At Engrave Goods we’ve found laser engraving to be the ideal method to mark leather and have spent nearly ten years experimenting with and perfecting the technique on leather and wood. Laser engraving is a unique marking method that is often overlooked and misunderstood in comparison to more popular printing and embossing techniques, so let’s take a closer look at how the process works and what results can be achieved.
How Laser Engraving Works
In the most basic sense the process of laser engraving is similar to using a magnifying glass to create a point of light from the sun to start a fire. In this case, instead of the sun, the laser engraving machine uses electric current to create a high intensity beam of infrared light. The beam is directed to a moving laser head by a series of mirrors. The laser head contains two important parts (1) a mirror which directs the beam downward toward the surface of the material to be engraved and (2) a focus lens which concentrates the energy of the beam into a very fine point at the surface of the material (in our case a piece of leather or wood). This point of concentrated energy burns and removes material creating an engraved mark. The engraving machine translates photos and graphics that we prepare on the computer into engraved marks on leather and wood.
What Can Be Engraved
We utilize a Trotec Speedy 400 laser engraver with an engraving area of 39” x 24”. There are some limitations on the minimum detail and lineweight sizes (minimum .6pt line weight and 6pt font size) and it’s important to keep in mind that you will lose some contrast when going from digital image to engraving. But within those limits, we’re able laser engrave virtually any high quality image file or vector graphic.
Greyscale images are engraved by translating the images into a halftone dot pattern where the density of engraved dots creates the look of shading and grey tones. Each individual dot is very small so we’re able to translate a high level of detail into the engraved images. You can see an example of this in the photo below.
On the left is an image engraved on a leather Travel Wallet. On the right is a close up of the engraving showing the halftone pattern.
Comparison to Other Marking Techniques
Below are pros and cons for three of the most popular marking techniques - laser engraving, printing, and embossing - in regards to marking on leather and wood.
Examples of Laser Engraving
Here are a few examples of laser engraved designs that illustrate the wide variety of creative possibilities - everything from black and white logos to greyscale photos and illustrations.
Thin line graphics on an engraved Travel Wallet
Black and white artwork on a Classic Leather Notebook
Full greyscale artwork on a Classic Leather Notebook with matching Minimalist Wallet
Check out more examples of work we’ve done for previous clients in our online portfolio here: www.engravegoods.com/blogs/customer-examples
Interested in a more technical explanation of how laser engraving/cutting works? Check out this article: http://www.esabna.com/us/en/education/blog/how-does-laser-cutting-work.cfm
Have a question about whether your artwork will work for engraving or want to get started on some custom engraved goods of your own? Contact us now at email@example.com. Browse our full product collection at www.engravegoods.com.
We pride ourselves on offering products that are made to last and get better with age. The leather that we use plays a large role in this. Our leather is made by Hermann Oak Leather Co. in St. Louis, Missouri. They are one of the longest running leather tanneries in the U.S., having been in business since 1881 when they supplied settlers traveling West along the Lewis and Clark trail. So, it’s safe to say they know their stuff.
Image: Hermann Oak Leather Co. image celebrating their 50th anniversary in 1931
In addition to working with a reliable tannery, we’ve specifically chosen a leather type that is minimally processed and sustainably made to ensure that it will be tough and durable and age well over time. We use a 2/3 oz. natural colored vegetable tanned sling leather.
Before we go much further a little “leather tanning 101” is needed. Tanning is the process by which animal skin is turned into leather. There are 2 main methods that are used to do this:
The most popular method is Chrome Tanning. It is widely used in the upholstery and fashion industries. It was initially developed primarily for it’s speed. A hide can be tanned in a single day using this method. It is known for creating leather that is soft and uniform and much less expensive than alternative tanning methods. The downside is that the chrome tanning process uses acids and chromium sulfides, chemicals that can be hazardous to people and the environment.
Vegetable Tanning is a traditional and more natural tanning process that has been in use much longer than Chrome tanning. According to Hermann Oak, less than 5% of all leather is tanned this way. It utilizes the natural vegetable tannins in tree bark instead of chemicals. The process takes about one month to tan a hide. The additional time and expertise necessary to tan the hides with this method mean that the finished leather costs more, but there are several advantages. The leather is stiffer allowing to hold it’s shape better and be more durable. We also feel that it ages better and more drastically than chrome tanned leathers that are often made to maintain their initial color for as long as possible and don’t necessarily wear as well over time. The vegetable tanned leather that we use has no artificial dyes (just some natural oils) and will naturally darken in color as it is handled and used, developing a beautiful patina and turning a rich brown color as it is exposed, to light, moisture and oils from your hands.
Image: Vegetable tanned leather side being cut for a custom project
We firmly believe that vegetable tanned leather is the best choice for our products both for from a consumer and a manufacturer's standpoint. It creates a better product while being better for the environment as well. We want to deliver a product that will look great out of the box but that will only get better as it is used and ages over time.
Want more info?
Check out an in depth comparison of Chrome vs. Vegetable tanning here: www.carryology.com/insights/chrome-vs-vegetable-tanned-leather/
Or read Hermann Oak’s environmental statement: www.hermannoakleather.com/about/environmental
Browse our full line of products, all made with Hermann Oak vegetable tanned leather, on our main page here: www.engravegoods.com
We do our best to make the ordering process easy, quick and personal. We're here to get you all the information you need to decide what product will work best for you and help to get your graphics looking just right before production so you know exactly what you're getting. Here's a look at the ordering process from first visit to the site to receiving your custom products.
Take a look through the website to view our product offerings. Scroll down on each individual product page for details such as pricing, product features and dimensions. Pricing is listed for quantities of less than 50 units. You can also view examples of previous work we’ve done for other companies to get ideas.
