Hardwood versus Plywood?

All wood will warp if wet and not treated beforehand. Hardwood is more prone to warp than ply.


The edge on hardwood (or on ply) can be sanded down. My experience with 1/4" ply has been that sanding is required.

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Here is proofgrade maple hardwood:


It’s too light to look charred to me. Looks more like a stain since you can still see the wood grain. I actually like the contrast it adds. But I can understand wanting a more natural looking finish.


Hardwood gets sort of caramelized.


Settings make a big difference too. Without getting into “beyond the manual” I found that trying to cut oak in a single pass left black charred nasty edges, but two passes made a much nicer edge. (Maybe three will be even nicer!) Oak is one of the harder ones to cut, though, I’m told.


Thanks Cole, that looks really nice! Was that a fresh-cut edge, or did you clean it up a bit?

This makes me feel more positive to use hardwood over plywood, unless there’s some really compelling structural concern.

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jwalton, thanks for the heads-up. I presume the Proofgrade settings are single-pass?

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I’m in the middle of cleaning up plywood and hardwood edges. Here’s the difference after they are wiped down.


Just for chagrins, here’s hardwood vs draftboard


There’s no proofgrade settings for solid oak. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the maple ones are single pass, though, off the top of my head.

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kittski, I need to take back my notion that cutting plywood leaves a permanent char - they both look very clean. That looks better than many of the samples pictured in the design Catalog. Were they cut with standard Proofgrade settings?


Yikes - I suppose that’s why they call it “draftboard”…

Yes, PF setting and cleaned with this. Keep in mind the pic was with a flash. In regular light, it’s a bit darker. They still clean up well though.



Huh? These are the Proofgrade settings for :proofgrade:Proofgrade Medium Red Oak Hardwood on a Pro:


They don’t sell a Thick variety yet, so perhaps they’d use multiple passes for that.

Also, note that these are the settings used on a Pro. It might go slower on a Basic.


I didn’t do any cleanup on it. It has been handled a bit by people, but for the most part it came out of the machine looking like that.


Basic settings for cutting oak :proofgrade: are 181 zooms, full pews as of 30 Nov.


I stand corrected. :slight_smile: Mine, at 1/4, would be the “thick” variety - maybe that’s why I was thinking it wasn’t there.

Fresh plywood edges can be perfect:

Completely unaltered, came off the machine like this. Non-pg 1/8" birch ply.

If only there were a centralized settings database… because this is totally dependent on settings. Cook it harder and you get lots of residue and char.

Don’t let the lighting fool you, it’s all honey brown caramel color, I angled half of it to show that it’s slightly shiny too. It’s a bit sticky, but in my experience (limited, to be fair), that hardens up and isn’t sticky after about a day.


I find that if I run an alcohol prep pad or a paper towel with a little bit of isopropyl alcohol around the edges that it removes the resin and the wood stops being sticky.

Also, if I handle a bunch of freshly laser-cut wood without cleaning and with no gloves, my fingertips get stained a sort of yellowish color for several days.


@evansd2, that’s amazing, it doesn’t look like it was cut using searing heat.

Have you posted this magic in the Beyond the Manual forum?