Coaster Madness

Up to now I’ve only used Glowforge-approved PG material in my Glowforge Basic. But, then I was drawn in by a post here about a “sale” by Woodchuck’s Wood. Not the best experience. After cancelling the order they shipped me a stack of 1/4" and 1/8" cherry and walnut boards anyway.

Below is what I did with the stack of wood. All the coasters pictured are ~4" diameter. The “lasering” was done without any masking or pre-sanding of the rather rough walnut and cherry boards.

The above was cut from 1/4" walnut, using multiple passes to reduce “charring” in the kerfs. Required some serious sanding using by bench-top belt sander. Finished with Watco Danish Oil.

This cool Escher print already was in the shape of a coaster!

I like how the engraving using the 1/8" cherry boards turned out. To prevent the inevitable warping, I added a “ring” of 1/8" cherry with the grain rotated 90 degrees. I added a kerf-adjusted 3 mm acrylic window inside the wooden “ring” to protect the etching from whatever is placed on the coaster.

On the left is my first “test engrave”—which established very clearly that heavily etched 1/8" solid cherry warps!

On the right is the backside of the 4" Escher cherry wood “windowed” coaster. I used Inkscape’s “Hershey font” plug-in to create the text. I recommend “Path-Simplify” after placing Hershey text. When you need to add simple text to an item this font “scores” substantially faster than using engrave. Highly recommended.

These “L” (for Lightner) 4" contrasting wood coasters use two layers of 1/8" solid wood—walnut and cherry.

I purposely made no kerf adjustments to conserve material. Instead I mixed the wood filler shown with denatured alcohol to make a “runny” wood paste to fill the gaps between the two wood types. Not a perfect “fill” everywhere, but I learned enough to make it better (perfect?) next time. The 1/8" solid wood backing was glued to the pieced-together top using Gorilla wood glue.

Heavy sanding was required on the bench-top belt sander.

I like how everything turned out. I have not decided how to finish these coasters—maybe a simple clear polyurethane coating would be best? :sunglasses:


Awesome. As I’ve said before…



Very nice! I like the acrylic window…I’m trying to get one set up for a board game that needs it. :smile:


These are great! Way to make lemonade out of lemons.

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Very nice! The wood looks really good and awesome design.

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Very cool coasters!
But if you’re using an Escher print, you shouldn’t say you designed it–better to say something like “Escher image adapted for coaster designed by…”

But I’d be remiss to not point out that using the artwork could be a risk of copyright violation–best to confirm if it’s OK to use or not–especially if you are selling the work. Lots of discussions about IP infringement & copyright & trademark violations that I read about, so best to understand if you’re OK or not.

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Escher copyright issues have come up before.

I have no idea what is and isn’t ok, I am definitely no expert on copyright law.

Really nice coasters! And I really like the Escherest (new word) design. Big fan :sunglasses:


@bansai8creations @evansd2: Not to worry! Unlike (most?) people on this forum I do this strictly for fun and not for profit. I never expect to pay for my Glowforge by selling stuff!

I love Escher’s work. IMHO what I am doing for my own enjoyment falls under “fair use”, strictly non-commercial personal use. But thanks for pointing out the dangers of appropriating other people’s work. :sunglasses:


On your inlaid coasters - what adjustments did you have to make to get them to fit properly?

@chroni: No kerf adjustments at all. Therefore a small gap between the various “puzzle pieces”. This was an experiment to see if “wood filler” could hide the gaps, which I now consider promising (see this topic). Another thing I’d like to try is a two-part epoxy, both to fill the gaps and to protect the wood. :sunglasses:

Escher is up there with the NFL for playing hard ball with copyrights.
It is a caution that you need to pay attention to.

As someone who does this more for a hobby than to make money, it can get easy to ignore it all since it will never be ‘for sale’.
But it is a bad habit to acquire.


It doesn’t - or at least doesn’t in many parts of the world. I repeat this every so often.

  1. “Fair Use” does not care whether you are making a profit or not. " a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work."

  2. Copying another’s artwork denies them the due right to payment. Since many of us on this forum here are “creatives” and rely on fair payment for our materials to be used we can be very sensitive to the theft of our endeavours.

By example: If I walked into your workshop and took your belt-sander because I liked it and only wanted to use it at home. I think you would say this is not “fair use”

I’m not picking on your personally and we’ve all been guilty of this at some time or another - I just like to remind folks from time to time.


Maybe this is why I hate on-line forums. I thought this place was an exception? Let’s all gang up and beat the same exact subject to death—over and over again! I’ve been warned—no less than four times (and counting). Thank you so much. I promise not to blame any of you when the “Escher Police” come break down my door. (Too snarky?) :smiley:

On a completely different subject, how did you like what I shared about my coasters? :sunglasses:


Nobody ever expects… The Escher Inquisition!



Better? :sunglasses:


If you like Escher… You are going to love this.

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Very nice! Also, we are nearly neighbors (Del Mar/Carmel Valley here).

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Can’t beat the weather and location here in San Diego, California. The home prices are another thing entirely! :sunglasses:

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