Wood treating and lasering



Which is recommended? to treat wood with a lacquer or varnish before, or after lasering, and before or after using wood glue, if necessary.

Lasering stained wood

I like doing it before…makes any smoke damage easy to wipe away. Then you can put a bit on after to seal in the engraved parts.


There was a neighbor of mine that has been wood working for awhile, and he lacquered first before cutting. It had a nice effect with making the engraving significantly darker. He also doesn’t know much about lasers. When I saw a laser Thursday project the crew did, they finished the wood after it was cut…

Which made me curious.

Is it safer to laser untreated wood for sake of material catching fire or harmful board? I think cosmetically it wins to do it before hand. However, does treating a wood with lacquer or shellac make it not bond well with wood glue? Naturally, you would only glue the pieces after the laser cut them out.


After the laquer and /or shellac dries, it is no longer flammable. As for glueing, I dont put a heavy coat so doesn’t seem to affect the glue from adhering…
But thoses are good questions…I guess it depends on the finish look/purpose desired…


Depending on the kind of glue, a solid surface finish can definitely affect glue strength. (Although glued bonds are typically way more than needed.) You could mask, or gently raster off a top layer at low power, or just live with it for most applications…


Happy cake day🤗


I’m curious if anyone has any suggestions for lacquer or shellac products that are better than any others? Or some that might work better with certain wood genus than other? I haven’t done a lot of wood staining, so I’d like to hear what sort of results people achieved with what they had on hand…


If you plan on using any type of additional finish, or plan to glue pieces together, then you definitely want to use a “de-waxed” shellac. Zinsser SealCoat is a great choice as almost anything else will adhere to it. I would still think of masking or sanding areas where adhesive is to be applied.


I was thinking about a project the other the would involve painting the wood first and then etch the design after.
Does anybody know if there is any paints i should not use due to the gases it might give off?


I did just that with this

Using acrylic paint. Air assist is your friend.


Even with Acrylic paints, you want a good air filter on the laser – heavy metals converted to dust are still unhealthy, and some organic pigments burn to form toxic chemicals.

If you don’t know what pigments are in the paint - just assume they shouldn’t be breathed after burning.
If you do know what pigments are in your paint - then you probably know this safety stuff anyway.


“Shellac” can be a generic term, but natural shellac, which is basically a boozy cocktail made with bug poop, is all natural and inherently laser safe (if a bit unappetizing). It’s also known as confectioners’ glaze, and it’s what makes Whoppers candy shiny. Mmm!

What's your favorite way of sealing wood?

Could have gone all my life without knowing that! :confounded::smile:


Uh… Thanks, Dan? :unamused:


Yep, I think that’s gonna be it for Whoppers. :no_mouth:


Mmm bug poop…lol
My son can not have artificial colors and one of the natural reds is made from crushed up little red bugs. Commonly refered to as carmine, cochineal extract or natural red 4.
I’d rather eat a bug than the alternative. Many artificial colors are derived from coal or are petroleum based…


And this is why I refuse to wear lipstick. :laughing:


Knew where shellac came from, but candy glaze? Almost everything I read on the internet is fact checked before committing it to the brain vault. Very un-trusting when it comes to social media. But this one passes the smell test (pun intended). Just one of the many respected confirmations…

Also known as Beetlejuice.


I’m so glad I wasn’t sitting here eating Whoppers when I read that. One of my favorite movie snacks. I may pass on them tonight at Rogue One, give myself sometime to forget. But then again, I’ve enjoyed the bug poop this long, why kick the habit :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey, it’s not really poop. More like really hard beeswax.