Berkline's "BONDED LEATHER". Felt it, seen it, know anything about it good or bad???? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 81 Old 03-02-2009, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Over the weekend I finally decided on a seat to go with and in my many hours of searching and reading I kept coming across sites that are offering certain Berkline's (including the 13175s that I'm after) in "New Bonded Leather Option". It seems that everyone that offering these bonded ones have a ton instock and can ship within 24hrs and the ones listing "leather match" are weeks and weeks of waiting? Is that a sign within itself? Or could that be just b/c Berkline wants to get the "bonded" ones out there are dealers were able to get them at great deals being new?

I have no experience with this bonded leather and would greatly appreciate any feedback good or bad about the one Berkline is using. I'm sure there are many many furniture manufactures using this newer bonded leather option and I'm sure there are different quality levels of it as well, so I am really looking for those of you have ones from Berkline to get a real apples to apples opinion and details!

Would like to hear anything you can offer up on them! Thanks
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post #2 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 04:43 AM
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Bonded leather is like using plywood for your fine wood finish.
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post #3 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 08:38 AM
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William,

Have you actually seen and tried the last generation of bonded leather that the Berkline offers now?

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post #4 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post

Bonded leather is like using plywood for your fine wood finish.

Hmm, I have to admit, I have seen some very fine finished ply in my day.. Maybe not so bad.
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post #5 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 10:40 AM
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I have the 12003 in bonded brown. It has less visible grain than the regular leather. I had berkline send me a swatch before I bought that was freakin' butter soft. The actual chair was not quite as nice, but still very nice. I put a little leather conditioner on and it made a big difference (I thought so. my wife well...).

The stuff does seem to be durable. I've unleashed the wrath of my 2 and 4 year old on them and they haven't put a mark on it (yet )

My local Costco was selling a massage recliner/chair in bonded leather (it says bonded right on the sign) and it seemed to be the exact same stuff. That might be a way to check it out yourself.

Overall, I'd say its equivalent in feel to the lower grade leather but cheaper and probably more durable. If you are after the best I'd go for the high grade leather.

K
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post #6 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 11:30 AM
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I just bought some 12006s in Bonded Brown Leather and I do like the feel of it as well. Very soft and buttery feeling, as the other guy mentioned. It seems durable, but these are too new to me for me to really tell.

It does make "fart" like sounds when you are reclining up and down though.

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post #7 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 12:16 PM
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Old,

Many Berkline recliners that come in leather/vinyl combo or bonded leather/vinyl combo will produce a squeaking sound. It all depends how close the seating cushion is to the armrest. Try not to push the chairs together too close. Also some people use baby powder to eliminate the noise. You can also try finding a product from Stain Safe called Leather Revitalizer.

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post #8 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 12:27 PM
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My chairs farted and I used the baby powder in the crease where the cushions and armrests meet. Just put a little on your hand and reach in there and spread it around. Problem solved.
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post #9 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for the tip guys. Will try it out
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post #10 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 01:02 PM
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Bonded leather (as it was explained to me) is made in a similar fashion as vinyl with some leather thrown in the mix- literally. It's made out of an emulsion of glues and whatever stuff it takes to make up the rolls of the product, i.e. bonded leather.

I just received my Berks in January and i almost went with the bonded stuff but ended up going with #3 grade leather insted- now that's buttery smooth witn none off that "fart" sound going on unless (of course) it's the real thing
To save some money I used the leather match option which imho is OK for a dimly lit HT but probably not too good for a great room or living room where there is a bunch more light. I give away is that leather usually is no wider than 24", so you have to seam it more often which drives the cost up.

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post #11 of 81 Old 03-03-2009, 02:25 PM
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I don't think the farting is due to the bonded leather. I have grade 4 leather with vinyl match and they fart.
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post #12 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 03:53 AM
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From Furniture Today

"Bonded technology — a leather-look polyurethane face on a fabric core made up of leather pieces joined with adhesive — is regarded by some as an affordable alternative to genuine hides. While it has gained some converts, rawhide diehards continue to view it as an imposter."

"Ashley's bonded brand UltraBlend, containing 17% leather, is still selling, but said President Kerry Lebensburger, “We are noticing more suppliers switching to leather match as a way to combat higher leather costs and the rush of promotions on blended products. What has been a staple of motion furniture may be coming back to stationary.”

