I need help with burn marks!

I got my GF 2 weeks ago- I’ve had several orders with bunny name tags this past week. They turn out great but I’m not using proofgrade materials & the burn marks are so random.

I buy 1/4 & 1/8 inch Baltic birch form HD.
I’ll post pictures of some settings that work great for me with engraving & cuts (some of the time)… if I change the power with this wood I notice it doesn’t cut all the way through…

any help??? Thanks!

Use masking :slight_smile:

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I do use masking tape! From amazon.

Are you sure your masking is well adhered? It’s pressure sensitive so it must be rubbed down completely in order to stick. If it’s only getting a light stick then it will release as soon as the heat/wind of the laser gets near and remove any protection you’re getting.

You can lower your power, or increase your speed to get a lighter cut, but what you’re showing in the picture should definitely be handled by masking.

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Are you pressing the tape down on your material with a tool? You should! I like a simple plastic tool called the 3M PA-1. Amazon should have it.

If you 're having trouble with your masking properly sticking a light sanding of your material before you put it on can help. Just be sure to clean off all dust afterward. Basically masking sticks better the smoother the surface is.


They’re random because your masking is lifting in those places. As the others have said, make sure your boards are free of dust before application and then burnish the masking down really well for good adhesion.

That’s good to know it wasn’t very smooth when I put it on. Thank you!

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Yes I need to make sure it’s smoother I think- thank you!

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No you don’t. They don’t sell Baltic Birch. Their stuff is generic Birch plywood. That’s not your issue now, but as you do other projects you may find issues that are caused by the less precisely manufactured common birch ply.

For your staining issue I would run a hand sander (I use a battery powered random orbital sander) with 180 grit sandpaper in before masking. Then press it on firmly with a printers brayer. I find that easier to get good adhesion than a card. The masking will adhere better after sanding.

Or if the pieces aren’t too small to handle, skip the masking and sand it afterwards. The staining is generally easy enough to sand off.

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That’s smoke stain, alcohol will remove it, or household ammonia even quicker.

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If pressing down on your masking doesn’t fix things I second skipping the mask and power sanding it. It’s quick and produces a very smooth finished product. I use a small air compressor to blow away the dust and it always looks sharp when I’m done!


i’m going to second this. Baltic Birch has a higher spec to the interior plies than regular plywood. AFAIK, none of the big box stores sell BB (maybe some regional big box chain does). but not HD or Lowes.


What I got with HD Birch or as I call it plycarp…


The simplest/ easiest solution is to skip the masking and lightly sand it afterward. I like the old-fashioned blocks for hand sanding.

Hand sanitizer works very well to dissolve the crud, but in extreme situation bleach can also help.

I went with more modern blocks and precut paper and I’m so glad I did.

Get three. That way you can load them with three different grits, saves time when working.

Inexpensive precut paper in many different grits:

This kind of setup will make sanding so much more efficient than the traditional hard rubber block. I tend to use 120 or 240, then 320, then 600.


Seconded. I love these. I’m thinking of adding a fourth for when I feel like going to 1000 grit. :slight_smile:

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When I do 1000 or more I usually just slap the paper in on top of the 320. I don’t even remove it. Then I can flip back and forth between 600 and 1k. When I’m done with the project I just take the 1k right out.

1k paper loads up so quickly I pretty much use it once then toss it.


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