Deepest engrave possible in baltic birch while maintaining fine details in my drawings

I am a printmaker. I use my drawings to engrave my printing blocks . If I raise the Lpi too high the wood fries. 2nd pass was deep but lost more of the fine detail I would like. I need it deep enough to be able to apply the ink to the raised areas only with a brayer(rubber roller). Any suggestions and pics welcome.

If you hit the center layer of wood all bets are off.

I’d go with solid basswood if depth were a priority.

Edit: oh and multiple passes.


… or a manufactured product like MDF (Proofgrade Draftboard) or Acrylic.


You probably started at the wrong end of the scale for what you’re trying to do.

Try 340 or 450 lpi with the multiple passes. 270 will also give you “pretty good” but you need to experiment with the wood that you’re using and different speeds. I’d think high speeds with multiple passes.

You might want to try score after engraving too.

Testing for what you want is key. Good luck.


This might be of interest.


With the new high speed engraves you can go deep at very high LPI and still not fry the wood. I have been using variable engraves to get a nice relief carving but would would as well for what you are doing.

To get the maximum 2d detail I would look to hard Maple as it fries less and has very tight grain. I am not sure you could get Birch at such a tight polish that you can get from raw Maple. :proofgrade: maple has a finish that would not act like the raw Maple


Second the mdf idea. I used Draftboard for the project below and it gave great results (no grain lines in project) although it might not hold up to as many prints as plywood.

In that one I cut out the pieces for the print, but I did do other projects by deep engraving and got similar results:


What settings did you use? The proof grade ones or something else? Yours is exactly what I was looking to do.

For the one that I cut (the first one) I just used default cut settings for Draftboard. For the one that I engraved, I used the following settings: speed 700, power full (on a Pro), 195lpi, one pass, 0.125 inch thickness. This is for Proofgrade Draftboard, I don’t know how that would translate to Baltic birch.

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