Cutting Non-Proof grade wood charring/black coming off the cut edges

I am trying to use non proofgrade wood in my Glowforge. Its cutting and engraving fine, especially when I mask it. My question is how do you stop or prevent the black charring on the inside and outside edges. I find that it gets EVERYWHERE. I have tried to sand it and seal it but im not sure if Im missing something. The proofgrade materials are so expensive right now at glowforge, double what they were when I first got my machine. (which i understand but drives up my cost for my customers) I buy the draftboard and hardwood in sheets from home depot and menards but the black comes off from the edges from where the laser has burned the wood. Any suggestions?

You can’t. You’re burning through the wood with a laser. It’s going to char, but not all woods char as much as others. Cedar for instance cuts pretty clean. You can use alcohol on a cloth to wipe the edges.


Yeah I just was curious as to why the hardwood and basswood chars so much more. If there was something I could do to stop it or clean it up better without sanding and sealing. As with the proofgrade products I don’t get black all over everything. lol

I was just hoping that I was missing something. I’ll try cedar! Thank you for the suggestion!

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What @beerfaced said plus you can minimize charing by experimenting with speed and power settings. As a general rule, fast and hot work best.


Ok I will try that too! Thank you for the suggestion!

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It sounds like you are burning too hot. You should try a material test.

Here is the one I have used in the past when trying out a new material.

If you can get the setting dialed in just right, you should have minimal or no charring.


There is also an outside chance that your design might be causing excess charring. If the design has too many nodes or multiple paths stacked on top of each other they can both lead to over-lasering and charring.

Like @markevans36301 said, hot and fast is generally the best way to avoid char, even multiple passes at higher speeds can lead to less char than one pass.


Oh! Thank you!
Thats super helpful!


I forgot to mention earlier, a great way to get a starting point is to look at similar materials that you do know about.
Also there are definitely exceptions to my hot and fast rule. Adams foam board for instance cuts best with a light burn and multi passes.