Charring on veneer?

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#1

So I have some cherry veneer left over from a project, which I intend to ‘forge’. I’d like to get a feel for how little charring is possible when cutting at optimum power (full?) & speed (max?) ratio - whatever that may be for cherry).

The sheets are only 0.6mm thick. I accept that there would be some charring but with fast cuts on such thin material, is it a case of light sanding (a bit hard to do on such fragile sheeting…) or perhaps a wipe with some magic solution?

Has anyone here cut veneer with a laser?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.


#2

I haven’t yet but @marmak3261 has for sure…check out some of his projects in the Made on a Glowforge category.


#3

You would want to make it as low power as possible to just get through it to minimize charring- but the char is really only noticeable on the edge, .6mm wide as you say.

Marking on the flat surfaces would be due to poor airflow or poor masking when you run higher power on it.

There’s a couple ways around it, but the first thing would be to get your power/speed optimized on a test scrap first. Something that thin shouldn’t take too much to get through.


#4

I don’t have any direct experience, but I’m planning on using veneers a lot, so I’ve got my eye on a product called “liquamask” sold on laserbits (though I’m getting a 404 error from it?!). The basic idea is that maybe masking the area to be lasered will make it easy to remove the char (b/c it will be the masking that gets charred).


#5

I have some veneer that I want to inlay when I get my Glowforge. My veneers consist of Purpleheart, Padauk, Black Walnut and many other exotic woods. Possibilities are endless.


#6

I got the same error trying to go through laserbits, but saw that it was trying to connect to johnson plastic, and just went there instead.
http://www.johnsonplastics.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=liquamask
A pint is 20 bucks, and drying time is 20-30 minutes. Don’t know what situations would require this instead of the much cheaper paper masking materials, but if you had such a situation I could see it being worthwhile.


#7

Here is a side view:

And here are the letters with the masking still on. There is a very slight wisp of smoke on the surface of the masking at the inside corners. It will depend on what you are cutting.

The inlay for the compass rose had some charing around the long edges of the darts because the smoke blew over the kerf the entire cut of that side. Walnut more pronounced the the maple.


#8

Thanks @marmak3261, how thick are those letters?


#9

Thanks @cynzu and @jbv. We’ll have to try that.

Ultimate goal? Finding a light based technology that gives us completely vanilla cut edges on all timbers of any thickness. 2023, here we come…


#10

Any reason why tape masking would not work to stop the charing (less costly than the liquidmask) ?


#11

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent edge charring… No mask helps with that. That only keeps the surface from getting soot and sap on it from the cuts. Lord, it would be nice for someone to invent something that would do that though!


#12

It has already been done, see Dealing with Edge Burns


#13

Kept forgetting to check this out. The veneer without masking or backing cover is 0.026".


#14

Thanks @marmak3261
That’s about the nominal thickness of the veneer I have as well and seems to be a pretty common gauge.