The potential to break into the market with new concepts using American alligator leather is limited and timely. There is a spirit of adventure working with the leather, knowing that every alligator design will be unique because every alligator skin is unique. The information provided is to assist you in selecting the right finished skins for your creations.
Alligator leather offers two main cuts of the skin, the belly and the hornback. Each cut is designed to maximize a certain attribute of the skin and needs to be taken into consideration when ordering. While each cut has traditional applications, designers are by no means limited to those uses. The amount you purchase of the finished alligator leather depends solely on the design.
All parts of the skin may be used in one design or you may choose certain portions to create a special effect. For example, the belly could be used for the back of a vest and the tail pieces could be used in the front. There are a variety of finishes available. The main finishes include classic, matte, bombé and garment. Some tanners are also producing water-resistant and anti-dust finish.
TILE PATTERNS: Each tile has its own unique square-like shape which makes each skin and product an original.
MEASUREMENTS: Approximately 60% of the skin is the man body part. The other 40% is the tail, legs and head. Alligators can range from 18 centimeters to 110 centimeters wide at the belly. In length, this could be 4 feet to 14 feet. Normally, smaller skins come from farm-raised alligators and the larger ones are from the wild. Weight per skin will vary with finish and tanner.
DURABILITY: The belly and the hornback have similar strength and abrasion resistance. Both are also very tear resistant, although the back is slightly stronger.
GRADES: The industry grades the raw alligator skins from 1 to 3 based on the number of scars and scrapes obtained during the life of the animal. A #1 skin has the fewest markings and a #3 has the most. Some designers feel these markings enhance the excitement of the leather and use it accordingly in their designs. Others prefer to create designs that do not have the markings. Normally, #1 skins are higher in price.
PRICING: The price of the finished skin is determined by measuring the widest part of its body. Each skin is sold at a price per centimeter of body width. Price per centimeter varies with each vendor and depends on the finish, grade and special requests. It is necessary to purchase the whole skin so it is more cost effective to plan designs using as many parts of the skin as possible.
The belly cut offers soft pliable skin and tiles.
The hornback cut is the back, raised portion of the skin. It provides a more rigid and dimensional leather.