Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Fur and Leather

fur-pdFur vs Leather

People have known about fur and leather for many years already. Both materials have been extensively used in various clothing lines and apparels.

To begin with, leather is a strong material that is very flexible. It is made from the ‘decomposed’ animal skin or rawhide using either heavy or cottage industries. Under some tanning processes, raw hides and skins are transformed into several forms of leather. First, vegetable-tanned leather makes use of tannin. This is a plant astringent that shrinks animal proteins. Because of its properties, vegetable-tanned leather is perfect for leather carvings and even stamping. Chrome-tanned leather is another form that makes use of chromium as the tanning agent. It has a more pliable characteristic than vegetable-tanned leathers. The white leather, synthetic-tanned leather is the third form of leather. Other forms are the aldehyde-tanned leather, alum-tawed, and the rawhide, which is made by simply scraping and stretching the skin until it dries out.

Some of the most commonly used skins for leather making are those coming from the cattle. Nevertheless, other skins like those from lambs are also used to create softer variations. For exotic purpose, other skins like those belonging to crocodile and snakes have been extensively used in the past, which is nowadays labeled negatively.

Leather making has been criticized due to its environmental impact. The tanning process alone makes use of tanning chemicals that are considered to be pollutants. The dehairing and deliming processes can also contribute to air pollution as well. Lastly, the abusive use of livestock to harbor the skin is also to be considered.

On the contrary, fur is another industry of apparels or clothing wares. The term itself is synonymous to the word hair but this does not refer to human hair of course. Fur is usually obtained from mammalian animals having wide hair distributions throughout their bodies. The coat, made of pure animal hair, is also referred as fur.

Fur is basically obtained from two major layers namely the ground hair (down hair or underfur) and guard hair. Ground hair, as the name implies, is the hair located at the bottommost level. This hair type is shorter and denser than those at the top. The top, most visible, layer of hair is the guard hair.

The most common sources of fur are the following: rabbits, dogs, cats, and possums among many others. The process of obtaining the actual hair from an unprocessed animal skin includes getting the animal’s pelts where the hair still remains. After which, some degreasing and soaking chemical agents are added, as well as similar tanning substances used for leather making.

Lastly, like the use of endangered crocodile or animal species to make leather the procurement of fur from animals has contributed to an even greater set of controversies and criticisms.

1. Fur makes use of the animals’ hair whereas leather makes use of the skin.

2. Procuring the skin of the animal for leather making almost always kills the animal whereas obtaining fur can still preserve the life of the animal when only the hair is removed.

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