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Glovesmith Baseball Glove Leather Glossary

Alum Tanned:  Leather produced by alum, used in combination with salt, egg yolk, and other substances.  Before the invention of chrome tanning this was the principle method of tanning with mineral agents.  Note: This process is still used in lace leather for quality gloves today. 
Bend Leather:  
Superior grade of leather.  Upper backbone area of a hide away from shoulders, neck, and belly.  Note: Our Custom Elite & Elite baseball gloves our cut from the bend area.
Belly:  
Is the part of a hide from the under side of an animal, usually less valuable than other parts of a hide because of its drawn grain.
Chrome Tannage:  
Leather tanned in chromium salts, primarily basic chromium sulfate resulting in soft, mellow hides receptive to excellent color variety. Currently the most widely used tannage in the USA.  Note: Chrome tanned leather is currently the most widely used leather for baseball gloves.
Crocking:
  Color matter that sometimes rubs off leather.
Currying:
  Process of incorporating oils and greases into the leather after tanning and otherwise preparing it for the specific purpose for which it may be intended.
Drawn Grain:  
Shrunken, shriveled, or wrinkled grain surface of leather.

Grain:  A word used to describe the natural characteristics of the surface of leather, such as its pores, wrinkles, markings, and texture.
Hand:  A word used to describe the feel (i.e. softness or fullness) of leather. 
Kip:  A skin from an animal between the size of a calf and a mature cow.  Note: In today’s cattle industry many hides fall into this category.
Milled Leather:  Technique of breaking down leather by putting it into a large drum and letting it tumble until it becomes softer and obtains a pebbled appearance.  Note: Often used in conjunction with oil tanning in order to produce softer baseball glove leather.  
Mineral Tanned:  Leather that has been tanned by any of several mineral substances, notably the salts of chromium, aluminum, and zirconium.
Nap:  Describes the soft, "fuzzy" effect achieved in leather by buffing or brushing.
Nubuck:  Leather whose surface has been buffed and brushed to create a soft, velvety effect. Differs from suede in that while suede is created from the split side of a hide, Nubuck is created using the grain (outer) side, giving it added strength and durability.
Oil Tanned:  Leather that is tanned using oils to create a very soft, pliable finish.
Ounce:  The term used to identify the weight and substance of a hide.  An ounce is equivalent to 1/64th of an inch in thickness.
Patina:  The aura or luster that develops in a quality piece of leather with age.
Pull-up:  Describes the behavior of leather that has been treated with oils, waxes, and dyes in such a way that when the leather is pulled or stretched, the finish becomes lighter in the stretched areas. 
Razorback:  Supple lightweight leather tanned from pigs and hogs, it is not as thick as cowhide or steerhide.  
Note: Glovesmith’s G-Pro gloves are constructed from razorback leather. 
Retan:  
Leathers tanned with more than one tanning agent, such as a vegetable tannage applied over chrome tannage, resulting in both softness and body in the hides.
Side:  Half a hide cut along the backbone.
Split Leather
 Leather made from the inner layers of a hide that have been split away from the upper, or top grain.  Split leather is more fragile than top grain or full grain leather.
Splitting:  The thinning or slicing of leather into two or more layers. Note: Used to get the leather into a workable thickness.
Steerhide:  Leather from the hides of steers, usually heavier leather.  
Top Grain:  Leather that has the grain side left intact, in contrast to split leather.  The top grain of the hide is where the strength of the leather comes from.  
Note: All Glovesmith gloves are made from top grain leather. 
Vegetable Tanning:  A method of tanning that utilizes materials from organic materials such as bark instead of the traditional chemicals. Note: Vegetable tanned leather has greater body and firmness than traditionally chromium tanning.
Weight:  A term that describes the heaviness or thickness of leather. Typically given in ounces. 
Welting leather:  The leather used as the uniting material between each of the finger pieces on the back of the glove.  Also is used to attach the palm of the glove to the back of the glove. 

This glossary was compiled with help from the Dictionary of Leather Terminology.

 
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052
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