Let's talk wood

I did a quick look and couldn’t find a topic like this specifically. Point me to one and we can delete this one…

I am new to Glowforge but not to CNC (router). So I have been experimenting a bit with different woods. I was wondering what others do as far as a decent wood or “wood like” finish. What I mean is, you can cut, say walnut, with the laser. Solid walnut 1/8" thick will look, pretty much, like veneered walnut plywood since the edges are scorched anyhow. I am thinking the plywood (or a veneered solution) at least has the possibility of being more consistent as far as cut if the core is consistent. Solid wood would obviously vary in density. Does anyone have a favorite supplier of this kinda stuff or maybe a fun material that would give the best results? Again, sorry if this is a duplicate post. I have been searching and found some cool materials out there but without blind testing, I wouldn’t be able to tell what is the best bang for the buck.


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With plywood and veneers you’ll still see the core on the cut edge… The Scorch doesn’t cover it completely. So it’s more about Aesthetics I guess.

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For repeatability and overall ease of use the PG materials are hard to beat. There is a consistent core in they plywoods (I think it’s MDF) and their settings are really good. If you get bad cuts with PG it is probably something support needs to do to update your machine.

So “bang for the buck” is subjective, but the PG materials are competitive for the price and ease of use.

I am still playing with a variety of other woods and haven’t found any favorites. Search the forum, there are a lot of people talking about different flavors of wood.


I have very good results with lots of wood species. Maples and walnuts tent to cut accurately and repeatably. Heavily variable woods like zebrawood tend to struggle with consistency.

Purpleheart chars a lot but tends to cut nicely.

Padauk cuts well enough and has a dark brown edge.

Yellowheart cuts beautifully like maple but has a dark tan edge.

As for where to get them, try searching the forum for “hardwood supplier”, there are lots of posts about it out there. My two favorites lately are ocooch and green valley wood products, but there are lots. Prices vary so shopping around is your best bet if you’re after something specific.


Thanks @evansd2, I have purchased from ocooch before. Good information there!


I haven’t had any problems with walnut, cherry or poplar. A piece labeled African mahogany took three passes at high power and the edges were charcoal.

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Yeah mahogany chars for sure. 3 passes sounds like a lot though, how thick was it? I get pretty consistent cuts on 1/8" african mahogany at about 200/Full/1x (Pro) ( did a lot of my finger joint experiments with mahogany). It engraves perfectly black, it’s nice to work with.

Here’s a finished mahogany project:

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Probably a 1/4". I have some 1/8" woods, but most stuff is about a 1/4". I don’t use them nearly as much as I thought I would - I blame having a job. It just interferes with doing what you want to do.

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