Any experience with Non PG Leather sparking?

So I bought this leather on amazon because it said several times it was 100% legit cowhide leather. I wanted to play around with leather and loved the dye options. I’ll place the link below.

Leather Link

I decided to use the thick PG leather settings because it gave me a good place to start, or make adjustments. The engrave is beautiful, just like pg leather BUT when it was engraving it was sparking. Made the noise and everything. Sparks didn’t go beyond the engrave and I didn’t feel like it was going damage to print head. Does anyone have the knowledge or experience to explain why it was sparking? I’m just curious.

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I’ve never seen anything spark. Flare ups are normal depending on the material. I have some slate that if you laser it really well black goo bubbles up out of it. Also, incredibly bright flame.

My uneducated guess would be something in the dye. A video would be fun. Not because I could tell you more, just because I want to see sparking.


Alright I’ll try to get a video uploaded here today. It’s not overly impressive but if you can even hear the crackling then it will be cool and totally worth your time.

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Looking forward to your video to be sure, but when I’m engraving rubber sheets for ink stamp pads it kind of looks like it’s sparking, but really it’s just little flaring balls of burning rubber getting blown by the internal fan. Looks remarkably like leaping sparks.

Maybe something similar here. Maybe it’s just flaming loose bits blowing around?


Leather Engrave Video

Okay so here’s what I got. You can actually here the sound it makes if you focus on the head going back and forth. The brightness is the “sparking” for lack of a better word. It wouldn’t call it flame exactly. You can see a flame occasionally, but a majority of it is just brightness and this crackle sound when it passes over. Very interesting.


Sadly, I have a lot of unlasered leather I keep meaning to get to, so my familiarity is fleeting with dead skin. That said, your “sparking” is perfectly normal on other materials. I don’t have speakers, or headphones on this computer, but will listen to it later if I remember.

First…thats some expensive leather. Way overpriced.

The leather listed on that link has added dye (for color) and evidently some added oil (description states ''certain waterproof '). It appears to me to be latigo which is a combination tanning process combining vegtanning and chrome tanning.

I just engraved some latigo cowhide yesterday and there were a few sparking flickers bbut it was fine.


Sorry, all I heard was the fan.

I work with lots of various leathers–and never the PG. And the “thick” for PG is actually rather thin, and looks like you have about 10-12 oz thick leather, which is WAYYYYYYY thicker than the PG thickness setting.

Get calipers or a snap gage and always measure the thickness of your material.

What you have looks to have a very heavy coating on it, and that’s what is causing the “sparking”, as well as improper height setting. Also be sure to avoid chrome tanned, but this likely was veg tanned, but with gobs of crap on the top surface…

I recommended checking Etsy or eBay for leather suppliers if you have to order via the internet, and don’t have a leather store nearby & many sells scraps… For example the site has nice leathers and you can buy by the panel–per the sq ft it’s expensive, but it’s cheap if you’re not ready to buy an entire side (1/2 the cow) yet! (avoid the harness leathers though for the GF–they are “stuffed” and more oils and such in them not good under the laser).

And read up on thickness of leather vs. weight (leather is sold by the ounce, e.g. 5 oz, and that translates into a thickness). Also “temper”… and if natural or dyed, and any type of additional finishing, as all will affect the results when you run under the GF.


The middle-of-the-page description says it’s chrome tanned. […although later there’s a confusing chart that suggests that it could be veg tanned.]

I’d just avoid this seller in the future if they can’t properly/clearly describe the leather. There are a lot of good leather sellers out there that sell by the piece, as well as by the hide… For veg tanned, undyed “tooling” leather is pretty stuffed with oils–good for tooling, maybe not so much for lasering. But I like “sole bend”–yup, what goes on the bottom of shoes–for some things I make.

But using Chrome Tanned (as well as weird coatings) is more an issue of toxicity–nasty stuff potentially can get into the air when you laser it.

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Yeah, there are definitely other quality options available when in doubt.

The listing says it is crazy horse leather.

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listing says it is crazy horse leather

Well that is really only a way to describe the finish, but it’s also a really popular term right now, and there’s no standard for what it has to mean–this “Crazy Horse” is very different from some leather I got that was called this from another site, so all you can hope for is it’s consistently used within this store, so if you order more, it’s similar…

And without knowing the tannery, even with this seller, there can be huge variation between the hides they call “crazy horse”, so may be hard to get another piece that’s the same. And that’s on top of the variation within the tannery process and hides themselves…


A good site that has a lot of variety of types and size options, and does a good job describing the leather is They also are very responsive if you have any questions.


Wowza! Thank you guys very much for all the responses. I am learning so much about leather. Makes my head spin (or maybe that’s from the fumes from the sparking leather lol jk).
I’ll definitely check out the links. I have a big leather shop near me, maybe 45 min away. I do want to check that place out and maybe get me some scraps to play with.

For all the leather masters here, I want to glue to pieces of leather together (back to back), and somehow seal the rim. Any advice on the best method for sealing the rim?

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