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Thread: Best wood for engraving photos....besides cherry, alder and walnut?

  1. #1

    Question Best wood for engraving photos....besides cherry, alder and walnut?

    Hi I am in the Philippines and have searched everywhere for those types of wood and can't find any of those anywhere. Been doing aluminum dog tags and business cards mostly but people want BIGGER pictures than 3.5 x 2 inches. Are there any other acceptable types of wood for engraving photos? If not, what's a good source for 8 x 10 wood plaques in cherry or alder? (not frames) I looked at laserbits site and they don't have 8 x 10 plaques that I could find. I also did a google search but came up with a bunch of China sites with no real info. Thank you

  2. #2
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    Bamboo works pretty well but cherry and alder are probably the best. I think walnut is too dark and you can't get any contrast. I'm not sure who will ship to the Philippines, but JDS, and others here in the U.S., have lots of plaque choices.

    Gary
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    I have always had better results with hard maple than anything else but it requires more time to engrave a photo with good contrast than softer woods like cherry and red alder.
    Mike Conley

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    Anything light-colored with heavy sap will net you a dark burn on a light background. Beyond that, it will run to your tastes...
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  6. #6
    Dan

    What wood would be light colored with heavy sap?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    What wood would be light colored with heavy sap?
    Pine?

    I don't have a specific answer for this one, just suggesting a general direction. So much is left to taste... how much contrast do you want, how dark of a background can you get away with, how dark do you want the engraving, how detailed does the engraving need to be, etc.

    One of these days someone will break down and make a convenient chart that narrows down your choice by selecting tight/loose grain, dark/medium/light color, and so on... but it won't be me.
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  8. #8
    Cherry engraves nice, but does darken with age.

    JDS is a good supplier and now they have a "premium" line of Alder, basically it's matched for color
    and graining which is better for photos. Most plaques 8x10 and larger are glued up pieces so you can
    have a pretty good variance every couple inches. This premium line does a good job to make it
    consistant (as much as possible) across the whole plaque, also they seem to have a nicer finish on them.
    I use those instead of their regular line now.

    If you order $1000+ it includes free shipping. (not certain that covers Philippines)
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  9. #9
    Maybe we can help you more if we know what you do have access to on your island. If you could list what's readily available, I'm sure someone can pick the good out fairly easily.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    Dan

    What wood would be light colored with heavy sap?
    Maple can be that way. Look for white maple with gray/tan sections in it. That will
    give you lots of sap when you put it in the laser.

  11. #11
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    Dan,

    Its not a high sap content its the resin content that makes certain wood species engrave well. Case in point Pine is the worst.
    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Outten View Post
    Dan,

    Its not a high sap content its the resin content that makes certain wood species engrave well. Case in point Pine is the worst.
    .
    Could be wrong here, but isn't wood resin simply another name for dried sap?
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  13. #13
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    Hi Bruce;
    If you are in the Philippines you should have access to Philippine mahogany-outstanding wood for photo engraving-better than all the others
    Best Regards;
    George
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by George M. Perzel View Post
    Hi Bruce;
    If you are in the Philippines you should have access to Philippine mahogany-outstanding wood for photo engraving-better than all the others
    Best Regards;
    George
    Laserarts
    George is right. I have some mahogany veneer that engraves beautifully. Solid mahogany will cut poorly though. You should have plenty of it over there.
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  15. #15
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    Luan is called P Mahog. Not a true Mahog but a close relative. The lighter shades with the least red is best. Ribbon grain is distracting. I engrave Luan plywood but I don't try to cut in with the laser. Push comes to shove, black or dark poster paper with a white core works great and is quicker. I've done a lot of experimenting with photos on different materials you can check my photo albums on Picture Trail. There's a link in my bio.

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