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Leather Types


Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal skins. Tanning animal skins into leather is a  process which alters the protein structure of the animal’s skin. Tanning can be performed by several different methods. At The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post you will find several different leather types to choose from.


Brain tanning a hide is a traditional way of tanning a animal hide. Brain tanning hides is very laborbrain tan leather types intensive. This process uses an emulsified solution of animal brain and water to help soften the hide. The hides are then smoked lightly to cure them. Braintanned leather is extremely soft and is the best material to use for beadwork , quillwork and more. Braintanned leather is strong, soft, durable, and warm. Braintanned Leather allows your skin to breath and stretches with the movement of your body. This makes it the best leather for making clothing.

Top Grain Leather

top grain leather types
Top Grain Leather

Most of the leather types used today is commercially tanned leather.  Commercial tanning preserves hides and skins through a chemical process. After being commercially tanned, the hides will have smooth side and a suede side.

Top Grain Leather refers to the outer side of a hide that contains the epidermis or skin layer. Top Grain hides have not been sanded, buffed or snuffed in order to remove any imperfections on the surface of the hide. Only the hair has been removed from the epidermis. The grain remains in its natural state which allows the best fiber strength, resulting in greater durability. The natural Full-Grain surface wears better than other leather.

Top Grain Deerskin Leather Deer hides at The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post are available in two grades. #1 Deerskin has very few imperfections and works well for making clothing.  #2 Deerskin may have a few holes or imperfections and works well for moccasins or craft projects.

At The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post you will find Top Grain Leather in Deer Hides, Elk Hides and Buffalo Hides.   These hides are available in several several shades and are sold by the hide.

Leather Splits

Leather SplitsLEATHER types SPLITS are sueded, or “fuzzy”, on both sides and come in smaller sizes (square footage).  Leather Splits are created by processing commercially tanned Top Grain Leather through a machine that ‘splits’ the suede side of the leather from the smooth full-grain side. This ‘split’ can be further split if it is thick enough.  Suede Leather Splits are less expensive because more than one piece of suede can be split from a single of hide, whereas only one piece of Top Grain Leather can be made from a hide. The Top Grain Leather is smooth and is used to make clothing, shoes, furniture, etc.  The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post sells Leather Splits from Deer, Elk and Buffalo.  Sizes range from 1 sq ft to 8 sq ft. Leather Splits are perfect for covering fans, making pouches, cutting leather lace, and many other craft projects.


rawhide parfleche leather types
Parfleche made from Rawhide

Rawhide is a hide or animal skin that has not been tanned.

Rawhide has many uses. Buffalo Rawhide is used by the Plains tribes to make containers to store food and clothing in called parfleches.

Rawhide is commonly used to make drums of all sizes.  Rawhide is also used to make moccasin soles, roach spreaders and to line the insides of knife sheaths. At The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post you will find Rawhide from Cow, Horse and Deer that can be purchased by the square foot or by the hide.

Strap Leather

Strap leatherstrap leather types (Belt Leather) is made from heavy cowhide. It is useful for a variety of projects including belts, guitar or banjo straps, breastplate spacers, moccasin soles and shoulder straps.  At The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post, Strap Leather is available in four colors. Each color varies in weight & thickness.