Manual setting for Birch

Hello, I am new to Glowforge. I have a question about the manual settings. I am trying to make a shelf with white birch wood veneer core plywood. 1/4" thick.

How do I know what settings to use when I am not using the proofgrade materials from Glowforge?

1 Like

Welcome to the forum, Amy!

In general terms, the answer is testing, testing, testing. Luckily in your case, the PG settings for Thick Maple Plywood should get you in the ballpark.

Good luck!


Hi and welcome to the group :grin: The surest way to get an idea of the effect of different settings on different materials is to try different settings on different materials. I put this together and use it on every new material and keep them in a box for reference.


There is also a pretty comprehensive description provided by the manufacturer under the Support pages, linked above.


I use the 1/4 birch plywood a lot

speed 145
full power

like dwardio said testing, testing

1 Like

Thank you so much!

Thank you!

Is that right (145/full)?

I ordered some 1/2" birch plywood off of amazon: and at first I tried the GF thick maple plywood setting. It was ok but needed three passes. Third pass started flaming. So I’m scared to try full power. Is it faster so less chance of flame?

There are woods that you might cut through a half inch thick, but I would not expect birch to be among them. And even then they should hardly be on anyone’s early projects.

You could get 1/4 inch Baltic Birch and make two and glue them together to make half inch. As it is plywood anyway you now just have more layers.


Sorry - it was 1/4” not half inch

1 Like

Just test it, it’s faster and more accurate than asking.

Everything is a guess for your specific material. Running a test is the only way to be sure.

In that case my notes above about making yourself a test strip should tell the tale. In general more passes are diminishing returns which is part of why cutting half inch material is such a problem. One pass at 145/full sounds in the ballpark but your experience may differ.

It takes a bit of work to set up that testing the first time but you leave it in the GFUI and you can use it on each new variety of wood and have a ready apples to apples comparison. If it starts a coal at 100 or 120 speed that will show also and be a warning against doing that, but for that reason you have to watch that first test like a hawk, plus what is happening while it is cutting is instructive if more ephemeral.

1 Like

I used to order that plywood. I was never able to get consistent cuts on the 1/4in. It had a lot of voids and filler spots. I was running 125 speed, full power on a pro for cuts, but even then some spots wouldn’t cut completely and edges were blackened and required a lot of cleanup…


Yeah I’m not happy with it at all and won’t reorder, but want to put it to use. The charring is horrible.

Do you own a scroll saw?

I bought some from Home Depot my first day with the Glowforge. Bad Thing to start on :frowning_face:

If you hit Bondo just try and cut someplace else,

What you are looking for is Baltic Birch mostly from Finland. The rules for that are far more strict and you don;t get that garbage.

1 Like

sadly, no

The kerf on most scroll saws is a lot more than the kerf from the laser, however a jeweler’s saw is pretty close, Normal for a Jewelers blade is extremely fragile and takes a lot of practice not to break them constantly, however what is considered heavy for a jewelers saw is still very thin and far more forgiving, and not that expensive. The key fact is that the saw needs to be the same 3d direction unless moving and can change direction only while moving and that needs to be forward. I frequently use it to clean up places that did not cut through especially having to cut filler,

1 Like