I recently purchased a leather loveseat, sofa and chair and had a darned difficult time deciphering the various qualities of leather, bycast leather (leather splits coated with polyurethane), and bonded leather. In Australia and Great Britain it is illegal to call bycast leather "leather" as it is allowed here. And bycast leather is a step up in terms of leather content than Bonded leather.

I have 8 Berkline 090s that are leather match and I think they are great. I bought them at 2 different times on Craigslist and paid just $150 per chair and they are in great condition. I was even able to find 2 separate matching sets of 4 in a deep burgundy leather match. If you are looking to save money, I think Craigslist is the way to go, you just have to be patient.

I think if Durahide or some kind of vinyl product is suitable for you, then bonded leather would be fine. However, I wouldn't make the mistake of thinking you are getting leather chairs. From my reading, the durability of bonded leather could be a concern and they haven't been around long to know for sure.

My opinion, for what its worth. You get what you pay for.

Bob
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post #13 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 04:26 AM
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All those articles, unless you are quoting something different were wrote a while back. We are talking about the second generation of the bonded leather here which is quite different from the first one that came amount a couple of years ago...

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post #14 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 07:27 AM
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A couple of years ago, one manufacturer went on a smear campaign against Bonded Leather because they did not use it as one of their covers and at least one of their competitors did. Now that they have seen the positives and changed their minds and started to us it, they have ended their campaign against it. As Roman has said, most of the negative things you will find were from a few years back and most likely correlate to this campaign. Take a look at the latest swatch(es) if you get a chance. I think you will be impressed. Of the swatches and seats I have seen covered in it I have been very impressed.

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post #15 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post

Bonded leather is like using plywood for your fine wood finish.

You are right, no matter what anyone says about "new and improved" bonded leather, bonded leather is still scraps of leather put in an emulsion and glued together to make a roll of "bonded" leather. Over time with use the emulsion breaks down and cracks, chips, flakes, rips and tears because it is not one piece of leather but scraps of leather glued together.

People on AVS know what "bonded leather" is if they hare ever had a "genuine" leather belt that has literally fallen to pieces after it has been used for a while. Regarding durability and longevity there is no comparison when "bonded" leather is compared to actual leather. I have real leather belts that have lasted well over 15 years while bonded leather lasted a year maybe two if your lucky before they fall apart.

Like a belt, a theater seat gets a tremendous amount of use and wear and tear; hence you are always better off with leather over bonded leather. That is not an opinion, that is a fact.
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post #16 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 07:48 AM
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Quote:


That is not an opinion, that is a fact.

Fact based on what? The bonded leather has not been around that long to actually make statements like that. You maybe 100% right, and the leather can serve longer (although I had a top grain leather loveseat where the leather cracked and got really ugly in a couple of years, and it was not abused at all). On the other hand I tried really hard to scratch the bonded leather, and I could not do it. It would not get damaged, and I used my key while doing it.

Basically, only time will tell...

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post #17 of 81 Old 03-04-2009, 12:27 PM
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Not very old.

Does a small amount of ground up leather added make the product "leather"? I think not.

Bob
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post #18 of 81 Old 06-05-2009, 09:47 AM
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Now that the "new" bonded leather has been out for a few months, anyone have any problems to report.

This stuff feels good, looks pretty good and is cheaper. I'm really leaning towards getting it.
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post #19 of 81 Old 06-05-2009, 06:52 PM
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i wouldn't consider it leather either. i think that was thrown in there as a selling point. but still, it is a nice material. i think your MAIN focus should be on fit and ergonomics.

it can't stand up to cat claws. i have the evidence. luckily its very minor. i don't know how well real leather would stand up. i doubt any better. cat claws can scratch steel. but they can't scratch granite.

