Wood species to avoid

A quick list of wood species that I find to be too difficult to cut to be worth the trouble:

  • Zebrawood (chars, inconsistent)

  • Bolivian Rosewood (too hard, takes too many passes and chars)

  • Ironwood (aka ipe) (similar to the rosewood, it takes many passes. It doesn’t char though, but gets a hard black polymerized edge.)

  • Black palm (I believe this is stabilized, and so my problems were probably due to the resin content. Either way it was very difficult and not recommended)

  • Sapele (this one is a mystery, because it feels like it should cut well, but it chars like crazy and is very difficult to get through.

Now you might get away with any of these in a veneer, but in 1/8" to 1/4" (~3-6mm) , it’s not worth my trouble.

So that’s what I just won’t bother with unless I have to. What you got?

21 Likes

I’ve got a cnc router. Send that stuff to me. :rofl:

8 Likes

Thanks for this helpful list. Have you ever tried ipe? I’ve got a few small scraps from when our deck was built (I think it’s 3/4”) but haven’t tried any of it in the laser. It’s incredibly hard even
for regular tools. I suspect it has sand incorporated into it.

Ipe is also called ironwood. It takes lots of passes but when you’re done you get a shiny black edge without char. It’s a lot to get through and so it’s on my avoid list.

Hah we actually talked about this a long time ago:

I should revisit this with modern testing methods. I was very new then.

2 Likes

Adding to this, because new members will need to know: Wood allergies and toxicity

3 Likes

What is sold as Mahogany is many different species and some are worse than zebrawood for flammability,

You know what’s funny is that I almost included that in my list because you’ve talked about it so much… but every time I’ve gotten mahogany it’s been really easy to cut, so I didn’t add it. Do you know which varieties char?

I got some from hardware store that is terrible, others different. Basic carpshoot.
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/mahogany-mixups-the-lowdown/

I found three of the ten here but have not yet cut any…

CHAKTE VIGA

KATALOX

MACACAUBA

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.