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Choosing the Right Wood for Laser Engraving

Choosing the Right Wood for Laser Engraving

August 05, 2016

Choosing the Right Wood for Laser Engraving

Custom engraving has long been a popular method for adding a personal touch to gifts and other memorial items. When it comes to achieving highly precise drawings of engraved messages, the use of lasers has the potential to create a powerful and lasting impression. First of all, wood has a natural aesthetic appeal that provides an awesome canvas for all types of engraving. While a laser has the potential to provide high quality engraving, the type of wood that is chosen for the job will immensely impact the final outcome, so it will be important to choose the best wood for the job. 

Choosing the Right Color 

When working on paper, it is easy to manipulate the color in order to achieve the desired color; however, when it comes to wood, the color cannot be easily manipulated. So, choosing the right color at the start is paramount. With this in mind, most experts suggest choosing the proper color before making any other decisions. Depending on the finished color that you are looking for, the type of wood that can be used will be reduced. 

Smooth Grain 

While there are times in which a heavy grain in the wood is useful, it is not the case with engraving. When the wood being used has a heavy grain, it leads to an uneven color distribution, meaning that some sections will be significantly darker than others, subsequently producing an uneven look. Working with a smoother grain will allow you to achieve a more even finish. 

Additionally, look for wood that has a consistent color throughout. 


When the wood has resin or sap on it, the laser will burn it, creating a darker look in areas that contained these substances. This is necessarily a bad thing, because the darker impressions can create the contrast that is aesthetically appealing. 

The Types of Wood for Laser Engraving 

When it comes to choosing the right wood for laser engraving, there are a number of choices, which include:  

  • Cherry: Cherry is very light, and it has an immensely high resin content, allowing for the creation of distinct contrast. 
  • Alder: Alder is one of those woods can past the muster on all considerations. It is light in color, with a supple texture, and it does not produce streaking.
  • Hard maple: It can be challenging to find hard, supple maple wood, when you can get your hands on it, it provides an extremely bright color, with minimum streaking.

Using a laser to ensure the specificity and quality of engraved woods is extremely important; however, if you do not choose the right type of wood, everything can be for naught. Choosing the right type of wood can ensure that you will achieve the consistency and contrast that you are looking for, all while reducing the streaking that can sabotage the project. 

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