Oak and leather menu boards

Oak and leather menu boards

Posted Posted in Corporate, Leather

Homefield Grange is a luxury health and wellness retreat. They wanted oak and leather menu boards for their spa treatments and  commissioned Caroline from Butterscotch Design to design something special. She got in touch to ask if I could make and assemble the boards for them.

What the customer wanted

Caroline said that her customer was looking for oak boards with a leather cover that would sit over the paper menu. The wood, paper and leather would be held in place with a metal plate.

Caroline specified the size and thickness of the boards. She also wanted each one to have a waney edge  on one side. Waney edges are from the barked edge of the log which is never straight. They make each piece individual and even more tactile.

Homefield Grange’s logo was to be engraved on the backs of the oak boards. Related artwork around the flower design was to be engraved on the leather cover too.

I explained to Caroline that I could do the engravings and cut the leather pieces, but I’d need to work with a furniture maker to create and assemble the boards. Caroline agreed, and Kirsty of  SK Furniture Design came on board.

Measure twice, cut once!

First, Caroline wanted some samples for Homefield Grange to approve. They weren’t sure how the engraved leather would look and wanted to see how the boards would look when engraved too. Would the detail look clear?

Oak boards

Kirsty created sample boards and sourced and painted the metal clips.  I engraved the boards with Homefield Grange’s logo. The tiny flower in the middle was a challenge as it was so tiny and detailed. I slowed the machine down to get good resolution on all the detail and it worked perfectly.

Then Kirsty gave the boards a final sand to remove the discolouration around the engravings and finished the boards to protect the wood and bring out the beauty of the grain.

Leather covers

Caroline wanted a larger but very intricate flower design engraved on the leather. We experimented with raster and vector engraving as they look very different. Caroline and her customer chose raster engraving as it looked softer, and all the detail  came up nicely without cutting through the leather in places on the back in areas where details overlapped. The picture below is a close up of some of the engraved detail.

Caroline sourced some leather in a lovely asparagus colour.  She had a whole hide sent to me to cut the pieces from! It was much bigger than the machine, but I managed to roll up one edge to make it fit.

When they were finished, Kirsty assembled each board with its leather cover and clip. We felt so proud of our beautiful boards.

Seal of approval

Caroline loved the results and said that they were very well received at Homefield Grange. Another happy customer!


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalising a hammer

Personalising a hammer

Posted Posted in Leather, Personalised gifts

engraving reached A customer asked if I could personalise a hammer by engraving it. He bought a good quality one as a present for a friend who had started his own joinery business, and wanted to personalise it with his initials. Could I help?

What materials ?

This Estwing hammer is cast in metal as one unit and has a lovely leather binding around the handle.  My customer wanted the leather handle engraved. As leather engraves well, we arranged a time for him to pop round with it.

With jobs like this, I like it if the customer’s present. We can set up the artwork together to make sure it’s what they want. I can also check the best options for locations where items can be engraved. And customers love watching their items in production.

Where to engrave the hammer?

First, we had to decide where to engrave it to best effect. We chose the top part of the handle near the head. It wouldn’t be handled much and the area is always visible to the user. His friend is right handed, so we settled on the left side of the handle as it always faces the user.

Setting up the artwork

Firstly, we decided what area we had available. Secondly, I set up the artwork. My customer liked Times New Roman, and we scaled the letters to that they were 28 x 8mm.

Finally, I set up the hammer in the machine. The hammer’s handle tapered in the area we wanted to engrave, but the area was still flat rather than curved. This is important to help the laser maintain focus whilst engraving and this delivers best results.

Can you see the slates I used to prop up the hammer head in the photo? I did that so that the tapered part of the handle would be at 90 degrees to the laser head. I’d also engrave in the middle of the handle where the surface is flattest.

Personalising the hammer

After the first engraving, we saw white dust around the initials. I realised that the leather was varnished or coated for protection and the engraving had just gone into that. You can still see some of the white dust in the photo.

After the second pass, the engraving reached the leather itself and the mark was darker and clearer. My customer loved it and couldn’t wait to give his friend such a thoughtful gift.


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Posted Posted in Leather, Personalised gifts

Iain got married last Saturday. He presented his Best Men with high quality axes that he’d asked me to engrave for him. This is how we did it.

Engraving high quality axes

Iain knew he wanted axes, and he wanted them personalised for his friends. He searched for personalised axes, but he couldn’t find any of high quality, so he decided to buy the axes he wanted. He brought them to the workshop and we discussed how he wanted the engravings to look.

We had two options – to engrave the wooden handles, or the leather head covers. Iain decided he wanted the head covers engraved on the presentation side . There were logos on the wooden handle.

