dikman

Engraving/burning onto leather smudging

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My latest effort was engraved/burned onto veg which was left natural (no dying). I gave it a coat of neatsfoot oil and then a couple of days later applied some leather dressing. This caused the dark burned residue to smear and leave dark stains (fortunately most of it wiped off). Anyone else had this problem and if so how do you stop it from happening again?

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What is in "leather dressing" ?

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Have you tried to give the burnt area's a stiff brush after laser  and before you NFO so you remove any loose burnt particles,which may be there to be absorbed by the NFO and effect the next layer of dressing

Edited by chrisash

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7 hours ago, dikman said:

I gave it a coat of neatsfoot oil and then a couple of days later applied some leather dressing.

You might try applying the neatsfoot oil and dressing to the leather before you engrave with the laser. I often use this braiding soap recipe to coat the leather, and find that it helps keep the residue from penetrating the leather.

Easy Braiding Soap Recipe.pdf

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Mike, I normally use a beeswax/tallow mix that I made but I was in a bit of a hurry and grabbed some Oakwood leather dressing.

Chris, I didn't try brushing it first because I had no idea this was going to happen. I'll have to experiment a bit and maybe try an old toothbrush first.

Latigo, again it may be worth a try, thanks for that link I intend to have a look at it later. Locating pure ivory soap may be an issue here so I'll see what other recipes are on there.:specool:

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Oakwood leather dressing..or Oakwood Leather Conditioner ?
If the latter, then

Extract of the MDS
"Contains a blend of ingredients not classified as hazardous to criteria of Worksafe
Australia and NOHSC: Natural Ingredients including, Beeswax, Lanolin, Eucalyptus Oil,
and Tea Tree Oil."

note "Eucalyptus Oil,
and Tea Tree Oil."
Both oils..Both thin oils..I think they are what is causing the blurring / spreading of the carbon in the design ) ( the laser burning creates very fine carbon particles when it chars the leather..if you looked at a burned line under a strong microscope , I think it would not show "fused" but would be burned edges of fibres, some fused collagen, some loose carbon loaded fine particles..a thin oil will pick them up and , a bit like chromatography, will carry them outwards from where it found them..that would "blur" the lines in your design ) ..They'll be sitting on the surface of the leather, so..( might work if you are careful ) ..you could try sanding the surface of the design area with very fine nylon pad ( like a scouring pad ) Places that do car body repairs and repaints or boat hull repairs on polyester type hulls have them..or maybe a good DIY place ?..3M make the ones that I buy here ......if you can get the red or the white colour, you want the fine "grit"..They are colour coded as to various "grits" like sand paper..You may be able to sand the "blurring" away ,whilst leaving the design ( because it will be a little further into the leather surface )..

Put the leather flat as you can get it on a glass slab..double sided tape to the flesh side will help..then wrap the nylon pad around a wood block, and sand the design area ( and the rest of the piece lightly, stopping frequently to blow away, not wipe, the dust..

Better again would be to wrap the nylon pad stuff around a flat piece of glass ( "slicker" ? ) , that way it will be less likely to try to go down into the design lines..or if you can get some white coloured "abrasive paper, fine grade about 800 would be OK, upwards ( finer ) would be better..Whatever "abrasive" pad you get ( paper or nylon , wrapped around a flat block ) the finer the better ..Less likely to damage the surface of the leather..

Works for removing marks on delicate leather without disturbing the surface before finishing..and works on suede type finishes..

If you want to "fix" ( as in stop them from smudging ) any designs in the future , don't use anything with such "light oils" in..and you can try spraying the finished design with artists fixatif ( not a typo :) )..or a neutral type hairspray like Elnet..Works for "fixing" artists pastel ( pastel chalk like crayon ) artworks..on artwork ( but not on leather because it is not absorbent enough ( unlike paper made specially for pastels or charcoal ) you can also use sprayed whole milk..

The casein in the milk sets to form a sort of glue which fixes the pastel or charcoal works to the paper..

Ideally pastel works are not "fixed" as they lose some of the colour vibrancy that the pure pigments in them have when encapsulated by any fixatif.

Charcoal works fixed with casein stay "fixed" , but the casein yellows a little eventually with age*..on leather it would "bead" and run or pool, so artists fixatif or hairspray would be better..

HTH :)

* If you are ever thinking of making convincing aged charcoal artwork , bear in mind that the milk , paper, and charcoal etc that are available to us now..are not authentic to previous periods, they can be "dated"..especially anything post "nuclear" is easy to spot as it is contaminated with isotopes that it could not have if it pre-dated the first nuclear explosions..Making fake "anything" that passes detailed scientific analysis is hard if not impossible..people are much easier to fool..Usually they fool themselves..

pps..You'll have a compressor around somewhere set it to about 2 bars and use an airbrush or a dust blowing nozzle ( can't think of the English word here..Arrrgh ..French is "soufflette" ) to blow dust off work anyway rather than brushing it..brushing can leave streaks..Make sure that your compressor is drained regularly, and that your airlines are dry..if you have water / moisture trap filters, put them at the "gun " end of the airlines, not ( as most do ) at the compressor end..or better still use one at each end of the line..

Hold the work down firmly with a cotton gloved finger ( to avoid leaving skin oil prints ) when you are blowing air at it, or it will fly away..and Australia is a big place to go chasing it..

Edit ..I remembered soufflette = blowgun..like this
https://www.amazon.fr/KS-TOOLS-515-1902-Soufflette-avec/dp/B001NYV0KQ

Fine abrasive pads..
https://m.color-box.eu/art-20-coupes-scotch-brite-rouges-tres-fin-1002.htm

Sanding paper , you'd want the kind that would be used for "scary sharp" , but white or beige , not grey or black..

Edited by mikesc

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Mike, I think you're right about the Oakwood. I don't normally use it on anything I make as I bought it for my car seats (I actually hate leather seats in a car, hot in simmer and cold in winter!) and it is pretty thin.

Air duster nozzle is a good enough description, souflette sounds like something you'd bake in an oven :lol:.

I've got a few ideas to work with, just need to do some experimenting (sometime).

Latigo, that link doesn't work, the site doesn't appear to exist?

Edited by dikman

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Latigo's link is to a pdf file that is on here ..works for me..

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6 hours ago, dikman said:

Latigo, that link doesn't work, the site doesn't appear to exist?

That is not a link, but rather an embedded PDF. It should either open or download when you "click" on it.

Edited by LatigoAmigo

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My bad, I was referring to the forum you mentioned (APWA), it doesn't seem to exist. I wanted to look at the other recipes.

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44 minutes ago, dikman said:

the forum you mentioned (APWA), it doesn't seem to exist

Then I misunderstood you, sorry about that. The document I posted was something I found years ago. It may have come from this site: 

https://whips.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/easy-braiding-soap-recipe/

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The awa.org.au site is down ..but the wayback machine has quite a lot of their pages..maybe if you have the time to go exploring their archives you'll find more recipes..
their "stash" is here
https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.apwa.org.au/

HTH :)

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Thanks guys, that explains why I couldn't find it - basically, long gone. The extra couple of posts in Latigo's latest link are a bit more explanatory, they're using tallow, mixed with lard. The tallow is fine but I'm not sure about adding lard as it could tend to turn rancid over time. I think a blend of tallow and neatsfoot oil may be a better option.

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6 hours ago, dikman said:

I'm not sure about adding lard as it could tend to turn rancid over time.

The batches of this that I've made, which I keep in jars, have lasted years without turning rancid.

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Well, I can't argue with that.:)

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