Best wood for scoring and engraving

Can someone recommend a good wood for scoring and engraving. I am looking for high contrast because I will be only sealing the wood and not staining. I tried some cherry and not too bad. Walnut barely showed the score. Thanks!

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it often literally depends on the piece of wood. i have walnut that engraves wonderfully and with great contrast.

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Is that walnut hardwood or ply?

1/4" hardwood. can’t remember where i bought it now. it was just fairly resiny. so that resin really charred black when it engraved. masking was a sticky black mess.

it’s not super grainy, like some of my walnut. and i’ve engraved some that wasn’t nearly as contrasty. but there are plenty of different species of walnut and they can grow in very different environments, which probably affects that resin and thus how much char you see. also, keep in mind most of those were fairly heavy lines/shapes, so that could help as well.

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Several have used (including me) the Home Depot PureBond Maple (or walnut, birch, etc.). It engraves very well. It’s a wood core with maple veneer. I really like it!

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The lighter the wood the more likely it will be easier to see the scores/engraves, so if you don’t want to go to basswood or similar light woods with known quantities your best bet is looking at the individual pieces - and testing.

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kinda? some darker woods actually can get better contrast. some lighter woods don’t engrave that dark.

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True - and some dark woods engrave really dark, but in general…

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I use alder a lot. It’s light in color with minimal grain to distort the engrave.

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very roughly yes, but it’s more important to have a wood that “chars” more when engraved to get contrast than have the absolute lightest base wood.

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Or engrave with the masking on and then shoot it with a spray of a dark stain. I use Polyshades. Peel the masking off and you have a nice dark and even colored engrave.

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