Contact for Quote and Additional Info
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form by clicking on the “order” button on the product page. Let us know what product you’re interested in and what quantities you’re considering and we will get back to you (usually within 1 business day) with a quote on price and production time. We’ll also email you a design template with suggestions about setting up or choosing artwork for engraving. You’re not locked into ordering so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Submit Artwork and Receive Proofs
If you’re working with a designer you can complete the design template with your artwork and send it back. Alternatively, you can simply send us any logo or graphics you’d like engraved (no template needed) and we can size and place it on the product for you at no cost. Either way, we’ll send you a digital proof of what the product will look like when engraved with your artwork. If any adjustments are needed we’ll make the adjustments and send you additional proofs until it’s just right.
Once you’ve approved the proof we’ll ask for your shipping address and then send you an invoice that includes shipping cost and a set ship date for your order. The invoice can be paid securely online with a credit card or bank transfer.
Once we receive approval on a proof and payment on the invoice, we’ll move ahead with production. Production times will vary based on the product, quantities ordered and engraving coverage, but approximate times are: 1-3 weeks for products and quantities that are in stock or 4-6 weeks for larger quantities and/or out of stock items. You’ll receive an accurate production quote and ship-by date before placing your order.
Your products will ship no later than the date listed on the invoice (and will often ship earlier depending on the current production schedule). All packages are delivered with UPS and we are able to ship worldwide. When your order ships you’ll receive an email confirmation with a tracking number for your package.
So, that’s it. Not too difficult right? We take pride in offering one on one customer service throughout the process. You’re encouraged to email or call us whenever you have a question. We’ll be there to help you from your initial inquiry to following up after your order to make sure everything turned out as expected and on time. Contact us at email@example.com or give us a call at 503-575-9923 to get more info or get started with an order!
It’s been a busy start to this year, so we know it’s a little (OK, a lot) late but we wanted to show off some of our favorite customer created designs that we engraved on our leather goods last year. There were so many great designs that it’s hard to create a short list, but here are a few of our favorites from 2015.
OMFGCO. Travel Wallet.
The creative crew at OMFGCO designed a graphic specifically for their custom engraved Travel Wallets. The full coverage typographic design is both elegant and fun. It’s sure to turn some heads in the airport and abroad.
We’ve been lucky to work with Schluter Ltd. for the past few years making engraved leather notebooks for their client gifts. This year they decided to expand outside the notebooks and give away minimalist wallets as well. We helped adapt their beautiful notebook design to work on the smaller format wallet and we personally think they both look great and make a nice set.
Modern Craft. Slim Notebook.
Modern Craft has a great logo design and they let it shine by choosing a creative placement that expands the logo over the cover. Combined with the choice of our more modern styled notebook, it makes a bold statement that fits their brand well.
Bonfire Marketing. Pocket Classic Leather Notebook.
Fellow Portland company Bonfire Marketing created an awesome illustration to engrave on these pocket size Classic Leather Notebooks. The illustration was designed to cover the full front cover while their logo is featured on the back. I’m sure we’re a bit partial since it depicts our home city, but we think the design makes good use of the full cover while telling a compelling story about the brand.
RLSI. Card Wallet.
Reliance Standard shows us that sometimes simple is best. Featuring a nice logo with an upturned and right aligned placement that utilizes the space of the card wallet well, allowing for a large logo and creating visual interest without the need of additional elements. Their graphics for these Card Wallets were sharp, professional and bold.
Portland Trail Blazers. Large Classic Leather Notebook.
The Portland Trail Blazers designed this full wrap notebook cover graphic for a charity fundraising event. The notebooks were a hit and it’s easy to see why. The design is creative and filled with fine detail, taking full advantage of the precision of laser engraving. Go Blazers!
The competition for best engraved goods of 2016 is on. Let us help you create some great promotional products. Whether you have just a logo or an in-house designer ready to create custom artwork, we’re here to make sure your graphics look great and reflect the quality of your brand. See more examples of our past work at http://www.engravegoods.com/blogs/customer-examples, contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org or browse our product collection at www.engravegoods.com to get started!
This past year we moved Engrave Goods into a dedicated space, released a new line of customizable leather goods, and were commissioned to make 55,000 NFC tokens for the Grid. We worked with Joey Roth to create maple art blocks, and designed custom ipad sleeves for Mercedes. We’ve never been more impressed by your custom engraved designs.
The Grid came to us with the idea of developing a custom token which could be scanned with an NFC enabled phone to launch a website. We developed a seamless walnut and leather token to encase the thin NFC chips and set to work producing thousands of parts. We're fortunate to have clients like The Grid who value premium materials and quality local craftsmanship.
An event agency came to us with the goal of designing a re-usable giveaway for a Mercedes event. We came up with the concept of a 100% wool felt and walnut document sleeve which could be used as a tablet case after the event.
Our friend Joey Roth came to us with the idea of creating an engraved version of his amazing letterpress print designs. After experimenting with various wood species, we decided hard rock maple would provide the best contrast with the thin line weight of the artwork. This project involved milling and sanding each block to a silky smooth surface and then engraving slowly at the highest resolution. Each block is individually numbered on the underside and features the makers mark. The art blocks are available at Joey's site.
We’re excited for what’s to come in 2016 and are finalizing a new collection of products. We’d love to hear your suggestions and look forward to working together soon.
In an age where nearly anything can be done with our smartphones, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a physical business card. Having a well designed card made from durable wood veneer can make a lasting first impression on prospective clients.
Our precision engraved wood maple cards stand out from the sea of cheaply printed business cards, and send a message that you care about your brand image.
We offer professionally designed business card templates which make it easy to layout your custom engraved cards. The simple layouts allow anyone to present their information in a concise and easy to read format.
Click here to create your own engraved wood business cards.