Perfect plywood for laser cutting

I found this blog entry from someone who manufactures puzzles, needing to find the ‘perfect’ source for material for an A-grade finish, holding intricate details (to reduce rejects) and laser cutting consistency. Result: aircraft-grade basswood core with a hardwood face:

Seems it can be found here:


Has anyone tried Okoume Lloyds certified marine plywood on a laser machine, or other marine grade species? No voids and less expensive at about $60 for a 3mm 4’ by 8’ sheet compared to the $130 aircraft plywood at the link provided by dlaituri. I would try engraving a sheet but I don’t have a laser engraver/cutter, yet!


I am looking forward to trying baltic birch ply. It works great with a CNC router as the glue is tough and there are no voids. Guess it will depend on the glue.

I have used these guys in the past and they would be happy to give us as many 12x20s as a full sheet will provide. I am half a mind to have a sheet waiting when the GF gets here.


We’ve learned a lot about plywood over the past years. I’m not the domain expert, but some of the considerations:

  • The glue makes a big difference. Some laser better, some much worse. Some glues are not laser-compatible and can produce harmful fumes.
  • Knots in the inner plys are a disaster. The laser setting that will cut non-knotty wood won’t penetrate, and it’ll ruin your sheet.
  • Fewer plys are better. Glue is the enemy of the laser, and more plys means more glue.
  • Wood species for the interior plys makes a big difference.
  • Plywood vendors change formulation rapidly, so one week’s baltic birch may not be the next week’s.

This is just off the top of my head, and most of this is different than what makes for “great plywood” for other purposes. I tried “aircraft grade” 1/8", for example, and could barely cut through. (Although when you do get through, it’s tough as nails - that’s what the rubberband drone was made from). For normal applications you want lots of plies, internal knots are no problem, etc.

The plywood we sell will be custom made, because there isn’t anything even close on the market to meeting all these specs that we’ve found.


Thanks for the summary, @Dan - I didn’t realize you would be selling ‘Glowforge-certified’ materials as well, that’s great news!

We have a quick rundown on plywood selection and glues for laser cutting on our forum for anyone interested:


Thanks @fablab_elpaso - that’s a great reference! For glue, we’re leaning towards a proprietary formula that’s made from plant-based materials. We have to buy the glue from one provider and have it shipped to the plywood manufacturer for assembly, but in our early tests it cuts like butter…



Hi. I’m having great fun creating with my new GF+.
Do the plywoods come with the decorative (?) wood
on both sides or just one side? I.E., is the maple ply
on both sides of the board or not? Thanks!


Both sides. It’s prefinished in a nice Satin coating so you don’t have to do a lot of varnishing work after if you don’t want to.


Yes - both sides are the same top grade of veneer, no knots, no holes, sanded, and with finish applied. You can use either one for amazing results!


Thanks so much, Jules! BTW, I’ve been learning a lot about my new “toy” thanks to your
incredibly concise and detailed tutorials. Your ability to explain without leaving out seemingly
minor steps is a disappearing skill. Thanks for your time!

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My pleasure! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks, Dan! I appreciate the quick response.
Here’s my customer feedback after owning a GF for a few weeks:

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