Engraved earring tree (how I spent my weekend)

I made this pretty tree to hold all the earrings I’ve started making on my Glowforge.

It is 3mm maple plywood with woodgrain pattern. The design is originally from Laser Ready Templates. But that required some modifications to fit the design in the printable space. The tester version using draftboard was nice and sturdy. With the engraving on the maple, I have so fragile branches. I was thinking maybe a do-over with thick plywood, but I’m worried it will be really hard to get the earring through such deep holes. Any other way to “stiffen” the final design?


Nice work. There are a few of the branches that seem thin compared to ones that sprout further on. Even if it is a mm of slope, that might assist as you they grow smaller toward the end. There is a balance between light and airy and sturdy symmetry. One thing is to double check any sharp inner corners and round them out with a radius. Most of them have this but I see one that might be a bit sharp.

That’s my thinking.


How much is the engraving contributing to the lack of strength?
You could pin down a piece of maple ply, cut out the tree but not engrave it, and compare it to what you already have. If the non-engraved piece is sufficiently strong, then use a lighter engrave or (more work…) change the engrave pattern so that the lines on the branches follow them instead of crossing them. Looking at the bottom of the first fork on the lowermost branches, I’m guessing that’s a weak spot because the branch is not very wide and the engraved line going across the width weakens it at a stress point.
If the un-engraved piece is not noticeably stronger than the engraved piece, then you need to widen the sections where it’s weak. And as Marmak noted, round any sharp interior corners.

Some of us like to finish parts with thin CA glue. That strenghthens wood dramatically. Be warned that it can be messy, with a risk of wandering around with an earring tree stuck to your fingers.

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You could apply a wood hardener. It’s basically a resin suspended in a solvent, it soaks into the grain and when the solvent evaporates, the resin cures and strengthens the wood.


I keep forgetting this stuff; I even found where I could buy it, and then forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

Wow… Lowes/HomeDepot/etc. carry it (not necessarily that brand, there are many) here. It’s a pretty common wood restoration product.

So HomeDepot in Canada does not list it in Minwax brand, but they have a Varathane brand product. I will buy some and then I will not forget about it. No Lowes close by…

Same thing as far as I’m aware. You could compare the MSDS.

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Oh that would be perfect. Thanks for the tip!