Definition of Hide

Hide is the skin of animals that’s usually processed to create a material suitable for leatherworking. The processed hide is what is known as leather.

The hides used for leather production come from a wide range of animals including cows, pigs, goats, and sheep.

The process of preparing a hide for leather production involves several steps:

  1. Any leftover flesh and fat from the animal's skin is removed using a fleshing knife or a special machine.
  2. The hide is thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining debris or dirt. This is done using water and a mild detergent or degreaser.
  3. The hide is then soaked in water to make it more pliable and easier to work with during the tanning process.
  4. Depending on the type of animal hide being used, the hair may need to be removed using a lime solution to break down the hair fibers and allow their easy removal.
  5. The hide is treated with compounds to preserve it and prevent it from decaying. The types of treatment include either vegetable tanning, oil tanning or chrome tanning.
  6. After the tanning process is complete, the hide is dried using specialized machines or by hanging it in a temperature-controlled environment.
  7. It’s then finished in a variety of ways to give it the desired appearance and texture. This involves sanding, buffing, or adding a surface coating.

The quality of a hide varies depending on a variety of factors such as where the animal came from, how it was raised, and how it was processed.

Our sources of hide include steer, cow, bison and water buffalo. The American Bench Craft Journeyman’s Leather Belt is a classic example of water buffalo hide in action. It’s made of 10 oz oil-tanned water buffalo hide which makes it extremely resistant to stretching or warping.  

Hides are typically sold in a range of sizes and shapes, depending on the type of animal they came from and how they were processed.

The table below categorizes different hides used in leather production:

Animal Characteristics Common Uses
Cowhide Durable, strong, and has a tight grain pattern Belts, bags, wallets, holsters
Pigskin Soft, supple, and has a natural stretch Gloves, garments, small leather goods
Goatskin Smooth, lightweight, and flexible Gloves, footwear, garments, bookbinding
Sheepskin Soft, fine-grained, and provides good insulation Jackets, footwear, rugs, accessories
Buffalo hide Thick, rugged, and has a distinctive grain pattern Belts, bags, wallets, footwear
Exotic hides Varies depending on the animal (e.g., alligator, ostrich) High-end accessories, luxury goods

Example of Hide in a sentence

“The tanner carefully removed hair from the hide before tanning it.”


Animal skin.

Related terms for Hide