Laminating thin boards into something awesome

A quick question for anyone with more experience with this sort of thing than me.

I can see making some awesome things by cutting them out of thin scroll saw woods and then laminating up the assembly, but have never done this, so I have two questions.

  1. can I mix and match woods of similar hardness or are there rules for this?

  2. do I use the same tightbond glue I’ve been using or will it look bad when the layers are contoured and sanded?


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Hi @markevans36301, I just wanted to clarify what you are asking. Are the awesome things that you are referring to similar to the monitor stand that Glowforge has shown on their main page? (The one where they glued several layers of different color woods together to create a solid stand in all it’s varied layers.)

Plain old yellow carpenter’s glue works good for laminating. This discussion mentions tite bond. Try here:

Yes, that could be one, I was thinking about more post laminate shaping and sanding though. Where we would have to worry about what the seems look like.

That is just the discussion I’d been looking for, thanx @marmak3261

Titebond 2 as you can remove the runoff around the edges with a rag and warm water before it sets.
Also, you can thin it some as needed Great stuff!


Some Titebond glues set faster than others so plan out how long it will take to align your pieces while gluing. The faster setting Titebond can start setting in 5 minutes. The set time should be on the label.

It’s a bad feeling to realize you will not be able to get everything aligned before the glue starts setting. Been there, done that. Add a little extra time if you think parts could shift or slide when clamped.

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You can go nuts with this technique. As I mentioned earlier, we actually use long screws or bolts for strength and alignment, which is way faster than laminating with glue (lthough that works too).

Sure the bolt thing will work great with one profile repeated, I am thinking of a complex shape ran through 123 make, cut, glued up, and then filed and sanded to a final shape.
I’d show you but I don’t have a gf. :slight_smile:

Ah! Yes, for that glue is handy. Also including wire guideline that you can use for alignment, which 123d make will do for you, or you can do in “post”.

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Even with a complex shape you can do a bolt through any section that is solid for many layers, and thick enough to have a bolt hole without losing vital structural integrity. Most of the designs I have seen have a rod (or multiple rods) to align the stacked layers on. Swap rod for bolt, make sure the first and last layer lack such a hole… done.

Here is a nice little quick fact sheet covering most types of glues. gluing
You can glue almost anything together, however, if you glue a lot of dissimilar types of wood together you will probably have a very hard time controlling depth of cut. I’m not sure I would have the patience to figure that out.:grimacing::grinning: But, I’m sure that some interesting effects could be achieved. I’ve been looking into dying the glue as well, but haven’t found anything worth sharing yet. Aniline based dyes will probably work well with PVA, but aren’t light fast with prolonged exposure.

With the screw/bolt approach. How do you attach the ends? Glue? And what happens if it for some reason they loosened up?

Glue a cap piece on either end to hide the head/nut.

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Oh, I am thinking of cutting and THEN gluing. I think the gf will literally burn through 1/8" hardwoods.

Yes it will! Sorry I misunderstood the gist of what you were getting at. One thing to consider, is that most tropical woods are oily, so a wipe down with acetone before gluing them together or to other things will help a lot with sticking them together. Also if you are using wood that has a paper mask on it it might be worth tracing the outline of the next smaller part and using the GF to cut that out. Then you would could peel out the paper & you would have a handy glue mask all ready to go.


I was just reading some advise on sanding the surface of some materials to allow bonding of glue. I suppose you could also take the glowforge and laser a microscopic grid pattern in just the areas that will make contact with glue and effectively increase the surface area in those spots. Maybe there is already a library of fill patterns out there that does this to increase texture. I’ve never considered this before, but maybe it would allow the bonding of a wood to a non-wood surface with the right type of glue with lasered textures.


I hadn’t thought of it, but it makes sense that a grid pattern would strengthen a glue joint. Biscuits used with plate joiners already incorporate this. (in this case, the biscuits also expand from the glue, further strengthening the joint)

Illustrator has fill patterns, and I’d assume others do as well.

Good point. I’ll have to look at Illustrator or create my own file. My thinking is that sanding may save time but seems like it has less consistancy and could shave down the overall thickness. With the laser, I could place in tight areas and still maintain overall thickness at the surface when thickness accuracy is needed.

Edit: or if we really want to get fancy, we could create a male/female opposite grid patterns for both faces and sandwich together like legos. <–I’ve never tried just a theory for now.

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What thickness should the layers be to create something similar to a map?