Need help with wood sourcing... and learning about wood

Zebrawood looks great and very hard but one of the most flammable of woods. The only worse was "mahogany"but that is so many species and most are fine. In either case it is less a flame than a coal that does not burn out but eventually starts eating your work and your choice is stopping, and losing the piece or try to finish before the coal destroys the piece anyway. In either case you need to watch like a hawk.

I have linked this that I use, that uses a minimum amount of material and is good ballpark figuring. And bonus it is small enough that I keep them in a box for reference.

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Is it possible to dampen the wood before cutting to reduce the burning and “afterglow?”


Thanks for this link to Bell Forest. This seems like a really nice resource.

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Oooh, thanks! All of the ones I found previously used shades of gray which I am guessing works great for variable power engrave. This one will allow me to use arbitrary discrete settings for each color. Very nice.

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Good to know. Thanks! My hope for most of the exotic woods was to laser cut inlay inserts rather than engraving so these will be milled down to 1/8". This requires a clean edge so either I’ll have to dial in the Zebrawood very carefully or abandon it as a candidate. At least I know going in what I’m up against.

For people who are going to be buying lots of wood you can get a 10% discount by joining The Wood Whisperer Guild. Doing that requires buying one of their projects, the cheapest of which was $30 ~ $40 if I remember correctly. That means you break even after $300 or $400 of wood, assuming the discount is your only reason for joining.

They have affiliations with a couple dozen other vendors, selling resins, abrasives, tools, wood, and other supplies with discounts ranging from 5% to 30% and of course there’s the TWWG community and content.

I’m not earning off the referral or anything, it’s just that 1/8" and 1/4" stock is expensive and if you are buying Purple Heart, Cocobolo or other wood that’s $20 ~$30 per piece, you hit that break-even point real fast.



I’ve pretty much moved to Ocooch and Kim Oberlin exclusively just based on price.

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Ocooch looks good but when I tried to find Kim Oberlin I turned up Facebook profiles and lots of people with Kim in their name at I did find links to eBay auctions here in the forums. but they all led to dead pages and searching eBay for Kim Oberlin turns up squat. What’s the deal with Kim Oberlin?

I bought a bundle of 3" wide wood and never again, The three-inch limitation carries just so far. Wider is more expensive but the freedom to design to need is worth it, The reason that test piece design is 3"x1/2" Is that three inch collection, that I needed wood left once I found out the settings.

Btw- the reason I was able to get the zebrawood lamp I made was many low-power cuts/engraves and getting it wet after each.

Kim sells a lot on eBay and also takes direct orders via email.

His ebay, to get an idea of what he has:

His email, which he has given me permission to share:

He ships quickly and his prices are very fair. The only caveat: he sands to 120 grit. The surface finish is nowhere near as refined as ocooch. Expect to do some sanding to get a nice surface if you’re making anything elegant.

One other nice thing is that he’s done custom thicknesses for me in the past. I can’t guarantee that he’ll do the same but I wanted some 0.140” maple and he milled some to my specs. A nice service.

Just to be upfront, I have no financial affiliation with him, I get no discounts or commissions. I only signal boost him because I like his products and want him to stay in business so I can keep ordering his stuff :slight_smile: I send him forum links to the projects I make with his wood, he gets a kick out of seeing what it gets turned into.


Same. 3” is just a bit too narrow. My sweet spot is 6” but at minimum 4.

Took me forever to get through that 3” stuff because I just couldn’t find projects to use it.

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As an update to my Red Oak woes… :slight_smile:
1/4 inch red oak
125/full cut
850/full 270 Engraving

You can see the color changing w/ water (Tumeric, Zucchini, Garlic)
After cutting I brushed with soap and water with a toothbrush to remove the soot.
Customers are very happy :slight_smile:

Tested out a painted version - I learned that you can easily scrub off the paint if it gets out of line! (it’s kind of sloppy, i know)


Home Depot Purebond plywood for Maple :+1:


Anyone here familiar with sanded plywood from HomeDepot? I’m pretty sure it was on fire when i was cutting it and now i’m scared to continue using this…
125/full 2 passthrough and i still had to swift kick it to get it to break off…

Home depot plywood is not worth it to me, it cuts inconsistently and is prone to this sort of thing.

As far as non PG plywood goes: Baltic Birch or maybe the columbia stuff at HD. The other stuff is only when you’re desperate as far as I am concerned.


If you want to use Home Depot, order the Purebond that @gewubs mentioned upthread. You can order it on the Home Depot website and they ship it right to your home. It is a product that Columbia Forest is manufacturing and many Glowforge users (including myself) have been very happy with. They sell it in GF size (12 x 20) times 10 pieces, and either 1/4" thick or near 1/8" (5/32).

Just go to the Home Depot website and search for PureBond and then look for the items that are 1’ x 1’7" and those are the ones specifically made for the GF.


You are definitely better off with the 1/4 in oak plywood than pine.

I dearly hope the wood was not in the Glowforge when you did this :scream:

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For the most part, there isn’t much choice for “finish quality” material at the big-box stores.


:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

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For those who are interested, here’s the direct link to home depot (i had a bit of a time finding it)

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I have never been much in favor of MDF and it looks as though that is what is in the middle of the Columbia Forest stuff. I have seen other that is layers of Poplar or Basswood that is not great but better than MDF IMHO.

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