Alderwood Plaque

Ive been asked to engrave a plaque. The plaque is made of Alderwood. What are some recommendations as far as the settings

On the Janka hardness scale, alder wood is right above poplar and below many hardwoods. I’ve cut 1/4 poplar before with (I THINK) full strength and 150-180 for speed. Engraving is different, but you can search the forums for different species and see what others have used, then compare to this chart for comparable settings.

13 Likes

First step: Search the forum; sometimes you get lucky and the exact material you are looking to use has already been through the “dialing it in” process by someone else and you have a solid place to start.

Second: Dial it in. The eventual result is so dependent on not only the material, but the finish it already has and the affect you are hoping to achieve; not to mention how you prepare it (masking, mostly). Start with some settings for known material you’ve used that seem close to what you’re using, keeping in mind that different finishes can react surprisingly differently.

If you have a ton of material to experiment with, then you can just start guessing and tweek the speed/power/passes to home in on it. But that can mean a lot of wasted material.

If you have one shot, then start low power, high speed and do a bunch of safe passes, cautiously dialing it up as you feel safe.

And then, of course, post your results (successes AND failures) so this crazy collective can group-learn. :grinning:

8 Likes

THAT is a handy chart to have. Great tip.

3 Likes

I used to have a really cool printed one in the workshop when I turned a lot of wood. I kept using exotics (purple heart, zebra wood) and they would dull a tool faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Looking at the hardness scale gave me some kind of reference as to how often I’d have to sharpen a chisel!

I’ve moved 4 times since I had that poster, no idea where it went…

4 Likes

I love Alder! If I remember right, I started with the PG Poplar settings and they worked pretty well. At least you’ll have some wiggle room since you don’t have to cut it. Start with conservative numbers and you can always run it again of it’s not deep/dark enough.

2 Likes

Thanks. I’ll give that a shot.

Lamar M. Ware

1 Like

Im thinking About 550speed, full power

1 Like

I personally wouldn’t start out that slow unless you want to go really deep, but that’s just me. (You can always take more, but you can’t put materiel back) It might be OK depending on the type of image though. FWIW, I looked it up and this one was done at 500/full vary power on poplar I think. It goes pretty deep on the blackest parts of the image. Let us know what you end up doing and how it turns out.

7 Likes

I’ve done quite a few plaques using alder. I love this wood for engraving as it engraves very evenly and has minimal grain. The settings depends on what you’re engraving of course, but for text I use 1000/80. That leaves a little smoke residue but it comes off easily with a light sanding.

2 Likes

Im doing text and will be including this image as well

Lamar M. Ware

3 Likes

You might need to tone it down to 70 or so for the image. Maybe even 65. Depends on how dark/deep you want it engraved.

Sounds good. So 65 at around full speed

Lamar M. Ware

2 Likes

Is this the actual image you used to engrave Lamar or do you have a cleaner version
of it? (I think I remember you posting about it on the FB list and wasn’t sure if you got a got version of it.)

This was the actual image I engraved. Turned out pretty well.

Lamar M. Ware

1 Like

Yes it did. You did a really nice job with it. :slight_smile: