Sequoia advice

In April, we took down a sequoia tree, and my husband is interested in using it in the Glowforge. He is cutting chunks of it fairly flat, about half an inch thick on average, and will be planing it. The wood is still somewhat damp.

My questions are:
how dry does the wood need to be?
have others cut/engraved this type of wood, and how did it come out?
what settings would you suggest?


Dry is good, but this depends on what you’re going to do. If it’s particularly wet cutting will be harder but engraving will probably be fine.

Redwood in general cuts quite easily. I was using Sequoia Sempervirens burl and it was dry as a bone. It turned out very nicely, I think.

Suggesting settings is a waste of time-- your species and thickness and moisture content is just too unpredictable. I’d suggest getting a solid understanding of testing routines:

You’d have your answer in less time than it takes for me to write this reply.

You’re going to struggle to cut any species of wood at half inch. I would suggest sticking to the 1/8" thickness area if you can get it, but no more than 1/4" really. You’ll struggle to get an acceptable result, even with an easy cutter like redwood.


As stated, you’re not going to get good results cutting 1/2" material on the GF. Yes, technically it’s possible but it’s going to take multiple passes and the edges will need to be cleaned up by hand.


It has been my experience that thick cutting ability varies a Lot with species and condition of the wood. I suspect that damp might cut very well but need to dry clamped flat to avoid warping.

Half inch is best for testing as burning through 1/8" wood will not tell you anything about thicker wood, but testing on thicker wood will give you insight into thinner woods as well. Testing is the key.


Thank you very much, @evansd2! David is now saying he just wants to engrave, but I think the testing cutting process you share above is worth doing too…


You can combine traditional and laser techniques, signs, cutting boards, etc. Redwood is beautiful, the sky is the limit.


Thank you!

I don’t know what all we’ll end up with, but the wood is very pretty, and David’s having fun cutting it up, plus he got a new toy (a planer) yesterday, so good all around! LOL!


Deep relief engraving obviously takes thick enough wood though all species are not equal to the task. I have not the slightest Idea about Redwood and how much it burns but Paduk. Walnut, and Maple do excellent.

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Some wood should not be used for bowls and such, so I always make a point of checking.
Tiny rabbit hole with a lot of information for people using various woods.

I already checked their toxin page, and redwood is as benign as any other (ALL are irritants, for instance). There are definitions for ratings at the bottom of the page.


Thank you, that looks like a great resource!


The good news is if it is a sequoia you likely have a LOT of test wood around…


Yes, half the driveway full… :laughing: