Hides: Skins from large animals

Sides: Half hides where the hid is cut down the backbone

Skins: from smaller animals

Kips: Skins from medium-sized bovine animals

Hides and skins differ in their structure, depending on where and how they were raised/farmed, season of year, age of animal, sex, and breed. Each hid is unique, as the skins of no two animals are exactly the same. Animals with less hair or wool produce tougher, stronger-grained skins/hides.

Leather map: the diagram above shows the different sections and quality variations of a skin, with 1 being the best quality area

Younger animals give thinner, smaller skins and finer, smoother-grained structures. This is because they are less likely to have been exposed to skin damage caused by sore, insect bites, mites and scratches. Every mark made on the skin of an animal from barbed wire, insect bites, ticks, brand marks or diseases leave a trace on the actual leather. This impacts on the quality and type of processing the skin/hid needs and ultimately affects the price.

Leather can be obtained from many sources, which are detailed in this section. Skins and hides of different animals have a variety of characteristics and properties, and their leathers are suitable for many different bags.