Best and worst hardwoods

I have seen some different threads talking about different woods (like I had the best day) so I already am thinking of staying away from Rosewood and Lacewood, and I know there is the wood toxicity database, but that seems to indicate all kinds of common woods are irritants. From just general experience, when it comes to fire, irritants, etc, what have been the best and worst hardwoods you might have used in your GF both for engraving and cutting?

I want to get into thicker wood than is sold in proof grade but am flexible on which woods to steer towards or steer away from.



Lots of prior art here.


I use both 1/4" and 1/8" of the following woods in my shop:
Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Bocote, Purpleheart

I also use White Oak a lot but only in 1/4"
Same with Redheart and Yellowheart.

All of those wood types I am able cut and engrave with my GF. Purpleheart is the only one that chars on the edge but just a bit and I am able to sand that down.

I tried zebrawood but yeah it’s just too much. I was about to try bolivian rosewood but read the forums and backed away from that.

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Bocote is also pretty stubborn stuff.

I’ve been really fortunate with bocote. It took a while to perfect the settings but it has consistently given me a nice cut, with smooth caramelized edges.
With the maple, walnut, and cherry I have to tweak my settings with each new board (different grains and such). So I have two preferred settings per wood type, just in case one gives me trouble.

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Rachal, could you please tell me what your settings are for the 1/8" of each of the woods?