I cheated!

Ok, so it does not look and sure the heck does not feel the same as hand crafted leather stamped basket weave but it was fun testing out the trace mode.


I’ve never done tooling (just an stamp now & then), but really love etching leather (though not all leathers do well).

What would be pretty cool is to cut out the “open” areas of the weave… (though I have less luck getting good & consistent cuts as I do with etching).

Are you sure that’s veg-tanned leather? That surface treatment looks a lot like chrome tan (very toxic). If it really is veg-tanned, I’d love to know where you get such supple-looking stuff – everything I’ve run across is very stiff and needs to be shaped/flattened with alcohol before it’ll stay down properly in the Glowforge.

That said, I’ve still only done a few tests with leather etching, and even a light burn changes noticeably once you clean it with alcohol and a toothbrush, and especially after you apply dye and sealant to it. It’s still not the same as pressure-stamped leather, but you can get very fine details that would be extremely difficult to do by hand.

We have lots of leather scraps that are pretty old. Not sure when they started doing chrome tan.

Chrome tanning has been around since the mid/late 1800s, so it’s a tossup. Natural veg-tanned leather has a pretty consistent look about it, though (natural because you don’t know what else will be in dyes/paints), which is why I thought your stuff looked off. I don’t know of anything like the copper test for chlorine that will work for chrome. Personally, I’ve read enough about chromium gas toxicity that I wouldn’t risk any unknown leathers in the laser.

There’s not a safety issue cutting chrome tanned leather - just a quality issue. Veg tanned tends to cut cleaner & with less distortion.

Unless of course you’re cutting a lit of chrome tanned and piping the exhaust into your lungs :slightly_smiling_face:

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