View Full Version : Bonded leather, good bad or ugly I need opinions/experiences on it


burleymike
05-05-2010, 04:36 PM
The other day my parents came over and offered to buy us a new couch. We have needed a new one for a long time but everytime we think about it something expensive happens and it goes on the back burner.

I thought we found a great couch at a local furniture store but after researching it I discovered the salesman lied. It was 100% bonded leather not genuine like he said. For the price it should have been genuine.

I have found a lot of stuff online but most is bonded leather. We like the look of some of the Ashley lines but they are all "blended leather" I have not heard good things about the durability with kids and a dog.

Anybody got any opinions or experience with bonded leather? Is it durable with kids and dogs? I don't want to waste this opportunity on something that will not last 10 years.

Intel
05-05-2010, 04:40 PM
Believe that is what my roomie has downstairs.. It is fine for 3 "adults" (23-25) but it started ripping in rather odd spots.

Looks nice but I don't like the feel of it.

LoneGunman
05-05-2010, 05:08 PM
I think any leather is a bad choice with a dog. With three kids, two dogs and three cats I'm lucky to get 5 years out of any couch.

walrus
05-05-2010, 06:09 PM
I read the title as bondage leather:lol_hitti

burleymike
05-05-2010, 06:49 PM
When one of the salesmen said "bonded leather" my wife got this look on her face and said "what did you say again" then he explained what it was. I get the feeling it is the particle board of leather.

hcs1947
05-05-2010, 07:09 PM
In a previous life, I was a department store buyer and travelled to worldwide markets several times a year. I have visited bonded leather production facilities in the Orient several times. The production process is actually quite interesting; they take huge piles of leather scraps and put them into a shredder which reduces them to fibers, then they go into a vat of adhesive base which bonds the fibers together. That is rolled into a sheet, pressed with whatever pattern they have orders for, then dried and dyed. The dying process is basically like spray painting, it is a surface finish in most if not all cases. Then the material is cut into whatever thicknesses and patterns are required. The knives that do the cutting were amazing to me, that they could cut a horizontal sheet horizontally, i.e. splitting it into thinner layers. Anyway, because of the process it is made and the surface finish, it generally does not wear well because it is not as flexible, and the surface finish wears off easily. Consider cheap belts, the leather seats on a Miata, etc. I would not recommend it for furniture.

kartracer23
05-05-2010, 07:12 PM
Most leather - except for really high end stuff-is bonded. Whether it says so or not. I sell leather portfolios, bags, desk items, jackets, etc. Most people prefer the feel of bonded leather over marginal top-grain, mid-grain or other leather type. Top grain - unless it's processed really well - is pretty stiff.

All that said-there are different qualities of bonded leathers, too. Some has more filler than others, giving it more of a plastic feel. I've seen bonded leather that looks and feels more like 'real' leather than top-grain costing twice as much. Heck, some of the new vinyls are actually more leather-like than real leather! I was showing a passport case to a client a few weeks ago and without knowing the price, she assumed the vinyl one ($7) was the expensive one ($21) and the top grain cowhide was the cheap one.

Oh - Napa Leather? Pig.

hcs1947
05-05-2010, 09:19 PM
<Oh - Napa Leather? Pig.>

Actually napa leather is high quality full-grain goat or sheep skin, usually kid or lamb, unsplit and dyed rather than surface finished. It is noted for its softness and durability, and is used in high-end products for the most part. It can make luxurious upholstery but is expensive. Pigskin on the other hand, is cheaper, coarser, stiffer, not as nicely finished, although fairly durable, usually seen more in items like shoes, belts etc.

arizonaadam
05-05-2010, 09:46 PM
I only know bonded leather from the cheap day-to-day dress shoes I have. Leather scuffs. Bonded leather tears or almost sheds layers. I have avoided it for sofas. The leather couches I had were real leather seating surfaces and they wore incredibly well. Skip bonded if you can.

glntom
05-06-2010, 12:11 AM
I think any leather is a bad choice with a dog. With three kids, two dogs and three cats I'm lucky to get 5 years out of any couch.

I have to disagree, I would only have leather with dogs, just not thin cheap leather, you have to get full grain. We have a lot of dogs, and the couchs hold up fine.

burleymike
05-06-2010, 10:10 AM
I am disgusted with the our local furniture stores I have been to so far, all of them have tried to sell me something that they say is genuine leather. I go home and get more specs from the different manufacturer websites and so far all of them are bonded leather of some type. Either these salesmen are outright liars or they just don't know shit about what they are selling.

This really pisses me off, if I am paying a leather price that is what I should be getting. I found one at Costco that says it is leather match, top grain genuine on the seating surfaces and vinyl on the sides and back. That is fine the back will be against the wall and the end tables on the sides. Only problem it won't fit our room. This is as hard as car shopping. Yes I am an anal picky bastard who obsesses over quality. Thanks for the info guys this forum is invaluable.

Brass Tacks
01-03-2013, 04:16 PM
I am a former furniture repair technician and from my experience of 20+ years in the business, I would strongly discourage anyone from purchasing "bonded" or "blended" leather of any kind. The process is this: they take scraps of leather and grind it up like a food processor would then they add it to a mixture of polymers. This is then made into rolls of "leather" fabric and put through an embossing machine like vinyl. You get a neutral color of "leather" that is then painted, not dyed, any color they need. It generally will start flaking in areas then it will start ripping apart along the creases. I refuse to even take people's money to repair their furniture due to the nature of this product. Most good furniture is only made with real leather where your body touches it. Really good quality is leather all around and even on the backsides. Expect to pay a good price for this "reconstituted Leather", and an even higher price for real leather. Hope this helps.

