Leather engraving and tooling revisited - low power settings

Thanks for sharing your experiments! Looks like lots of possibilities in the works. BTW, rose looks great!

1 Like

That was an excellent write-up. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m really excited about the leather-working options.


This is really cool!

I’m not a leather expert so I don’t understand the differences between tooling, stamping, etc. But this makes me wonder what you’d get engraving for color, then engraving for depth in acrylic, then using that acrylic to stamp the visually-engraved leather for depth.

1 Like

Umm well, my first thought as someone who has zero skill tooling leather… WOW… Thats gorgeous…so you are definitely more skilled than many of us… :smiley:


Exciting stuff here! I’m looking forward to experimenting with leather more in the future. Great write up…thank you!


Despite this thread having been dormant for quite awhile, I want to contribute that I’m actively doing this.

I make leather motorcycle masks and I bought the Glowforge specifically for this purpose but with the added benefit of leather engraving and having it physically cutting the masks out.

Just scored, cut, tooled, and formed this mask yesterday evening in record time, it has been a boost to my productivity.

This is the mask flat after tooling

This version of the mask included engraving on some of the stripes for added depth.


This full custom mask is based on one of my other blanks and the design inspired by a metal helmet, this is also tooling with engraving and laser scoring.

Another example of engraving, scoring, and hand tooling on a Wonder Woman inspired design.

This was actually my first attempt to combine tooling and laser work as well as being the first customer laser project.

Another, more simple example

My biggest problem was getting the settings right for fully cutting the masks out. I use 8-9oz veggie tanned leather and it just wasn’t cutting it out. I’m currently setting the focus height to 3/8ths of an inch with a 160 speed/Full power setting and I’m finally getting a good consistent result.

For scoring, I’m using 500speed/35power and I put masking tape on top to keep the discoloring to a minimum. (I wipe them down afterwards to get the soot off too)


Looks great! :sunglasses::+1:

1 Like

This is really incredible work. Wow!


Wow, amazing! So glad the laser is making the process easier—it looks really involved.

Really great work

Sorry for the necro-posting, but I just can hold back! This information is exactly what I have been looking for and how I plan on using the :glowforge:! So glad ya’ll were willing to share your experiences with leather and the :glowforge:. Now I just have to wait for the darn thing to arrive …


Just purchased a Glowforge specifically to use with leather. I am interested in finding out the best settings for different weight leathers. Is it just experimentation or can you point me in the right direction to find out more?

Hi @jan2, welcome to the forum!

All leather pretty much Engraves and Scores at the same settings, the only issue becomes cutting completely through it. If you are not going to use Proofgrade leather, you don’t want to use the Proofgrade settings, since those are set up for masking on the material.

We’re not supposed to discuss actual settings outside of the Beyond the Manual section, so just do a quick search there and you’ll find some good starter settings.

Cutting through is a different animal because of the fibrous nature of veg-tanned leather. There is a ton of charring because of the air introduced, and it’s very hard to burn all the way through. (Lasers do not work in air pockets). Shave or slick down the back of the veg-tanned before cutting and it’s much easier to process. (Tokonole works very well.) And for different weight leathers, you will want to run a few tests.

One word of warning…do not use fake or faux leathers in this machine, you can easily damage it. (If you are buying hides, that’s not a problem, but watch how they’re tanned. Chrome tanned (most leather) is not as healthy to use with a laser.)


I mask everything I put on the laser in fact I mask both sides because it helps keep the material flat. Each piece is placed in the glowforge masked for engraving first and cutting second on all in one Go Button push. I engrave at 600/60 for a nice deep engrave. Cutting is 150/Full Power. Until recently this has cut through easily and consistently. In the last few months I’ve had an increasingly bigger issue getting a full cut on my 8/9oz. veg tanned no matter what focus height I set.


Speaking generally I still use the Glowforge in this way for every single project I do. I just built a few new projects that feature really involved original artwork.

This is a zombie mask project

This is a Joker mask I just ran through the Glowforge today actually

All three of my kids got custom hot rod car club vests with custom made leather patches, hand sews on their denim vests like you youngest here


-Zombie Jake

1 Like

Have you tried cleaning all of the lenses? I have found that once it begins having trouble cutting all of the way through cleaning the lenses gets it back to where it needs to be …

Thanks for the info, BTW, getting ready to do a run of masks for myself and the people I work with in the prison!

Sorry for reviving an old thread (I don’t understand why people get upset about that at all… but I digress)

I have a question about the tooling examples you showed here: Did you wet the leather before tooling in these examples? Did you use heated or cold tools? I am just beginning the leather adventure, and I really like these examples as practice.

That’s not a bad thing here - we call it the #necrogame :slight_smile:

Watch some Youtube videos for beginning leather tooling, that will be the most helpful. But the short answer is I wet the leather, let it sit for 5 or 8 min and then begin hammering with room-temp tools and a maul I bought at Tandy Leather.

Your rose is absolutely lovely! It seems to pop right out of the leather.