Yes Sir. I have Used regular silk screen with the photo emultion and it's OK. Any of the screen stencil/ masking methods work OK. The problem is the detail. It always bleeds under the screen and then you have to re-finish the blade. When you mask the blade then laser cut the mask there is no bleeding under the masking and the detail is really crisp and clear. On most my leather knives I do the Thermark/Cermark marking and it is very durable but it is a powder coat on top of the blade and could possibly rub off. It hasn't happen to any of my knives that are out there yet....BUT???? AND then again the etching on the one Kramer that I did get to handle was all but gone just from normal wiping.
As far as the stencil burning I would take the voltage down to about 5v DC at just a couple of mA and 5 cycles at 5 seconds and let the electrolysis do the metal removal then then switch polarity to put the color. There is a ton of info on this subject at a bunch of the knife forums.
BTW...weird as hell....just after posting the link to Ernie he calls me....TOO WEIRD!!!