Treating raw wood with anything before or after cutting?

I’m a newbie to owning a GF (since September) but have Silhouette design/Photoshop and some woodworking experience. I’ve purchased PG material as well as non PG 1/8" BB ply(from Ocooch), since GF doesn’t carry BB. Have my transfer tape as well, I cover both sides of the wood before cutting or engraving. What is your best technique to avoid burnt marks on the the wood, other than transfer tape? I got pretty decent results from putting 3-layers of Poly on BB ply (with a brush), however it takes a long time to dry (especially as the weather gets cooler). And then of course, once engraved, the engraved part is still ‘raw wood’. Do you put any protective finish on your raw, non PG wood before or after engraving/cutting? If so, what do you use? What should be avoided? Looked through the forums some but didn’t seem to find anything relating to my dilemma. I am planning on making some engraved Christmas ornaments. Thank you all for your help!

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Yeah, searching the forum can be tricky sometimes. it’s not always the best at interpreting what you mean, and it requires exact phrasing and no typos. The short answer is that most paints and varnish styles are just fine. The longer answer is that you need to be sure that your ventilation setup is very good (it should be anyway) so you don’t breathe any fumes/smoke, and that you should probably let almost all finishes fully dry first.

Here’s some general info on laser safety of materials… check out #4:

Then you might want to google for stuff like this using the site: trick. So search google for “paint before lasering”. This limits your results to just be from the forum (

Google is so smart about figuring out what you mean, if you don’t quite know the correct terminology it can be a lifesaver. As you can see, there are lots of results to read through. Definitely get a snack and a drink before you dig in. :slight_smile:


If the item is going to be for dry indoor use - no, I leave the engraving as is. If it’s going to get a lot of handling, or have to deal with water I’ve fallen for tung oil - but it takes even longer than poly.

It’s one of the joys of PG, that pre-finished on both sides saves so much time!

As far as getting cuts with no burn marks, multiple lower power cuts can get you perfectly clean lines, but does require testing (and takes more time). That link that @evansd2 posted has info under #6 that includes a test cut method that’ll get you started :slight_smile:


This is really great help! Thank you so much! I do have good ventilation, I believe (watched many GF-ers on YouTube and got the 6" fan and vent it outside) and have a carbon monoxide detector close to my machine. Still figuring out how to cover the vent hole (put a panel with a hole reduced to 4" in the window), as right now there’s only a temp plastic flap (remnant from my Silhouette mat) and there’s got to be something better than that. I may ask that in the forum as my setup is slightly different than ones I’m reading about (still safe!). Thank you again!

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Add a blast gate to your panel or hose run. :slight_smile: There are premade ones at Home Depot, Rockler, etc., and a GF cuttable one in the free files section of this forum. Some people also like those louvered dryer vent caps.

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Thank you for the suggestions. I also remembered another reason why I ended up putting poly on the board prior to engraving/cutting. Because no matter how gently I pulled off the transfer tape, and especially using the Gorilla tape -as suggested for removing tiny pieces- lots of wood fibers stuck up and the even look disappeared. I was trying to figure out how best to avoid that. Any suggestions for that?

I haven’t had that problem with medium tack masking, but if you are a sanding might do what you need without the wait time of poly…

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Alternatively if you don’t want to tape, my wife has found that a damp paper towel gently applied works for the big sticky stuff, also some house hold amona On a rag also gently rubbed against the burn mark also seems to be helpful.


Rubio Monocoat is my favourite, I’ve also used Livos natural oil sealer. Both have given me an excellent finish.


Thank you for the suggestion. Which oil do you use for that purpose. The selection is vast and I want to make sure I pick the right one. Thank you!

Rubio monocoat is my preference as mentioned above.