Engraving black walnut cutting board

I’m sure it has been asked 90x, but I cannot find it. What would you recommend for settings engraving a black walnut cutting board? I’ve tried the default hardwood setting, and my engraving was rather light. I’d like a dark, bold contrast.


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Some materials darken more than others. It’s just soot. Walnut is one of the cleanest woods (in my experience), i.e. it doesn’t burn as easily, so you’ve got that going against you in this case.

The best approach is to test on your material. Of course that can mean having to sacrifice a piece in pursuit of settings. However, if you’ve already run one engrave, and NOT TOUCHED the material on the bed, run it again and see if that gets you closer. I’ve had to run a print multiple times to get the result I was looking for, but it was better to take that approach than waste a sample piece chasing the settings. If you’re doing this commercially, your time may be more valuable than the cost of the material.


Yeah exactly. Walnut doesn’t get good contrast as a rule.

Mahogany on the other hand… rich color and engraves almost jet black. Material choice is key.


I have to agree with the guys above but not all is lost with low contrast woods.
You can do deep engraving and then inlay to great effect.


I have had decent luck with walnut, prefinished. The problem I tend to see with walnut is once a finish is applied, the engraving almost vanishes.

What I would recommend, and I have done before, is mask the walnut and engrave through the masking. With the masking still on paint it black, or some other color that will pop the way you want. contrasting colors, such as white, will pop out pretty nicely.

When you do this, be aware that the wood grain is not solid and you can get a little bleed going. The heavier you try to put a coat on, the more it will bleed from my experience.


If you’re using pre-finished wood (so the surface is already sealed), you can also spray or brush a little clear over the engraved area to seal that, then apply the contrasting color once that has dried. That prevents bleeding into the adjacent exposed wood grain.

I use water-based polyurethane for that, with a short-bristled brush.


I just saw a YouTube video, I think last night, about that. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Thanks for pointing that out.


If you have a thick cutting board and some thin maple I would think that as an Inlay it could be stunning.


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