Because there so many different types of wood available, it has become one of the most popular materials to engrave and cut with a laser. There are so many different projects that can be completed with this versatile material. Not only can you engrave it, but you can also cut through most types of wood up to 3/4″. The best wood for laser engraving depends a lot on the project you are planning on doing.
Because wood is a natural material, there are some inconsistencies that can make engraving it a challenge. Your engraving results can vary greatly even when engraving similar types of wood. However, once you get the hang of it and have specific speed and power settings in place for the various types of wood you’re working with, you will find that the results are truly priceless.
As always, you can use a fill paint to fill in the engraving on any type of wood to really make it pop. Different staining techniques can also create a unique effect when creating laser engraved cut or engraved projects.
How to Determine the Best Wood for Laser Engraving
If you’re planning to use wood as your primary material for laser engraving, or just want to dabble around in creating laser engraved or cut wood products, keep these things in mind as you venture into this versatile material and determine the best wood for laser engraving:
Check the Resin Content
Wood typically burns lighter or darker, depending on the resin or sap content. If you want a darker burn, opt for wood that has high resin content like Cherry or Alder wood. If you’re looking to leave a minimal burn for a specific application, you’ll want to go for wood with lower resin content.
A good way to verify the resin content of wood without wasting any material is to use your wood laser etching machine to engrave the logo of your business in a place that won’t affect the overall personalization of the product. This test not only allows you to brand your product but lets you figure out the darkness or lightness of the burn as well.
Opt for Lighter Wood
Unlike paper, whose color you can easily manipulate, the base color of a laser-etched wooden product does not change. The base color always follows the color of the wood. Thus, it is vital to consider the wood’s color to allow you to achieve an excellent outcome.
When checking out wood color, refrain from working with dark wood. Darker wood usually obscures the laser etching marks, making engraved photos or text difficult to see or recognize. Lighter wood, in contrast, develops a dark and deep burn when etched, giving you well-defined marks for optimal visibility.
Choose Wood with Minimal Streaking
While streaks on wood look great on furniture, they become a distraction for engraved photos. Wood striping can quickly rob the engraving of any detail. When shopping for wood to laser engrave, choose one that has minimal streaks and a smooth, consistent grain.
Pick the Best Wood Species
There are many wood species available for laser engraving, some being more suitable than others. If you are just getting started working with wood, we recommend starting with one of the following: (these woods are easy to work with and produce excellent results!)
- Alder – This wood passes all the tests. It features a light color, has a supple texture, and has minimal streaking. Make Alder your top choice for laser engraving projects.
- Cherry – A blonde cherry wood has a high resin content and is typically light in color. Although it has high levels of streaking, cherry is still an excellent choice for many laser etching projects.
- Maple – This is an excellent wood for engraving photos. It has light streaking, burns dark most of the time, and is light in color.
Why AP Lazer for Engraving Wood?
Aside from determining the best wood for laser engraving, you may also be wondering what the best laser engraver is for wood. You probably already know there are a dozen or so laser machines on the market, each with their own perks. But what makes AP Lazer the best laser machine for engraving wood?
Our patented laser systems feature an open architecture design which will allow you to engrave nearly any size or weight of material. Large furniture and other bulky materials can easily be engraved. The removable laser top makes it possible to engrave directly on wood flooring or other wood surfaces. Larger engravings mean more substantial profits for your business, and you can offer services your competitors aren’t able to fulfill. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t want any limitations when it comes to size or weight, AP Lazer is for you!
Our wood laser engraving machine will complement your existing machinery, delivers a high ROI, has a low operating cost, and is easy to learn and use. With our laser machine, you can engrave logos, photos, and other customized artwork to wood, allowing you to add priceless value through personalization to many of your wooden products.