The perfect leather patch.... how to make it?

Hi, I have made a few leather patches on my glowforge and while they are ok would like to know how to make them look more professional and clean. I have watched Youtube videos, scrolled through the topics here and asked other laser users, however I am still a little confused on how to make the best looking (and long lasting) patches. I have used the Glowforge leather as well as Weaver veg-tanned and both are good, but I feel that I could make them both look better.

Couple of my main questions:

  1. Should the leather be cleaned and/or involved any other process (such as conditioning) before lasering?
  2. Once lasered what processes should be done to make the patch look clean and sharp (have had issues with the engraved portions as they tend to flake off very small charred parts that make the non-engraved areas of the patch look dirty)? I just made a patch for a hat and had a heck of a time trying to get the masking off without the etched parts getting little grit all over the rest of the patch.
  3. Do I condition and then seal with a waterproof sealant? I have been trying different waterproof sealers, but haven’t tried a conditioner yet and am curious. I see hats with patches that are clean, shiny and really professional looking and my goal is to get to that level.

I am not trying to “steal” anyones process or anything of that nature, and am doing my own homework and trail-error to work out what’s best, but if you have any ideas, tips, tricks, knowledge or other things that would be helpful I would greatly appreciate your sharing. :slight_smile: THANKS!

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This is the shiniest leather finish I know of besides lots of burnishing and polishing. Use it after lasering and it should help seal and darken engraves.
(Extremely flammable and smelly tho - use outside, let dry thoroughly and wear a respirator)

Fiebings Leather Sheen 10.6 Oz

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Personally, I think the best looking leather patches are the stamped ones. Check out anything done by @shrumgraphics if you want to be blown away. Here’s an example:

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Ooo 100% agree, plus stamping saves a ton of laser time since you only need to laser each design once instead of for each patch.

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