Why not oil tanned leather?

Trying to figure out if I should even bother with oil tanned leather? My grandad and I have a pro unit

Dan mentioned this some time ago.

But some have succeeded at it anyway. If you search the forum for oil tanned, you’ll run across a few. Here’s one I liked:


Tanning can involve all sorts of mystery chemicals. So “oil tanned” can mean a lot of different things. It will all depend on what was used in a particular batch.


Doesn’t really answer my question. I’m trying to figure out if it will harm the machine if I try

Oh. I didn’t see that question in your original post. You probably won’t get a definitive answer from Glowforge on that. They generally recommend Proofgrade for safety for the machine and yourself. Usually because any other kind of material they can’t be sure what is in it.

With oil tanned leather, it may contain things that when burned aren’t good for you, the environment or your machine. For example, if you have something labelled vaguely, but is actually “bonded” leather, it may have chlorine in it and that is bad for your laser cutter (and for you too).

However, there are some oil tanned leathers that won’t harm your machine and if you vent properly, shouldn’t be bad for you either. However, those will be “Beyond the Manual”.


I had great success cutting oil tanned, but I’m crazy like that. Forget exact settings but I do recall it was two fast passes.