Leather Grades – For Raw Hides

When raw hides are produced by meatpackers, they immediately grade them. This grade is used to determine the quality of the raw hide, and enables accurate sales to tanneries. The tanneries will ultimately tan the hides, processing the raw material into a finished leather.

As such, it’s important to know exactly the qualities of leather they are receiving. This ensures they’ll have what’s needed to consistently produce quality finished leathers for the production of leather goods.

When grading raw hides, the inspectors will look for issues including holes, deep cuts, scars, large abrasions, discolorations, machine damage (from the skinning machines), remaining hair, and grain inconsistencies.

It is important to keep in mind, too, that many large ranch operations brand their cattle to denote ownership. Branding involves permanently burning a unique pattern (usually letters or initials) into the skin of the animal. A metal brand in the form of the pattern is heated, then pressed into the animal to leave the pattern permanently burned into the hide. While common, the brand impact to the hide quality is also accounted for in the grading process.