I need suggestions to fix engrave contrast

I have some friends getting married soon and I decided to add something personalized to their gift. This couple loves pizza so I bought a pizza board, lettered their pizza motto (yes, they have a pizza motto :joy:), and went to my makerspace to use the laser cutter.

I left the makerspace happy with the contrast of the engrave, but I did want to oil the board before sending it off to its new home…

Ahh it lost the engrave contrast and it is hardly readable now! Any suggestions to fix this?


I kinda like how it turned out actually. For signs and the like, you can fill the engrave with colored stuff like colored epoxy. Though it’s easier to do using mask first.

For a food contact I think I’d prefer the natural result you have here.

I’ve seen people experiment with food coloring to dye wood, but it’d probably bleed into the surround so I don’t think it’ll work for this.


yeah i mean the quick answer is to just do it a second time in the future, or slower. you could also definitely use some good food safe paint (although honestly a pizza peel only needs one usable side).


A corresponding score (outline) after the engrave? Might give the letters more form that our eyes/brain could pick up on but it wouldn’t be a contrasting color so it shouldn’t be something that jumps out at you and takes precedence over the design as a whole.


Fixing it on that specific board? Sand it down and start over.

Fixing it in future endeavors… go deeper with the engrave I guess. It looks like you had some soot making the engrave seem darker initially, but that the oil also caused more contrast in the wood grain, making that knot in the “m” a rather significant problem.

No way to avoid the richer contrast from the oils that I know of, and I doubt you would want to, that looks nice as it is. So you just have to hope a deeper engrave works.

(You could MAYBE re-align well enough to engrave without sanding away the old one, but chances of flawless alignment are slim, which would result in a blurry text)


No fix except sand down & start over on this one. But if you’re expecting them to use it for pizza do not oil it. Oil on a peel will either burn or turn into a gummy mess over time and makes it hard to slip the pie.

If you’re expecting it to be decorative only, then mask the next attempt. After the engrave is done clean with some alcohol and a fingernail brush. Then spray it with Minwax Mission Oak Polyshades. Then peel the masking and oil it if you want.

Peels are not cutting boards. Oil is not their friend. They’re best used naked.


I love your letters, that E is so fun.


Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

I agree, I think sanding this down and doing a deeper engrave would have the best option but I didn’t have time to make it to my makerspace before the wedding.

What I did end up doing was taking walnut crystals, dissolving them with a little water to create a very thick consistency, I then painted over the engrave areas, let it sit for a few hours and washed it off. The walnut ink stained the wood without bleeding :+1:


Great tip! And I happen to have some of those…