Lasering stained wood


Hey folks,

Just had some one contact me for a “carved” wood sign. They want a solid wood oak, with a carved saying, and the wood stained, white painted letters.

My plan is to stain the wood, mask, laser engrave, paint white the engraved area, then pull masking and clear coat.

The question to the class is , is it okay to laser wood stain. Eg. But not this colour:

As long as the oil base flashes would the pigment be that bad?

Cheers and thanks.


Proofgrade is stained and finished, so shouldn’t be a problem with most stains & paints on any laserable material. Go for it.

Based on input from @dan, this was bad advice. Be sure to test all paints and stains to make sure they are laser safe. That being said, there are many owners who have successfully lasered prefinished materials, both PG and non-PG.


stain might make your masking want to come up/not adhere fully. Not at all a deal breaker, just something to keep an eye on.

I guess it could also have the opposite effect and adhere too well to the stained area.


I used something similar and it worked pretty well. As @jbv said, your masking might not stick as well, though I’ve found that if I let the wood dry for several days the masking sticks as well as before it was stained. I’ve also found that I need to increase power and/or reduce speed on engraves for finished wood, though I imagine that mainly depends on the stain you’re using.


Then all that being said I’m not against putting my clear coat on too.

Varathane or polyurethane be ok?


I haven’t tried polyurethane yet. I’ve been using lacquer, but I’ve only used it after engraving and cutting. It seems as though you could engrave after using lacquer, though, based on this thread:

@smcgathyfay responded first in that thread — I’m sure she knows a lot more about this than I do. :grinning:


Laser safety of materials belongs in Beyond the Manual, so I’m moving it there.

This is wrong. We had to work hard to find a laser-compatible finish coat (and it’s an unusual process); you should assume that all materials are not laser compatible unless the manufacturer tells you otherwise.


It would be great to see laser-safe finishes available in the store. You are obviously not going to offer an infinite matrix of material with all possible finish options.


Second that


Depending on how the paint and the stain get along, it might be just as easy to run the job the other way.