Can I engrave on high gloss finished hardwood?

Hi, I was given several different pieces of beautiful hardwood from a cabinet maker that all have a high gloss finish on them. They are all 3/4" thick, 12" x 3.5". Do I need to cover the gloss finish with tape or paper? Since they are 3/4" thick… it sounds like I need to take the crumb tray out (which I did to test and the lines were so thin and not deep). I am a newbie and so confused about the settings and measurements. I have been watching and reading a lot of tutorials, but I still need help. Help please.

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Did you did mean to open a support ticket with staff? I don’t think so because they can’t help with non-proofgrade material questions, but I’m double checking. If no, we can move the post to Everything Else, and folks here on the forum can give you a hand.


The quick answer is ~probably~
If you can find out what the gloss is, and what the hardwood is, you’ll have a better chance of getting to an answer quickly.

Yes you’ll have to remove the tray, and then raise the material so it’s within 1/2" of the lens. The lines being thin/not deep are a function of power and speed. Cut/Score lines are always thin - about the thickness of the laser beam (.008"?). Engrave lines can be fatter - depends on how fat you make them :-). Increased depth can be made with either higher power, or lower speed. Some hardwoods cut beautifully, others resist every attempt.


Thank you

Thank you. Your answer was very helpful. I’m going to print this out for reference.

It’s solid hardwood, right? Not something engineered?

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They are all solid wood. With a Poly Urathane finish. (I think)

I have laser engraved hundreds of brewery tap handles on the Glowforge for a couple years. These are three sided maple with a poly like coating in a jig. Don’t know precisely the poly formulation or do I know what your coating is. The tap handles come that way from the manufacturer. Either way it works well. The coating protects the wood like a masking. The stains from engraving wipe right off with a damp cloth. After engraving I wipe dark acrylic paint in the engrave and wipe off cleanly. The thick acrylic paint doesn’t wick into the grain of the wood like an oil paint. If I didn’t darken the engrave with paint a daily quick cleaning of the handles at the brewery eventually bleach the engrave. The acrylic paint has held up perfectly on the earliest handles for two years. I should note that there is a slight splash back of the poly coating during engraving that will quickly (10-20 hours) become noticeable on the laser lens. Cleans off well with the Zeiss wipes.

BTW: the center handle was my very first test. You might notice that the engraving is upside down to where the tap screw goes in the handle. My one and only screw up for the customer.


Thank you so much for your reply. I’m learning so much from everyone on this forum. All the tips and hints are very helpful and very appreciated.

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