View Full Version : newby needs help with eastern red cedar

Vince Williams
07-10-2006, 10:43 PM
I am very new to the laser world, in fact my machine will not be here until the end of the week. My question is does anyone have any suggestions on engraving red cedar?? My primary projects for the time being is engraving cedar chest! Thanks in advance for any assistance

Dave Fifield
07-11-2006, 2:16 AM
Hi Vince,

Hope your laser arrives okay....let us know how you get on with it. Which model did you go for?

For engraving, you should always try a sample of the wood first. Even within a species, various batches of wood will need different amounts of power/speed for best effect. When you are happy with the settings, record them in a small notebook (or on your computer) for future reference. Only when you are happy with the results should you actually start the main job - you will waste a lot of material if you don't!

Your laser's user manual will have recommendations as to what settings to start from. Look for the settings for engraving wood at 600dpi (or whatever density your artwork is). For my 45W laser engraver, Epilog suggests 45% speed/100% power for engraving wood at 600dpi. I have found this setting burns too much on most woods (probably because the laser is actually more powerful than the manufacturer states - I gather that the 45W number is the minimum power output!). I generally use something like 35% power/85% speed.

You should experiment using a small section of the picture you are going to engrave.

BTW, do you have PhotoGraV software? I have found this an indispensible tool when it comes to preparing pictures for lasering, on all kinds of material. You can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get the settings right manually. PhotoGraV does it in seconds and gets it almost perfect every time.

Cheers for now,
Dave F.

Vince Williams
07-11-2006, 8:21 AM
Thanks Dave, I have purchased the pinnacle 25 watt machine from signwarehouse. I have a lot of wood scrap around the shop and I guess the pile will grow when my laser gets here. I will keep you posted on any progress.

Take Care

George M. Perzel
07-11-2006, 8:27 AM
Hi Vince;
Welcome to the Creek and good luck with your laser. I have engraved a number of eastern cedar outdoor signs and red cedar plaques. As Dave said, you have to try a sample a play around with the settings as much depends on the machine, power, speed, wood characteristics (even changes in the same type of wood).
Generally, I laser engrave most wood at 70% speed, 100% power on my 60 watt LaserPro. Hope this helps.

Bruce Volden
07-11-2006, 11:16 AM

Be aware "knots" are much harder to engrave as they are more dense and your engraving depth will prove this out. Also, hopefully, you will not be engraving "raw " wood as this will absorb the smoke residue and will be very noticeable. I ALWAYS prefer finished / sealed wood to engrave into.


Dave Jones
07-11-2006, 4:18 PM
If you do have raw wood to engrave, you might want to get a roll of "medium tack masking paper". It's sold at most laser supply websites and sign supply companies. It's a smooth white paper with adhesive on the back. It's sort of a wide, smooth masking tape. A piece of that over the raw wood and any unlasered parts of the wood are protected from the smoke. The rest of it gets burned off as you laser through it. You do have to up the power slightly, but it gives a clean surface to raw wood.

Frank Corker
07-11-2006, 8:05 PM
Dave, interesting fact about the 45w being the minimum that it puts out, I have the same machine as you and I was wondering why I was getting the burning with the settings they supply. Would also explain why a reduction of a lot of power settings I have had to make in order to get the piece exactly the way I wanted it. You live and learn!

Vince Williams
07-11-2006, 9:28 PM
Thanks Everyone For The Advice!!!