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View Full Version : Which woods do, and don't, engrave well



Steve McKee
03-13-2007, 4:00 PM
Hi all, was wondering if anyone had any kind of list of which woods do engrave well and which ones to avoid. I did find a thread on which woods cut, and don't cut, well but have not found anything on engraving.

Thanks in advance for any info you may have.

Steve

Joe Pelonio
03-13-2007, 4:14 PM
I've never seen a wood that was a problem to engrave, it's just different settings for different woods, because the density varies. Oak will engrave beautifully with lettering, but for photos or detailed clipart you need something with less grain, like basswood or baltic birch. Even woods that won't cut at all like some of the mahoganies will engrave OK, but may need paint filling since there's not much conrast between the engraving and background.

John Hardage
03-13-2007, 5:43 PM
Somtimes it depends on what you're engraving. I've got a pine sign that I did that was well received. It comes out with ribbing because of uneven density and sap/knots in some areas. It looks good with western theme things because it has that kind of roughed out look. I burned the letter edges with a soldering iron to ad contrast. If I want a nice, pristine lettering and even depth I use Alder.

Scott Shepherd
03-13-2007, 8:29 PM
I did a piece of cedar and it had a ton of resin in it. Not sure I'd want to do much of it. It was quite messy and sticky.

Keith Outten
03-13-2007, 8:39 PM
Steve,

My short list of woods that have engraved well for me is pretty standard information.

Maple, Ash, Alder, Cherry, Mahogany, Hickory, Purple Heart, Poplar and Walnut.

The list of wood species that I feel don't engrave well are Pine and Oak because of their grain or low resin content. Some pine species won't burn at all like very old Heart Pine, you can get plenty of depth but no contrast at all.

As you can see I haven't had experience with many exotic species.

.

Nancy Laird
03-13-2007, 9:45 PM
Steve,

My short list of woods that have engraved well for me is pretty standard information.

Maple, Ash, Alder, Cherry, Mahogany, Hickory, Purple Heart, Poplar and Walnut.

.

Birch also engraves quite well - we did plaques for the State Fair from birch the first year, maple the second year, and unless you put the two side by side, you really couldn't tell a lot of difference.

Alder also vectors nicely. Used some 1/4" to make drawer dividers for my kitchen. Did a job in about 45 minutes that would have taken forever :mad: by another method. DAMHIKT!!

Nancy

Steve McKee
03-14-2007, 10:20 AM
Okay, here's why I asked the question. I did a Black Ash cremation box and while it wasn't horrible it wasn't very good either. The darker "bands" did okay while the lighter ones were virtually untouched. I assume this is due to the lighter ones being more dense, though I'm not sure. Dave F mentioned this same problem in response to my inquiry about lasering Black Ash so apparently it wasn't just me. I ran the job 3 times which made it a little better but still not what I would consider acceptable. So, for future reference, I'll know not to do a job like this without having some scrap to try first. Lesson learned. Thanks to everyone for your response.

Steve