What is the hive-mind consensus on non PG leather masking?

I’ve read through some great tutorials and advice for settings on non PG leather, but noticed there’s a blurry line about masking. I understand leather is a hit or miss deal for settings due to it’s makeup and I’m sure that could still be the consensus, but I’m getting ready to do an engrave on an art sketch book from Hobby Lobby (so I can always buy another if it totally screws up I guess). My main question is since I’m going to do an engrave and no cutting should I mask or not?

I believe I’ll go with the settings that @jules discussed

The engrave will have both large burn sections and fine thin details. I’m worried about the char and being able to clean it off, but I’ll take the trade off of char over the gummy residue of masking.

I engraved the entire Better Together clutch from the catalog without masking. Turned out great.

One thing you need to do if you can is to run a small test to see how dark you can get it…some pieces of leather have engraved really light at 2%, others got a nice golden brown. if you want dark engrave though, just run additional passes. :slightly_smiling_face:


I haven’t done any engraving but I do clean smoke stains off of veg tanned leather with rubbing alcohol. This will tend to dry it out some (both lasering and cleaning) so I have also been trying out Neatsfoot oil. The oil does darken the leather somewhat in the process.

With that said I don’t use masking but I also don’t clean it thoroughly when dyeing. I like the dye to be uneven for most projects.


Are you sure the sketch book is leather?

I’m sure it’s leather. It’s real goat leather and hand tanned. It was the only reason I picked it up. I knew most “leather” sketchbooks were pleather or some other unknown materials.


Went with the unmasked theory but had to go with 35 power instead of 3 (Pro GF). 340 LPI. Started to go for a second pass but didn’t like how dark and felt it lost some detail. I scrubbed a little too hard in the face and goofed up the detail just a hair. It’s a birthday gift for our “adopted daughter” so she will love it regardless.

The calavera was a gray scale png I doctored up in photoshop then did a vary power engrave.


Nice turn out!

She may or may not have shed a small tear of joy last night when she picked it up.