I use my glowforge primarily for acrylic cutting but I am getting into wood. Which woods do you all recommend to use on the glowforge for 2" diameter sized jewelry pieces (pendants, earrings, etc) at about 1/8" thick, that will come out with good etched lines and a finished look? Or does anyone have any advice on other unfinished wood sources and then what is it finished with? Do you seal right over the etchings?
This may shock longtime readers of my stuff, I am fairly unlikely to use proofgrade anything… but proofgrade plywood is a great choice for a few reasons.
Hardwoods can be brittle, PG ply is fairly strong even when you cut fine details. It’s shockingly easy to snap hardwoods across their grain.
It’s prefinished. That saves you a lot of time and guesswork.
It’s consistent. If you’re going to make a lot of these, wasted time on inconsistent hardwoods of offbrand ply is a bad thing.
I’ve made a fair number of earrings for a client, the hardwoods were really pretty but prone to breaking. Since we switched to proofgrade, we’ve had no problems.
Ditto on the PG.
You could also laminate Baltic birch ply (the real stuff, not plain birch ply) with hardwood veneer and then finish that.
The finish will depend a lot on the effect you want to achieve…
Thanks so much! This is great advice. After you etch the proofgrade plywood, do you apply an additional stain/sealer to the piece?
None of mine were engraved but no.
The thing is that this is largely fast fashion. The idea in my case was to make a set of earrings that could sell for a low price. The profit margins were plenty high but only if labor costs were as low as we could muster. So no extra finishing, as that would have been quite time intensive.
They sell quite well so seems like we made the correct choice.
What do you use to finish your pieces with? There are SO MANY options for finished and techniques in wood. I would love something pretty straight forward to apply for a good result. Ideally without having to buy and test x15 different products because THAT is a rabbit-hole I will spiral into and no one will see me for a month until I’ve tried everything. LOL.
I notoriously hate finishing, but I was recently introduced to Odie’s Oil and I’m smitten. Wipe on, buff, and you’re done. It’s not a hard finish, but it’s food safe and water resistant when cured.
According to the site:
How long is the cure time for my wood project?
•The cure time for most woods is 2-3 weeks, with walnut needing 3 weeks. It is very important to allow your wood to cure for optimal results.
Really? Do you wait 2 weeks to buff?
If you read the whole FAQ, I think it’s a bit more clear. The 2-3 weeks is for a full cure, which is for heavy use or water protection. It’s no different than using something like polyurethane. The instructions for flooring say that you can put furniture back after 72 hours.
If you’re hand buffing, you apply, wait an hour, then buff. He says it elsewhere (maybe in one of the videos), but if you’re using a buffing/polishing tool, you can buff immediately.
There is no world where I choose a product that requires two weeks for me to do just about anything. I also don’t buy “dry clean only” clothes…
Per the website it’s 40 min. before buffing.
3 - Now that the piece is fully saturated, set it aside and allow the finish to “set up” for at least 40 minutes. You can wait longer, up to 24 hours. Just remember, the longer you wait the more difficult it will be to buff (results will vary) .
4 - After the 40-minute set up time, take a dry and clean lint-free cloth and completely buff the entire surface until all the oil is removed from the surface. Buff vigorously! The piece should feel dry to touch when finished.
I also found the reference to immediate buffing:
All Odie’s finishes can be used like a friction polish, and all Odie’s finishes can be used with mechanical buffers. In fact, the friction and heat caused from the lathe or mechanical buffer will speed up and enhance the application process. In most cases, the work piece can be buffed out to its final polish immediately after applying because the heat caused by friction shortens the set up time.
The website is a hot mess, but so far I really like the product!
I have made a number of small lacy dangle earrings with pg plywood and they have held up quite solidly.
Are you sealing them (the edges, in particular) at all? I’m concerned about the MDF interior over time, especially with earrings.
I have not sealed mine so far - it’d be easy enough with a coat of poly spray and would go a long way to making them last. My main issue is laziness combined with living in an area of drought.
I don’t live in an area of drought, but I do live in one of laziness.
can i use Odies Oil to waterproof coasters made of tri ply wood
I’m hardly an expert on wood finishing, but… probably. As long as you’re happy with the grain of the tri ply since that’s what you’re going to see. You can tint the Odie’s Oil, but otherwise, it does a nice job of letting the natural grain and color shine through (for better or worse).
The only issue I can think of would be plugs/glue as the oil soaks in. I’d shoot them an email and see what they say.