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List of Industry Terminology. Just enough to be dangerous. 




That part of the hide from the under side of the animal.


Usually in the phrase "in the blue." Applied to hides or skins that have been chrome-tanned but not finished.


A permanent man-made mark on the hide for animal identification usually made with a hot iron.


Cattlehide Leathers
Made from the hides of cows, steers and bulls; sometimes includes kip skins.


Chatter Damage
Can be found in fleshed hides. It is a series of light parallel gouges which are caused by burrs on the fleshing blade or improper machine adjustment. Hides fleshed too deeply and/or with chatter marks should not be delivered without consent of buyer.


Chrome Tannage
Tannage of leather with chromium compounds; sometimes with small amounts of some other tanning agent but not enough to alter the chrome tanned character of the leather.


Is removal by the seller of all loose fat and trimmings that may be hanging on the fleshed hide. Removal should take place before shipment to buyer.


Colorado Steers
Side-branded steer hides; not necessarily from Colorado.


Combination Tanned
Tannage of two or more agents, such as chrome and vegetable.


Country Hides
Hides removed by butchers and farmers; quality is usually lower than meat-packers' hides because they are removed by less skilled hands and are not cured as well.


Cowhide Leather
Term specifically applied to leather made from hides of cows, although it is generally loosely used to designate any leather tanned from hides of animals of the bovine species.


Untanned, whole cattlehide with belly and shoulder cut off; comparable to a butt bend in tanned leather.


The treatment of raw hides and skins after flaying to retard bacterial action and putrefecation.


Flesh curing - Hides are washed and salted individually. This is accomplished by spreading out first one hide, hair side down, on a concrete floor. The flesh side is then sprinkled with a generous coating of granular salt. Then a second hide is placed hair down upon the first, and likewise treated with salt. This procedure is repeated until piles up to eight feet high are formed. The salted hides are left to lay for several days, during which time the salt granules dissolve in the skin moisture and thoroughly penetrate the hide.


Brine curing - Brine curing is the faster method of salt treatment.  The washed hides are placed in large vats called raceways to which is added a concentrated salt solution (brine).  Mechanical means are provided to cause the hides to swim around in the brine, and complete penetration of the salt solution into the hide is accomplished in about 12 hours.  Treated hides are removed from the brine-filled raceway, allowed to drain, dry salt is sprinkled on them and they are bundled for shipment.


Fat and Meat (Excess)
Should be removed from all hides by the seller before delivery to the buyer. For best curing results, it should be removed from the fresh hide before salting.


A mechanical operation that rids the hides of excess flesh, fat, and muscle found on the inside (flesh side) of the hides.


a. #1 Hide - A #1 hide is a hide free from holes, cuts, deep scores or gouges more than half way through the hide, visible grain defects and broken grain (over 1 inch long) and having a correct pattern. Exceptions: Rear shanks containing one hole or cut below the hock that measures less than 1 inch in length and holes less than 4 inches from the edge of the hide which can be trimmed without spoiling the pattern of the hide shall not result in a downgrade.

b. #2 Hide - A #2 hide is a hide that contains either (1) one to four holes, cuts, deep scores or gouges in an area located inside a straight line drawn through the break in the hair of the fore and hind shanks, (2) a great break over 1 inch, (3) an area of warts no longer than 1 square foot, or (4) a hole regardless of size within the confines of a brand.

c. #3 Hide - A #3 hide is a hide that contains either (1) five or more holes, cuts, deep scores or gouges in an area located inside a straight line drawn through the break in the hair of the fore and hind shanks, (2) one hole or cut over 6 inches, (3) an area of warts or open grub holes larger than 1 square foot.  A machine-damaged hide will be considered a #3 hide if at least 50% of the surface area of the hide is present and usable for leather manufacture.  If less than 50% is present the hide will be considered untannable.  Seller should not deliver #3 hides without consent of buyer.


The outer or hair side of a hide or skin. Also the pattern of the outer surface after the hair or wool and epidermal tissue have been removed.


Grain Break
Any hide having a defect on the hair side causing the grain to be broken one inch or more in length or diameter, or having two or more such defective spots, which aggregate in measurement one inch or more in length or diameter. This includes sores, rubs, scuffs and deep scratches.


Grubby Hides
They are hides containing five or more grub holes.


Pepper Box
Is a hide in which the concentrated grub area covers one square foot or more. It should be described as a number three hide.


Hair Slipped
Hides containing hair slip should not be delivered to the tanner unless by mutual consent before shipment between the buyer and the seller.


As used in the leather industry, it refers to a whole pelt from one of the larger animals (cattle, horse, etc.), in contrast to the term "skin," the pelt of young or smaller animals.


Kip or Kipskin
Hide from an animal of the bovine species between the size of a calf and a mature animal. This term includes hides from calves which have grown larger than the size usually slaughtered for veal.


This is the usual American name, which has spread largely to other English-speaking countries, for cattlehide that has been dehaired and limed, often stuffed with oil or grease, and has sometimes undergone other preparatory processes, but has not been tanned. Some rawhide has the hair left on.


That portion of the hide which formed the leg of an animal.


Half a whole hide, cut longitudinally.


Pelt from a young or small animal (sheep, calf, goat, etc.).


The skin of an unborn or prematurely born animal, especially calf.


Small Packer Hide
The hide of an animal slaughtered in one of the smaller meat packing establishments with fewer facilities for specialization than the "big" packers.


A term used to describe the under portion of a hide or skin, split into two or more thicknesses. Under rulings of the Federal Trade Commission, a split must be so marked and cannot be called "genuine leather" or "genuine cowhide."


Leather made from the hides of steers, usually a heavy leather for soles, beltings, etc., although the term is sometimes used to cover any cattlehide leather, especially in the fancy leather goods trade.


Texas Steers
Usually side-branded steer hides of a narrow close compact pattern, and plump; not necessarily from Texas.


Top Grain
The grain split of a hide from which nothing has been removed except the hair and associated epidermis.


Wet Blue
Semi-tanned animal skins or hides.


Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved. United States Hide, Skin and Leather Association 
1150 Connecticut Avenue NW, 12th Floor - Washington, DC   
(202) 587-4250


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