Leather Grading Procedures – Crocodile Skin
Crocodile skins will be graded to the following requirements and are classified as:
- Grade #1
- Grade #2
- Grade #3
Crocodile Skin Quality Requirements
Each grade will be based upon the following in order of priority:
- Scars, scratches, scale slip, subcutaneous blemishes, cuts and holes.
- Condition or preservation of the skin
- Shape of skin
- Proficiency of skinning and fleshing.
Cuts, Hole, Scars, and Scratches
Cuts or holes to be classified in one of these two categories:
- Category 1, a cut or hole diameter of up to 10 mm. Width and Length 5 mm to 20 mm.
- Category 2, a cut or hole diameter of up to 20 mm. Width and Length 5 mm to 40 mm.
Scars are damage made to the crocodile skin prior to harvest that have had time to heal, but the cut, hole, or scratch have left permanent damage to the skin.
Scratches are damaged area present on the crocodile skin at the time of harvest. This is where a scale is broken. Scratches form from crocodiles crawling over sharp abrasive edges such as sago palm or other hard rough and sharp surfaces that break or damage scales deep enough to leave permanent damage to the finished skin.
Subcutaneous blemishes are caused by parasitic worms and bacteria. These worms bore into the belly scales and feed on the sub-scale dermis. Brown spot is a bacterium that eats at the dermis and causes severe scale erosion.
Scale slip is when a scale is loosen or detached from the skin. This is usually caused by bad preservation
Crocodile Skin Grading Symbols
For grading sheet purposes symbolism will be used as follows:
- Cuts = C
- Holes = H
- Scars = S
- Scratches = R
- Scale Slip = SP
- Quadrants = Q1 – Q4
- Skin Preservation = (RW), (ST), (LT)
- Buttons = B
- Feet = F1 – F4
Crocodile Skin Size
The size of the skin will be measured from the third scute behind the forearm (see attachment #1). This is a measurement to be used after the hornback has been removed. At least do not include the four rows of the hornback in the measurement.
Fleshing, Skinning, and Shape
The skinning process is a critical process therefore the harvester must be careful to not loose value of the skin. There is a standard method of skinning that produces the industry standard shape that is required by Rojé Group. Below is an image of is a picture of a crocodile skin with the cut pattern splitting the hornback down the center.
Fleshing is the removal of unwanted fat and muscle from the skin. Extra fat and muscle left attached to the skin will hold moisture and cause rot and loss of value.
Please tell the skinners to be careful in the fleshing process!
Buyer must smell the skin to detect putrid rot from moisture associated with excess muscle being left on the skin.
The skin is divided into two major areas of concern:
- Pattern Area, symbolized as (PA)
- Outside the Pattern area symbolized as (OP)
The Pattern Area is divided into the following three parts in order of importance with the Belly area having four (4) Quadrants:
- Head (A1)
- Belly (A2) – Belly Quadrants Q1 – Q4
- Tail (A3)
First Grade Croc Skins (Grade # 1)
The skin should be short-termed preserved, is should not be hard and dry, and it should completely fleshed (no flesh attached to the skin). It should be full sized (30cm to 51cm, for Saltwater, 35cm to 51cm for freshwater). It should have four legs and four rows of hard horns or scutes. It should not have any cut(s) or hole(s) (C or H) in the Pattern area (PA) or Button (B) areas.
Grade #1 skins are allowed to have a combination of up to two cuts or holes, rated as Category 1, Outside the Pattern Area (E1- E4). No subcutaneous damage is allowed for grade #1.
Second Grade Croc Skins (Grade # 2)
The skin should be short-termed preserved, is should not be hard and dry, and it should completely fleshed (no flesh attached to the skin). It should be full sized (30cm to 51cm, for Saltwater, 35cm to 51cm for freshwater).
Grade # 2 is allowed:
- (a) 1 cut or hole (Category 1) on belly (Q1 to Q4) but A1 and A3 with no damage.
- (b) 1 cut and 1 hole (Category 1) on A1 and A3 but does not have any belly damage.
- (c) Scale lifting or scale slip of 5 to 6 pieces in any localized spot within pattern area.
- (d) More than 1/2 of tail is present.
- (e) 1 leg missing
- (f) 1 or 2 buttons within the pattern area
- (g) Subcutaneous damage is allow in only areas outside of belly (Q1 to Q4) and then only in no more than two sections and no more than 20% of the section where present.
Note: A skin which has any two (2) of the conditions (a), (b) or (f) will make it a Grade #3
Third Grade Croc Skins (Grade # 3)
The definition for Grade #2 is applied as a rule but a skin which has the following condition(s) will be graded as Grade (3).
- (a) 1 cut or hole (Category 1) within the pattern area
- (b) 1 cut or hole (Category 2) on belly (Q1- Q4)
- (c) 1 each cut or hole (Category 2) on head and tail
- (d) Scale lifting or scale slip of less than 1/5 of the total skin area
- (e) 2 or more legs missing
- (f) Less than 3/4 of tail present
- (g) 10 or less buttons within pattern area
- (h) Subcutaneous damage in one belly quadrant, in no more than two other sections outside of the belly area with no more than 20% of the section where present.
Note: A skin which has any two (2) of conditions with the exception of condition (d) will make it a Grade #4. Raw unsalted skins that would otherwise be a Grade #1
A cull is any skin not allowed as Grade #3 and or which is not cured and not well-preserved (meaning having ammonia smell and or spongy appearance in a state of decay) shall be rejected. Any skins exhibiting the conditions mentioned below will be cause for rejection.
- Belly Skins that are under 30 cm for saltwater and 35cm for freshwater.
- Skins with sago palm marks, severe scale slip and those skins that are too dry.
- Skins which have any one of the following conditions or have any combination of any of the conditions.
- 4. Condition (b), (c) and (d) of Grade #3