When the hides arrive, there is no mistaking that they have come from cattle. There is still hair on the so-called grain side, just as there is fat and flesh residue on the flesh side. This is why the hides are immediately immersed in enormous vats, which are like huge washing machines. In the vats, they are washed, steeped and depilated. That takes at least a day, sometimes even longer. After this process, the hides are what we call ‘naked’. After all, they are now completely hairless. Now a separate de-fleshing machine is used to completely remove any remaining flesh and fat.
After the cleaning process, the hides are still as thick as they were when the animal was slaughtered. What’s more, they don’t have the same thickness everywhere. And that is an important requirement if you want to create beautiful shapes with leather. To solve this problem, the hide is sliced once or twice horizontally with great precision, leaving three layers: the top, middle and bottom layers. This process is called ‘splitting’. We use only the top layer – called the ‘grain layer’ – for our furniture. That is because this ‘upper hide’ is leather of the highest quality. The other layers are often used for other purposes, such as for technical leather or as lining.