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HOW TO PERSONALIZE LEATHER WITH EMBOSSING OR ENGRAVING
Personalizing leather with an embossed or engraved monogram instantly elevates it, whether it’s a bison leather wallet or a handsome leather tote bag. Personalized leather gifts will last a lifetime, passed down as heirlooms that celebrate a family’s history. And while we’re all delighted by the finished product, few of us have ever seen firsthand the process of neatly embossing or engraving letters into otherwise rugged and resilient tanned leather.
While the overall process of personalizing a gift with leather imprinting is pretty simple, the mastery of design and the details can be quite difficult. But you don’t have to be a master to pursue leather embossing or engraving in your own home — you’ll just want to start practicing on leather scraps before you move on to finished leather products. We’ll explain how to monogram leather with an embossing or engraving tool in just a few simple steps.
Engraving vs. Embossing Leather
The two most common ways to hand tool leather are engraving and embossing. The simplest way to distinguish the two is that embossing compresses the leather, while engraving actually removes some amount of leather by cutting and scraping. Each can be used to personalize leather gifts, with different results. At Orvis, we use the embossing process to personalize our leather gifts.
How to Emboss Leather
It’s easiest to emboss unfinished leather, but it’s also possible to emboss finished, or stained, leather with some practice. To emboss leather you’ll need a few tools. Start with a sturdy work surface, two to four C-clamps, metal embossing stamps with the shape, pattern, or letters you wish to emboss, a cylinder to hold the stamps, a wooden mallet, and, of course, a piece of unfinished or finished leather.
How to Engrave Leather
Engraving leather is similar to embossing; you’ll use many of the same tools and, in fact, the stamps are often very similar — they’re just designed to cut more than push. Again, start with a sturdy work surface, two to four C-clamps, metal engraving stamps, cylinder tool, wooden mallet, a bevel tool, and the leather you wish to engrave.
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