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post #20 of 81 Old 06-06-2009, 08:32 PM
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I recently purchased 5 Berkline 13175's with bonded leather. My wife and I really like the feel of the bonded leather. Guests have commented on how much they like the comfort of the seats and in particular the leather. I have no idea how well they will hold up but with the cost savings I could not pass them up. So far the only "test" has been my 80 lb. dog jumping up on them and they passed so far. My three year old has had a few minor spills that have wiped right off but nothing major yet. This is without any conditioner on them yet. Still working on getting some conditioner. Real leather does not always mean durability either. My wife has a Lincoln Towncar with "upgraded leather" that has not held up as well as I would have liked. I'll admit that she is hard on things and it did not get the TLC it deserved but I would have still liked it to have held up better. So only time will tell. One thing for sure as has been mentioned the newer bonded leather is much better for comfort than the "faux leather" products of the past. I also purchased a five year warranty that covers everything for about $250 for the five chairs.
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post #21 of 81 Old 06-07-2009, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsh View Post

On the other hand I tried really hard to scratch the bonded leather, and I could not do it. It would not get damaged, and I used my key while doing it.


Roman. before i bought my chairs from you. i looked at the k-mart chairs.
i tried to damage the vinyl/whatever it is(on the underside). using my key, i had to push on it a pretty lot to make a mark.


btw. i had forgot what conditioner you said to use. what was it ? any alternatives ? tia

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post #22 of 81 Old 06-07-2009, 04:20 PM
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I have never heard of bonded leather, but if it is anything like bicast then I would be wary of long term durability. I would say that bicast represents about twenty percent of my repair calls. Some of these bicast leathers might be bonded, as it is difficult to tell what is what sometimes. Not sure how long this new bonded leather has been out, so it may be better in the durability department.

Roman,
Take a swatch of this bonded leather over to Jeff at Refinish Coatings and see what he has to say. I know he sells coatings to some manufacturers in China, but I have never heard him mention it being used with a bonded leather. At the very least, your trip should give you a good knowledge of leather. Tell him Eric with Quality Leather sent you.

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post #23 of 81 Old 06-07-2009, 05:24 PM
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Eric,

The new bonded leather that I personally liked (great product for the money) was shown last fall at the Market in NC, so it is quite new. Again, while no one knows for sure how well it will ware, I tried to scratch it really hard, and I could not leave a mark on it. Some of the leathers are quite more sensible to abuse like that.

Thanks for the link. When I have a chance I will definitely stop by Jeff's place and see what he has to say.

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post #24 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 07:05 AM
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I have 3 bonded leather Berks and they seem great. They are soft, they feel and look great. I may not have bought them for my living room, but they are perfect for the theater.

Let's face it, real, high quality leather is fantastic if you can afford it. For us, and for the room, the bonded leather was a good alternative.

Bud

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post #25 of 81 Old 06-12-2009, 06:52 AM
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I purchased 2 bonded leather Berkline 12003's from Roman a few months back, in the black bonded leather.

Chairs haven't gotten a ton of use yet, but so far, no problems to report whatsoever. I would say though that I am pretty particular with my HT equipment and furniture, and I definitely act cautiously around them. But I see no reason why they won't hold up long term.

And the bonded leather is definitely soft and smooth, and very comfortable.
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post #26 of 81 Old 06-13-2009, 08:08 AM
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When I got quotes from different online vendors for some Berk 12000's there wasn't a price difference between bonded leather and leather/vinyl match. For the same money I would rather have leather.
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post #27 of 81 Old 06-13-2009, 08:27 AM
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There is definitely price difference between bonded leather/vinyl combo and leather/vinyl combo...

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post #28 of 81 Old 06-13-2009, 08:48 AM
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If that's the case then the vendors that quoted me on the leather/vinyl must have discounted the price more than the on the bonded/vinyl quote I got.
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post #29 of 81 Old 06-13-2009, 08:51 AM
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or those who quoted bonded leather/vinyl combo discounted less

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post #30 of 81 Old 06-14-2009, 11:03 AM
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bud and heeb,
That is great, but I would still be concerned about long term durability. If they don't get much use, then it shouldn't be an issue in the short to medium term. That being said, I have had multiple customers tell me that there couch, etc. is only a year old and is starting to fall apart. To be quite honest, I wouldn't want to be the guinea pig on this.

For this type of leather or any finished leather, the best thing you can do for them is keep them clean. Use a clean, wet rag to wipe the leather down. Kneed the leather with the rag if you have to. Any stains can be usually cleaned in this manner. If it is a difficult area, then use a little dishwashing liquid. Mix it in a bottle of about 3% dl and the rest water.

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