Trouble with cutting leather

Leather thickness can vary significantly, even with pieces from the same hide. I use calipers to measure my leather and I’ve had good success using PG settings + entering thickness manually.

YMMV and all the usual disclaimers.

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All of my pieces are run through a splitter so I always have exactly the same thickness.

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I am new to the Glowforge community and have been trying to educate myself on the types of leather that I can cut and engrave. I have half grain and full grain, aniline dyed leather. Is this suitable to use in my glowforge?

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The preferred leather to use in the Glowforge is veg tanned. Some have used oil tanned and even chrome tanned, but the process used in tanning leaves chemicals that are not really ideal for lasering.

I need to find a way to cut leather that I got from Tandy Leather. I’ve layered 2 pieces together and all it does is burn the material which is about .08 thick. any Ideas would be appreciated

I’m pretty new to using leather, myself but I’m wondering why you’re doing 2 layers at once? And, is the total thickenss of both layers .08"? You didn’t mention what settings you are using. I usually just use the dropdown menu and choose either proofgrade thick or thin…depending on the thickness. Sometimes too, I mask my leather to keep cleanup at a minumu. More info. from you would help.

There are plenty of tips and settings in this thread alone. If you use search, you’ll find many more discussions with lots of useful info.

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I am using 2 layers to stiffen it up some, I was also using a piece of poster board between them.
Also I’m a newbie only had my glow forge about 2 months.

Why on earth would you do that?

The laser focuses at a precise point.


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It’s never a good idea to stack material, it can cause charring, and a even cause a fire in some materials.

So Step 1 is to stop stacking them together, and definitely never layer with different materials like posterboard. (You got lucky.) :slightly_smiling_face:

Step 2 is to cut yourself a handful of these out of some scrap Medium thickness plywood or draftboard:

They are the absolute best thing for holding down flexible materials, and keeping it from bowing up while it’s being cut.

Step 3 is… the best way of dealing with the quirks of leather that I found is this info:

Step 4, last but not least: Run some tests using a small square on each piece of leather to see how it is going to cut and to determine the best settings…it’s not going to EVER be the same unless you are using Proofgrade. You will need to set Custom Settings.


What kind of leather are you using? Veg tan cuts very nicely most of the time, but many chrome tanned and oil tanned leathers don’t laser well at all. (the Proofgrade variety sold by GF is veg tan)

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I have great success using this technique with leather.

  1. I case the leather then I place something heavy on it for an hour.
  2. Place the leather on the honeycomb tray. Put honeycomb pins around all the edges.
  3. I case the leather again. The leather is damp while it is being cut.

I use a regular rectangle kitchen sponge for casing.

These are the setting I use.
Speed 180
Power 81
Focus Height 0.0938


? Please interpret. And, when you gave the settings you use, wouldn’t those depend on the thickness of the leather? You don’t use the set focus? I usually have good success just by using the dropdown settings for PG leather, no matter if it really is or not.

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Wet it, usually veg tanned, to make it easier for tooling. Obviously a different application here.


Ah…OK. Thanks


As an example I am going to use a 2 ounce leather. Leather has 2 sides grain and flesh. The grain side is the front. Flesh side is the back. Different leather manufacturers finish the flesh side as smooth or rough.

In the past when I have tried cutting leather and the back side is rough I was challenged using the proof grade settings. When the back side was smooth sometimes the proof grade settings worked.

I do not use set focus. I found casing the leather before cutting makes the leather have a nice clean edge cut.

Here is a great video to show you had a case leather. Ignore the products he suggests. I use plain water.