Recycled materials


I am looking to make my business as eco friendly as possible, I was wondering if anyone knew of any good suppliers who make recycled ply or mdf wood that could be used on the glow forge. I have also been considering using thin slices of natural wood and wondered if anyone had tried this already?

Thank you,


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Perhaps not quite what you’re looking for, but check out your local ReStore.


For MDF (and also ply) it’s also the glue that’s used. Some are laser-friendly, some not so much.

But I’ve definitely done random slices of wood with good result. You get sharper lines and shapes on planed or sanded surfaces. But you do have to think about shrinkage and warping, especially if the wood is newly cut. Some of the xmas tree slices I did last year curled like potato chips.

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There is this that is new but from sustainable sources

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If you have a planer and precheck for metal bits beforehand there is probably a lot of old furniture that is past restoration but has really nice old wood. Also depending on where you are and where the shipping pallets are from the pallets are made of the most available wood. There was a time when most pallets from SE Asia were teak but even now most are worth the effort.

I once built a cabin on a sailboat with mahogany from pallets. There were marks where we had to grind off the nail heads but other than that it was very nice.


A planer and a saw puts you into the realm of recycling shipping pallets. They’re made of a variety of woods, generally untreated or finished, and in many cases, a bit of scrounging will get you more than you can carry off.


A pallet crowbar is handy too. Makes peeling them apart a snap.


The first piece of furniture I ever made was from pallet wood. It was a craftsman style magazine/book rack. I was absolutely amazed at white oak I was able to come up with. Some excellent quarter sawn wood for the legs and side rails. I was hooked after that and have a standing order with a buddy who works at an RV manufacturing facility to keep an eye out for some good pallet wood. A little bit of work, but certainly worth it for the size of materials needed.


Unless of course they used twist nails and let them rust a bit, that is why we ended up grinding off the heads.

Unless I have specific need for full-length timbers, I just take the old Skil-saw and saw right next to the two-by-whatever cross members. I end up with a stack of slabs about eighteen inches long., and usually there are no nails in those parts.

BTW, when salvaging pallets, be cognizant of what was shipped on them. I live in an area where heavy industry and farming both move some really strange chemicals on pallets and if there’s leakage that contaminates the wood, you may be exposed to some really bad things.


That is where a planer is handy as little will penetrate a quarter inch of good wood. Working on that boat I needed as long as I could get but for putting in the Glowforge 18" long is fine but most is over a half inch thick so could use the planer.

Just take a little care on disposing of possibly contaminated sawdust and shavings. I’ve seen stuff that would cause ten-legged spiders.

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