Cutting conundrum

So I’ve a conundrum.
This is not a problem - I’d post in that forum if it were.

I have a project where i want leather glued to wood, then cut. Together they’re 6mm thick. Masked on both sides with thin tacky transfer paper.

I tried 2 passes (from the wood side) at 150/full. That din’t do it.
When I lowered the speed, it worked, but the char.! Oh the CHAR. And, the beam defocuses along the path resulting in the leather being cut differently - the leather circle is smaller than the wood.

Tips? tricks?

I’m just trying to get some more information from you at this point.

I’m guessing most of the 6 mm is probably from a 5mm piece of wood. Is it plywood or a board or some type of composite like MDF?

Have you tried cutting with the leather side up?

Is the charring on the leather, the wood, or both?

Your problem is because of the different densities and composition of your materials. While its possible you might find some magic combination that works well I don’t know that the odds are in your favor at this point (without knowing more).

I think with a composite piece like this though you’d want to run faster cuts and probably lower power and just make as many passes as needed. Note: everybody has different cutting recommendations and philosophies. Go with whatever works for you.

If all that fails, why not cut the pieces separately and glue them afterwards? No idea what you’re making or why that might not be an option, but then you can at least optimize for each of your materials to get the finish you want.

Good luck and share the finished product if you figure it out (and can).



You also don’t mention type of wood. Some woods char like crazy (mahogany, purpleheart) and some leave honey brown edges (maple, yellow heart). You’re a little at the mercy of your materials.


Sorry for omitting details. The item is 3.05MM baltic birch ply, the leather is 2.9-3mm veg tanned.

Trying to save steps, and keep perfect alignment on small piece work, I glue the leather to the wood, mask both sides, and put it leather side down. One engrave on the wood, and a cut (I was hoping!) through, then flip the pieces over and run the other engrave that I ‘ignored’ - obviously ignoring the first engrave and cut now…

The maximum number of passes for a cut is 3… Yes, I would love to go ‘fast and low’ - it would be cool if the GF would / could change it’s focus depth after each pass!

Hope that helps.

Just because the software doesn’t have it built-in doesn’t mean it can’t do it. :slight_smile:

Stack your cuts (differentiate by colors) and apply your own speeds/powers and depths to each cut. If you want 4 or 6 different passes it just takes a little longer to set-up. Granted, it’s a pain, but if you can set-up a file and know what to do this time and next time it might be worth it.

The baltic birch is a little bit unpredictable because of the glues and how voids can be filled. You get some spot discontinuities.

What I’d really suggest is still cutting separate. Make a jig to glue up the pieces after cutting and engraving. you can always run one last pass in the GF to engrave the leather and do a “trimming cut” at the end.

I’d just make a jig out of chipboard or cardboard to do the final trims so you can locate the piece properly.


Pro or basic? The pro’s extra power would help here.

I would think you could cut that combo pretty easily even with a basic. @hansepe is right about Baltic having some inconsistency, but if you search “Plywood inspection” you’ll find this:

Baltic can cut cleanly with no char. Leather will always char. Experiment, I’m sure you can get it to work.

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I think cloning the cut path and coloring it differently will be the work around. I can do 2 fast passes, then adjust the focus deeper and do 2 more… I’ll try that.

My sarcastic self immediately wanted to reply that you should have looked up the MSDS to make sure “conundrum” is safe to cut.

Don’t mind me—it’s the drugs. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I second that. Changing the focus length for a different operation for thicker materials can be effective.

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