Leather Terminology / Other Leather Terms


Definition of Break

Break in leather describes the delamination of the grain from the layers underneath. In simple terms, a break is the physical character leather portrays when its grain side is creased or folded back against itself.

The leather’s top grain is generally harder and contains more tightly organized fiber structures than the lower grains. The different grains also possess varying elasticities.

The effect is that the top grain will either keep up, bend with the layers beneath, or be forced outward since it’s denser and firmer. It normally ends up being forced outward, visually and structurally resulting in a break.

Every leather will break differently depending on its quality. A fine break indicates high-quality leather, while a coarse break implies that the leather is of poor quality.

fine break exhibited in a quality leather wallet

There are several factors that determine how leather breaks when it’s used to make products:

  • Tannage: During the tanning process, waxes, greases, or oils are conditioned and different materials added to produce the desired characteristics, such as breathability, age characteristics, and tensile strength. Generally, the greater the tanning agent, the better the break.
  • Thickness: Thicker leather has a greater potential of breaking than a thinner one.
  • Construction: If leather is pulled or stretched too tightly, a coarse break may result with regular use of the product.
  • Drying: Air drying after tanning yields a hide with a good break because the hide is allowed to shrink as it dries, enhancing its density.

Example of Break in a Sentence

"The fine break in her wallet tells a lot about its leather quality."

Related Terms for Break

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Read more