Medium Grade Wood

I don’t know if anyone else has sanded on the Glowforge wood products but I made some 1/4" inserts for cutting boards and they looked very good till I sanded it The first pass I noticed it took off top wood and you could see the MDF material underneath. I took 3 passes on my sanded to make it flat. I am pretty upset for what the cost of the wood vs the quality came out.

Plywood will do that.

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I think that the point of having finished surfaces is so you don’t have to sand it. The description of the Proofgrade “Plywood” reads: “Proofgrade plywoods are custom fabricated with an engineered wood core surrounded by a micro-thin layer of natural hardwood…” This is pretty self-explanatory to me. I am not purchasing a solid wood product. I am purchasing a fiberboard type product with very, very thin laminate on both sides that has been pre-finished. I am paying for convenience, for reliability, and for the ease of use with the Glowforge. I feel that the Glowforge Proofgrade plywood is a very good deal, but I also make sure I understand what I am buying before I buy it, so that may skew my viewpoint a little. I hope you are able to find a solution that meets your needs.


My other projects turn out not bad just wanted my others to look good.


i buy alot of 1/4 veneer ply for making cabinets and you still have good amount of real wood before you hit the core. I guess the pre finish like you said isn’t design for any sanding.

You might want to try the hardwood Proofgrade instead of the plywood in any case for a cutting board. I don’t know how well veneer is going to hold up to chopping. :slightly_smiling_face:


This was my idea but even other than cutting boards any sanding on it would be hard. I agree I will just make whole inserts. My cnc machine i get a good cut but I wish the laser could cut though a 1inch but off well.The machine does great on other things.


It’s going to look lovely when you get it done. :sunglasses::+1:


I’ve been woodworking for 25+ years now and IMO plywood has gotten worse / thinner year after year. I’m currently finishing my teardrop camping trailer and I’ve used 3/4 birch plywood for the main shell along with 1/8" ply bended around the curves. The 3/4 is ok - there’s probably a 1/16th of material you can 220 - 400 grit sand for a good finish, but anything more and it’ll take it down quick to the crap sub-wood. The 1/8" thick stuff you can almost see the 2nd layer, the veneer is so thin. In fact I don’t think I sanded it except to get light pencil marks off of it and around where I wood putty’d the pin nail holes.

The proofgrade stuff is good for cutting / using as is, but I wouldn’t guess it’d be good for something like this. Plywood veneer just keeps getting thinner!


Regulations in the U.S. required thicker surface plys up to the 1960’s / 1970’s for the finer veneered plywoods like walnut that were used in the high end furniture market. This resulted in logs being shipped to Europe where veneer could be cut half the U.S. thickness requirement, doubling the amound of veneer from each log. The veneer flitches were then shipped back to the U.S. for use.

Mills were unhappy; exporters and importers were happy. The regulations were modified.

Veneer was sort of like interest rates, a zero sum game. If you are on investor, you love high interest rates because your money grows fast. If you are a home buyer you hate high interest rates because you can’t afford to buy a house, or have to buy less house.

Winners and losers. Life


Plus the proofgrade ply comes pre-finished. You have to remove the finish without damaging the veneer, but finish the veneer to match the rest of the project. I’ve sanded off the finish of the proofgrade hardwood; I’ve never tried to do the same to the ply.

ritalin1984, thanks for the heads up on the sanding. That messed up a really nice project. I have the same sander and love using it so I probably would have had the same happen to me at some point - thanks.

I like how your second map stands in relief and, wow, that’s a great looking burl and design for the Element 6 sign.

Don’t know how you collect you sanding dust, but I made an adapter for my 2 1/2" shop vac hose. Lowes pipe and Rockler reducer. Sanded the pipe to fit the contours of the sander hood, slid in the reducer fitting and I’m mostly dust free with the sander. Did I mention I love that sander…

That chair the Element 6 burl is sitting on looks similar some I’ve seen on CNC forums, especially the leg joints. Hmmm, reminds me I really need to make some stools with those Maloof style leg joints.

I use my sander all the time. I have the dust collector running to it off about a 50’ hose. I want to set up a pvc pipe and run all my machines but I don’t have the time till maybe after new years when everything slows down. I want to get a wire brush wheel for it to age the wood. I seen some crazy work people done with the wire. Thanks on the sign I have two inch lumber I think that one was hickory for my brother-law business. I like the 3d setting for making signs you can a good laser engrave may take longer but gives more detail.


Yeah, if I had overhead vacuum pipes I’d use 4" to the machine but I haven’t had time to do that either;) The reducer was a test to see if 2 1/2" was a option for the sander - it works well.

I guess that would be a slab, not a burl, or perhaps a slab made from a burl, or…
Regardless, it all looks great.

I didn’t know there was a brush option, that’s very interesting - do you have a link?

Please reconsider using plywood and/or any other wood made with an MDF, laminate or ply component for food/kitchen applications. Non hardwoods will almost certainly contain urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue or phenol formaldehyde (PF) glue neither of which you would want to end up in your consumables nor would you want to sell or gift such potential to someone else.

Just my $0.02… as you were.


Just have to make sure you bought the combo drum sander idk if you can put the other wheels in unless you can change the speed.