Sapele Material Test

I bought some Sapele ( for a project I’m working on. I had some scrap, so into Stormageddon it went!

It is 3/4" thick. I did a number of cut and engrave tests on it.

First tests were some cut tests, mostly to see if I could cut through the stuff.

  1. Full Power / 100 Speed (min) / 1 pass. Lots of fire, lots of charring, and it only cut about 0.2" in. Realized I should have masked the wood.

The next set of tests go from left to right.

  1. Full Power / 500 Speed / 1 Pass. Very light cut.
  2. Full Power / 250 Speed / 2 Passes. Deeper, but not quite double the depth of test 2.
  3. Full Power / 500 Speed / 5 Passes. It was deeper than Test 3, but not significantly.
  4. Full Power / 100 Speed / 1 Pass. I repeated this for completeness on this side, and because I had masking on. Masking didn’t help, it burned through it. Deepest cut, though.
  5. Full Power / 150 Speed / 1 Pass. This was only slightly deeper than test 3. The kerf was larger as well.
  6. Full Power / 200 Speed / 10 Passes. I started charring the wood around the cut, but was not going much deeper. There was less return for each subsequent pass. I even tried changing the focus, but that didn’t help, all it did was make the kerf worse.

So, wasn’t able to cut through it. That’s sad, but such is life.

Onto the Engraving test. I did a 5x5 array. Speed was constant at 1000, LPI was 270. Below is the power settings.


On the side with the masking, I was unable to get through my masking (blue painters tape) until ~15% power.

I repeated the test without the masking. I made it smaller just to save some time.

Since I already had this narwhal loaded into GFUI (and I like it), I decided to use that as a test engrave. 1% power for the shading, 40% power for the outline. It came out great!

TLDR: Sapele is very difficult to cut. Don’t count on cutting more than 0.2" through it. It engraves beautifully.


Yeah that’s a nice dark engrave. Pity it can’t cut. :neutral_face:


Lol narwhal strikes again!!


Thanks for the test and good information.
That info would tell me, it would make a very good thin material to engrave on, or re-saw after the engrave for veneer, either way you can still use the material for your projects.


The same things that make it mostly indestructible by jungle conditions, I guess.

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