Breaking up with Bamboo

I have successfully cut bamboo cutting boards in the past. But this particular project/product is different (the lid to a jewelry box). So I went through the posts on Bamboo, & used the recommended settings of 1000/100/340 LPI. The bamboo lid is .5 “ thick).

The overall engraving came out ok (a bit deeper than I’d like). However, as you can see, the university seal came out almost black. :cry:

Is there any way to lighten it up now? (some type of product that would lighten it?)

Also, the wood - after engraving - has a horrible pungent, skunk-like smell(?!) Could this be due to some type of synthetic/chemical added to it? Maybe it’s “faux” bamboo? :thinking: Any suggestion re: how to get rid of the smell?

TIA for your help!

(Name on photo crossed out for privacy)


I’ve had luck with orange grit soap and a toothbrush before but it’s hit or miss.


Spraying it with a clear coat or something might eliminate the smell.


I have used hydrogen peroxide to lighten engravings. It takes a day or so to see the full effect of the peroxide treatment.

The odor is likely due to the glue that binds the bamboo fibers together. Polyurethane or polyacrylic will seal it.


Water, toothbrush or not water and just the toothbrush has helped my dark engravings in the past. I’ve not engraved bamboo before, so I can’t tell you specifically if it’ll work. And that’s the problem with edge jointed sheets like this (bamboo will always be that way) you’ll never get consistent engraves because each piece of the sheet is different.


For some of the small text careful rubbing with 600-or finer sand paper should brighten it a bit, but looking there are places where it is not so bad and places where it is worse. Bamboo is like that. Hard maple will do better.

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I’ve used white vinegar and a toothbrush successfully but I’ve never used bamboo.

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