Cleaning the 'laser burn' from the wood

hey y’all! I was wondering if anyone has used unmasked wood in their Glowforge. If so, what kind did you use (finished or unfinished, cherry, walnuts, etc.), and more importantly…how the heck did you clean off the laser burn marks from the top/bottom of the materials?

Glowforge store seems to be out of most materials and I’ve been looking on Etsy for proofgrade wood, but some of it seems to be unmasked, which can be an issue. And from a few early early experiments where I removed the masking from the wood before cutting it, the cleaning process could get pretty extensive and laborious.

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I cut leather and many types of unfinished hardwood: cherry, maple, walnut, red oak, mahogany, padauk, monkeypod, zebrawood. I never use masking. For me, a dry Mr Clean Magic Eraser does a good job of removing scorch marks from wood and leather.


I either mask the top myself (lots of sources of masking material posted here in the forum - I use a 12"x100yard roll so I can mask anything I’m putting in the machine) or I’ll hit it afterward with an orbital sander with 150 or 220 grit paper.

I’m too lazy to mask the back so if I want to avoid flashback I will put down a sheet of copy paper before putting the wood in top. The copy paper gets the flashback and the bottom of my wood stays clean.


Really? Would’ve never even thought of that. One of these?

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That’s…bloody brilliant!!!

Wish I had access for a sander, but I’ll be making quite a few products with small fine parts, so…a sander isn’t an option for them, unfortunately.


Just out of curiosity - why would you take the masking off first?

I’m too lazy to sand or scrub. If it’s light colored wood that I’m not going to stain dark or paint then I’ll just mask it myself and do @jamesdhatch’s copy paper underneath. A roll of masking is way cheaper than my limited time.


when I am sanding those fine parts here is what I use…


Truthfully - because I was an idiot and didn’t think the laser cutting would leave such intense scorch marks. :laughing: I learned my lesson after the first 2 or 3 sample cuts I made.

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I like that idea. I hate masking.

Yep, they work well. Much easier than picking little pieces of tape off of my parts. :slightly_smiling_face:

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And doesn’t damage the wood or finish at all?

If you’re working with finished wood, I don’t know. You could try it out on a piece of scrap first. I use the magic erasers on unfinished wood and leather without any problem. And vegetable tanned leather is fairly susceptible to scratching.

I just read the instructions, and the magic eraser is not recommended for “polished wood,” so they might be a no-go for your finished pieces.

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i don’t hate masking as much as i hate weeding.

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I have a bussing tub from sam’s club, that has a bunch of pool salt in it.

I just rub the parts around in there and presto the loose char is gone.

now the funny thing was that when I had learned of this technique, I had not 30 minutes before dumped the last of my pool salt on hand INTO the dang pool. so it was a trip to the pool supply store before I could try it. works great.


Yes these - but don’t buy the branded ones, they’re WAY overpriced. Buy something like this:

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I think you will find that name brand hand sanitizer dissolves the gunk very well and evaporates quickly, in extreme I have sprayed the wood with Clorox before brushing and then a quick wash in hand cleaner to disperse the water and chemicals, If the wood gets wet enough to warp, it can be pressed flat til it drys (may be several days) then it will stay flat.:grin:

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