, in the 1850s, a style of gloves became popular made from "undressed"
kidskin (or baby goat skin that hasn't been stuffed with oils and such).
Since this style came from Sweden, they were called gants de Suède.  People
started attaching the name to leather that looked like this unfinished
kidskin, or had a similar texture.

By the 1950s, the term had come to mean leather, usually calfskin, in which
the grain side (the smooth skin side) had been buffed up with an emory wheel
to give it a bit of a nap. [as an ironic technical aside, oil dressed
leathers were also napped like this to facilitate oiling, which is why some
leathers, like chamois, or the ancient "buff" leather are also napped - I
have a small sample of that around the house someplace].

Today of course, the term is usually used to refer to a split (leather that
has been "split" into a thinner grain side often leaves a split off part
from the fuzzy "flesh" side - these are called "splits").  These are then
sometimes buffed up as well, or not.  These are generally what are called
"suede" today, although occasionally you might still find some from lamb or
doe that have the grain buffed up.

You know, I am in desperate need of a life...


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