Axe head metal isn’t usually compatible with laser engraving as I’ve found from past experience, and the engravings would be more likely to be damaged during use.

I engraved a  leather cartridge belt recently. Iain had seen the pictures on social media and liked the effect.

Personalised text

After some thought, Iain decided to go with his best men’s initials and the date of the wedding. He wanted to keep things simple and bold, so we settled on the Arial font. There was a nice flat area on the leather covers for  30 x 30mm engravings.

We agreed that the engravings would look best orientated so the text of the engravings and axe branding all read on the same plane.

I created proofs for him to approve, making the initials 48 point and the dates 24 point to create neat 33 x 23mm rectangles that would fit the covers nicely.

axe after engraving

Engraving the axes

I set up individually in the in the laser to get the engraving positioning just right.  Then I wedged some perspex blocks under the blades to lift the areas to be engraved so they were as flat as possible to keep the laser in focus. This was much easier to do withthe covers were in position on the axes to keep them steady.

Iain loved the results and picked the axes up a couple of days before the wedding.


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

personalising a leather cartidge belt

Personalising a leather cartridge belt

Posted Posted in Leather, Other

Customers often ask if I can personalise special gifts. I’ve engraved wallets, wooden boxes and even axes for best men and ushers!

Vicky asked me if I could engrave a leather cartridge belt for her son’s landmark birthday. Leather engraves well, and the appearance of engravings depends on the colour, type and finish of the leather.

This belt was very high quality and if I made a mistake, I knew I’d have to buy a new one!

Creating the vector artwork

Vicky wanted her son’s initials engraved on the belt. I typed them into my software and chose a font that she liked. I suggested choosing a finer font as the engraved areas of leather don’t look particularly attractive. They’re best minimised for best effect.

Personalising the belt

Vicky wanted the engraving to sit to the right of the buckle when fastened. I measured the space between the right hand edge of the buckle when fastened on the tightest hole and the nearest edge of the cartridge holders. Then I created a rectangle to represent that area of the belt, centred the artwork at the size Vicky wanted in it so they’d be engraved in the right place. We were ready to engrave!

laser engraved cartridge belt

What does engraved leather look like?

Engraving leather is like engraving card of different colours. Dye colour and depth of shade, and the depth to which artwork is engraved all contribute to the appearance of the engraving. It’s usually darker than the shade of the material and browner too as engraving is a burning process.

I had some engraved dark brown leather samples to show Vicky. She was keen to have an engraving that would stand out well and possibly be recessed into the leather.

After setting up the belt in the machine and checking it was the right way up so the cartridges wouldn’t fall out, I engraved the belt using my usual raster engraving settings for leather. The first pass was so clear and Vicky was so pleased that she didn’t feel the need to have the engraving any deeper.


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

engraving leather welding aprons

Engraving leather welding aprons

Posted Posted in Leather

When Kate from The Cheesy Toast Shack asked me to engrave signs for their Edinburgh Festival pitch, she also asked if I could engrave aprons with their logo. Kate had found suede welding aprons and thought they would fit the image of The Cheesy Toast Shack perfectly. Staff members would wear these while serving their delicious toasties.

How to engrave an apron

Cut into a traditional apron shape from thick suede with a breast pocket, these aprons were beautiful and quite heavy. Kate had bought four of them.

I had cut and engraved leather before so I was sure we would get great results. Suede has a fuzzier and more textured surface than leather. A dark engraving would look great on them, like a brand.

Kate wondered about getting them engraved below the pockets. When I tried one on, we realised that this would probably be too low to be seen by customers looking up into the van. So we decided that engraving the pockets would give the logos maximum visual impact and frame them nicely. We measured the pockets and I resized the logo to fit neatly in the middle.

Engraving suede

Concerned that the engravings might burn through the suede completely, I test engraved one on the back of the pocket where it wouldn’t be seen.  After a couple of tests, I was confident that the engravings would be dark enough, but wouldn’t damage the aprons in any way.

As suede is flexible, I set up the laser with the honeycomb bed. It keeps non rigid materials like fabric, paper and flexible plastics flat during production. This is important as the laser needs to maintain focus on a material as it cuts or engraves.

Laying the aprons flat in the machine, I set up the laser head over the pockets and checked that the engraving would be correctly located. Logo detail like the toasting iron handle engraved crisply and the dark mark complimented the ochre suede. After processing four aprons, the workshop needed ventilating as engraving leather leaves a smell like burning flesh, even with extraction!

Kate was delighted with how the aprons came out. They added a great finishing touch to their food van along with their new recycled scaffolding board signs.


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