5lima30
01-03-2013, 07:55 PM
I have to disagree, I would only have leather with dogs, just not thin cheap leather, you have to get full grain. We have a lot of dogs, and the couchs hold up fine.

+1 We have found that quality leather actually holds up better with dogs. My Boston Terrier is sound asleep on our leather couch as I write this:D

fotoflojoe
01-04-2013, 09:58 AM
+1 We have found that quality leather actually holds up better with dogs. My Boston Terrier is sound asleep on our leather couch as I write this:D

+2, We have two 160+ pound Mastiffs. Quality leather is the ONLY upholstery material that holds up.

philip_g
01-04-2013, 10:14 AM
1) leather holds up well with dogs for us too
2) it's a free couch, beggars, choosers, etc.

SlappyWhite
01-04-2013, 10:14 AM
I have a leather club chair (Corbusier style) at home where the touched/wear surfaces (seat back and arms) are leather and the non touched/wear surfaces (outsides) are bonded leather. After four years of daily use (few hours a day) the wear/leather surfaces are in great shape, the sides (bonded parts) have all kinds of cracks and flaking, specially where they get flexed.

We have two other chairs that are the same make and model but are 10 years old, they are full leather even the sides and have no issues other than scratches from our cats. (we bought two originally and then went back for a third chair ~six years later when we had more space, they obviously changed the material in between purchases).

Personally if it going to see any real use I would stay away from bonded. If it was a chair or couch that I only wanted to get a couple years out of or was in a room almost never used I might consider it.

dawgee
01-04-2013, 10:19 AM
I have a bonded leather couch, it hasnt held up well with my springer and cocker lazing on it . The seating areas are flaking and we now cover it because it looks crappy

blacksporty
01-04-2013, 12:34 PM
I have to disagree, I would only have leather with dogs, just not thin cheap leather, you have to get full grain. We have a lot of dogs, and the couchs hold up fine.

I am right there with you, the only couch I will get with dogs and kids is leather, fabric just collects hair, smell and all the stuff the kids spill.

To the OP, bonded leather sucks, we bought a couch and 2 easy chairs on the cheap because we needed them, they lasted 3 years before the the finish of the material started to flake off. This time we went with real leather.

superspec
01-04-2013, 01:06 PM
growing up in the furniture business and my step dad still is in it stay away from ashley furniture. it is some of the lowest quality stuff out there next to peir 1 imports and the like.

toomany
01-04-2013, 01:36 PM
I'm going to go against the grain here, we've got a bonded leather couch. It's held up just fine. We've also got four huskies and an 8 year old girl. For the most part the dogs know to stay off of it (they have their own beds/kennels). This is our main sitting area in the living room and gets used daily. We've had it for just over two years and it looks just as good as the day it came home. This thing has had its fair share of spills too. Everything from nail polish to nacho cheese and glitter paint (which after that no glitter is allowed in the house). Spills scrub right off with no damage to the surface, color or texture. The only real problem had been with a cat we used to have. He dug his claws into it and poked it up pretty good. A call to the manufacturer and we had a new seat cover on it's way free of charge. I can't remember who made it, but it came from Menards (of all places). Got it through a friend who works there, was in the scratch and dent area, was missing the legs...easy fix. Think we were out the door for less than $150. Deep down I know it's a cheap couch, but it's very comfortable and is holding up great. When we got it, we were expecting to get maybe a year out of it. But at the time...it was a good deal and we needed a couch. YMMV.

pop pop
01-04-2013, 01:57 PM
Anyone know where to buy a full cover top grain leather furniture? All I can find is leather seating surfaces/arms only.

Kim Wagner
01-04-2013, 03:09 PM
My uncle told us that he buys a lot of goatskin leather. It is real leather. He puts it on guns for people I think. It is very sturdy.

mbatarga
01-04-2013, 03:31 PM
Leather Creations retail locations manufactures their own furniture - it's full grain. They aren't cheap though.

Yemhabibah
01-26-2013, 09:31 PM
Anyone know where to buy a full cover top grain leather furniture? All I can find is leather seating surfaces/arms only.
Slumberland Furniture sells Futura Leather Brand which is Top Grain on the touch surfaces and split grain on the sides and back, all 100% real leather and a very nice quality. As far as real leather goes I've seen some cheap stuff that will scratch with just a flick of the finger nail, and will loose the color very fast, so don't assume that real leather is always quality leather. As far as bonded/blended leather goes - there are people who want the look of leather but simply can't afford it. Adding the sprayed leather scrap backing will make a polyvinyl fabric stronger then it is without the sprayed backing. Personally, I'd only buy the real thing and make sure it's top grain.

yellowbox
01-26-2013, 10:03 PM
go with real leather only ....a few years down the road you will still be getting your moneys worth out of it .....bonded ....will not last

kzthunder
01-26-2013, 10:04 PM
Loved the Natuzzi leather furniture we used to have.

Its pricey but the most comfortable furniture we ever had.

http://www.natuzzieditions.com/