Leave A Lasting Impression

How do the best leather hides turn into beautiful masterpieces of texture and design? One method is embossing. There are many different methods of embossing, including roller, laser, and plate. Roller embossing is typically done at tanneries during the leather production process. With roller embossing, the pattern is on a large cylinder that slowly rolls over the surface of a flat hide, from one end to the other. Roller embossing is usually done on full hide sizes, thus ensuring no plate lines on the final product.
Laser embossing on hair hide.

Another method used in the industry is laser embossing, also known as laser etching. Heat and computerized lasers are used to burn patterns onto the surface of the hide. The lasers are programmed to create custom patterns, such as logos, monograms, or other unique designs. For custom laser embossing, you need to provide “camera-ready” artwork with exact dimensions of how the design should be positioned on the hide or cut piece. Once you’ve selected the leather product and the quantity needed, we can provide a price quote and lead time. If you are interested in custom laser embossing, simply contact our customer service department and we would be happy to help you through the process.

The most common method of embossing uses plates. The pattern appears on a flat, rectangular plate that is carefully placed on the hide. Using a combination of heat and pressure, the pattern from the plate is pressed into the leather. The plate is then moved to another area of the hide. This process is repeated until the pattern appears over the entire hide. Embossing plates vary in size, depending on the pattern. There may be minor plate marks or small areas on the hide where the pattern overlaps and a slight seam may appear along the length of the hide. Plate embossing is typically done on half hide sizes only, due to the size constraints of the plates. However, some patterns with larger plate sizes are done on full hides as well.

When placing an order for embossed leather, there are a number of items to keep in mind. First, it is important to choose the proper type of leather for your project. Since embossing is done using a combination of heat and pressure, some leather products will respond differently under those conditions. For example, the color of full aniline leather will tend to become darker as it is exposed to heat. There may be drastic color variations when full aniline leather is embossed. Likewise, the right type of leather must be properly matched with the embossing pattern. In some cases, the pattern may pull out if the leather is too soft and the pattern does not have a lot of depth. Your customer service or sales representative will be able to help you select the perfect leather for your project.

The leather becomes darker after being embossed.

Second, it is always advisable to inquire about the direction of the pattern and the pattern repeat. While not all patterns are directional or have repeats, it is always a good idea to know exactly how the pattern appears on the embossing plate and what direction the plate will be placed on the hide. Typically, the plate is placed horizontally on the hide. However, you may request the plate be rotated and placed vertically instead. Keep in mind that rotating the plate will affect your cutting yields. The diagrams below demonstrate different plate positioning options.

Three different plate positioning options.

Finally, if you are concerned about the appearance of plate lines, ask about the plate size. Knowing the plate sizes will help you anticipate where seams and overlaps may possibly appear on the hide and how that may affect your cutting yields. Gathering as much information as possible upfront will help make the entire process run smoothly, from start to finish.

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