What is the best type of wood

We just got our Glowforge so we are still learning the basics. What is the best type of wood to get for cutting boards? We tried bamboo and it didn’t come out very clear & it smelled terrible.

Hi there,
O the Proofgrade woods, all of them are good!
MDF, Basswood etc…

On a no proofgrade, I use Birch Plywood and Birch Plywood Veneered also MDF depending of the project (not to engrave).

But there are plenty of woods out there.

If you are in the US, proofgrade is the one to go to! :slight_smile:

Take care

Got a pic of the result?

As for smell it was likely the finish. Whatever they put in the bamboo probably smelled bad when lasered.

If you search the forum for “cutting board” there are lots out there. It’ll come down to personal taste so really seeing what others have done will be key.

The best cutting boards use a very dense wood. Hard maple is abundant and makes great cutting boards. You can get some lighter, clear wood and the engravings stand out well.

What you want to avoid is banding from the growth rings. Bamboo is not consistent because it is laminated with very different shades of bamboo with different densities, depending on where it was cut from.

So finding a cutting board that has a very consistent color is desirable for making an engraving stand out. The problem is, you want a cutting board to be assembled in such a way that it doesn’t warp, so usually the laminations are arranged in such a way that there is a variation in wood density and texture. The clearest wood is cut with the grain in such a way that it doesn’t always make a good and sturdy cutting board.

Then when you get an end grain cutting board, that is another deal.

I have some smaller wood cutting boards that are pretty even in color and density. They are not glued up from separate pieces. Almost all larger ones are glued up.

That’s my take on things.


You don’t want to use any plywood or MDF for cutting boards.

LOL miss read the “Cutting Board” Definitely not! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve read the Topic What is the best type of wood! LOL

Haha, no worries, I’ve got your back lol.

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Congrats on the machine!

I get a lot of my non-bamboo boards at my local Home Goods store so if you have one near you it might be worth the trip. You can get good results with Bamboo, but the engraving will be uneven in color becasue that’s just the nature of bamboo.

Do you have a picture of what you mean by “unclear”? It’s possible it may have been a setting or file issue and if that’s the case, we can help you with that too. Can’t help with the odor though. :slight_smile: I can’t say I’ve really noticed it being much worse or better than anything else so maybe it was the finish on your boards that smelled so bad?

This bamboo board isn’t very large actually and you can see I got pretty decent details in the lettering.


That looks like it was out of focus, which will lead to “thicker” lines. How thick is the cutting board and what thickness did you enter into the glowforge user interface (aka the GFUI or UI)?

Also, looks like it was done with the GF built-in trace function, which is not amazing. I know you said you’re just starting, but any investment in learning to manipulate images in Inkscape or Illustrator will repay itself many times down the road. I think some of the “blurriness” is just the nature of the original recipe card. You might be able to improve it a little bit by tweaking the lighting and thresholds, but to blow it up that much and get great results probably requires some manual editing.

As for the smell, have you cut anything else? How well is your ventilation setup working?


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