Leather Terminology / Other Leather Terms


Definition of Milling

Milling refers to a mechanical process of softening leather.

After tanning, leather becomes firm since the fibers stick closely together as the leather dries.

Failure to include an additional mechanical force may leave the finished leather hard and rigid, eventually interfering with its texture, performance, and appearance.

That’s why tanned leather must be physically conditioned before making the finished leather product.

To achieve this, the leather is first staked to increase its pliability and softness. It’s then tumbled in dry, high-rotating drums fitted with wood dowels with atomized moisture injected into the tumbler.

The mechanical shaking and environmental conditions cause the leather fibers to separate, and the distribution of moisture (lubricants) introduced in the wet stages of milling further softens the treated hides and skins.

Any desired level of softness can be obtained by carefully controlling the barrels’ speed, time, and humidity as it rotates.

Example of Milling in a Sentence

"Although they stopped milling leather a few years ago, the milling drums are stored in the building."

Synonyms: tumbling

Related Terms for Milling

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