– Cutting of hides –
。Whole Hide: This is WHOLE HIDE. As the words meaning, this is a hide without any special cuts. It keeps the original hide shape. This cutting method mainly use on Baby Calf, Calf skins, Sheep and Goats skins. Considering they are relatively small animals, their skins are too small size to cut into parts for making products.
For furniture use leathers are always keep as whole hides (on cow or bull) too because making of furniture (like leather sofa making) request a big piece of raw material to cut.
。SIDE LEATHER (Mezzo): This is one of the most common cutting method in the leather business, which tanner cut the leather into HALF, one half named “SIDE”. Most of the hide been cut during the WET BLUE status, but NOT during RAW HIDE. Raw hide is too difficult to cut, while wet blue is soft and smooth. Besides, tanner will not cut the hide into half after it is finished (become a finished leather). This is because tanners will consider the processes limitation such as drums and machines size. Also preventing the finished leathers get dirty.
We can find SHOULDER on top part of the SIDE leather, which is relatively narrow with neck marks. (More information: If you see a big hole or being cut a circle area, the hide probably comes from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Brazil, because of the cow’s hump). On the edge part is irregular shape, it is the BELLY part, while it losses. Another edge is normally straight, where is the back part and the cutting-line.
。BELLY LEATHER (Fianco/ Fianchi): From below pic, a whole hide skin can be cut into 3 parts: SHOULDER (Square shoulder) D.BUTT & BELLY (2 bellies, left and right side). This is one of the most classic and a common cutting method in Italy.
Nowadays, people are looking for DIY and more small or local brands for matching their living style. You can easily find a Natural colour (similar to beige tone), vegetable tanned belly leather, actually, Tunenic Leather is the very first to introduce this kind of finishing into the Hong Kong and China market (I am sure if all the Asia). And named it “Shelly Belly”.
It can be dated back to almost 30 years ago. At that time Italian bellies were not producing by vegetable tanned way but mainly in chrome tanning, which are mainly for worker’s gloves, or emboss the bellies with different prints for watch straps or small leather goods use. As it was a cheap and low-end material. And Tunenic Leather team worked hard with Italian tanners and technicians to improve the production methods and finishing of this belly. By using traditional vegetable tan plus a special oily but smooth hand-feeling, with a very light Anti-dust effect on the surface. Finally success and imported to mainland China. A new Shelly Belly leather born.
In fact, when compare with other part of the hide, belly is loose with unique belly marks, narrow and long shape. When you use this part, you should understand and consider of it.
。SQUARE SHOULDER LEATHER (Spalle): A whole hide skin can be cut into 3 parts: SHOULDER (Square shoulder) D.BUTT & BELLY (2 bellies, left and right side).
In general, Italian tanneries only use SPALLE (shoulder) to name this part, actually it means “SQUARE SHOULDER”, but not the other cutting way as “FRONT SHOULDER” (or someone calls it DOUBLE SHOULDER), which we will mention below.
You can easily understand from the word “Square Shoulder”, it is a square shape shoulder, it has 3 cuts, 2 are starting from the neck part of cow and straightly to the tail (Butt), to separate the left and right belly part. Then the last cut is about the middle of the skin which separate the shoulder and Butt part.
Square Shoulder leather is very common to use for bags, briefcase and belt making. Especially there is an unique “neck marks”, which is the highlight spot. As the marks grown from natural, every skin has different marks which can help the designers and brands create their own very special collections.
。DOUBLE BUTT LEATHER (Gropponi): After cut out the Square Shoulder and Bellies, the remains part is called “Double Butt”. Someone may call it “Back part”. And we can cut it into 2 Single Butts.
In general speaking, Double Butt is the best part of the hide, because:
1) No bellies that means you do not have the loosing problem.
2) No Square Shoulder part means no much neck marks.
3) It is almost a rectangle shape, which you have very good cutting use.
4) Almost fit for all products, no matter belts, handbags or briefcase.
Therefore, normally the Double Butt is the most expensive part of the hide.
Refer to below photo, you can find 2 pieces of Single Butt, article: Nabuk One (Nubuck leather) from Conceria Lloyd SPA, while if they don’t cut off will be as a Double Butt.
。FRONT SHOULDER & CULATTA: The so-called Front Shoulder is not the main part which tanners want to cut, but the rest of the skin named “Culatta”.
Culatta is a proper nouns of Italy, I cannot find the right word in English nor Chinese (My Italian tanners say it is the “ass”). Form the whole hide, tanner cut out the part alone the front legs of the animal horizontally, which means it has the top part of the bellies (both right and left side), and also the top part of the shoulder. Tanners will cut in this way because of some special requests by brands or designers. We know that bellies are loose and shoulder has neck marks (which can say higher cutting lost/wastage to use).
Therefore, the part remains with non-ideal long and irregular shape part, we called it “Front Shoulder”. Generally the cost of Front Should is more or less as bellies. Some traders or tanners may even mix them to sell together. Someone also give it a better name “Double Shoulder”, but please do not mix up with “Square Shoulder”, they are totally 2 different kind of raw materials.
Above are those common Italian cutting methods of cowhide, calf and bull. There are still some special or unique cutting ways based on customers requested which do not mention here, such as HEAD part, SHELL part (mainly for Horse leather used for Shell Cordovan finish). If you want to know more, let’s keep in touch by our email firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tunenic