Wood types!

We just got our GF & I want to start cranking out project samples to get orders for the holidays. What type of wood is most commonly used? We live in a small town & my husband is heading to the city so I figured he could go to Home Depot & stock up. TIA!!

Hey, welcome!

This is probably one of the worst options overall, home depot carries only a very few things that are really good in the laser. There are about as many sources as there are materials, so here are a few tips. Check out #1a, and #2. (Oh, and #4, important stuff to know)

Beyond that, if you tell us what your big city is, we might be able to give you some ideas for local stores. There are a lot of us here, and we love a good material source.

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I use a lot of the PureBond (maple, cherry, etc) at HD-it’s cut to fit the GF, and, it is shipped free to your home…

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I am in SL, UT

Oh nice, I’ve been there. Macbeath hardwoods has a really good selection of veneers and other woods, you should definitely go check it out. They don’t sell a lot of really thin stock, like 1/8" or 1/4" etc, but if you call ahead you might find out what they have on hand.

Woodcraft has a location in Sandy, they have a lot of fun stuff, and usually a selection of (fairly pricey) 1/8" hardwoods on hand, plus baltic birch. Pricewise you’d do better mailordering a lot of what they carry, but there’s value in being able to see what you’re getting as you get started lasering.

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i’ll second that the purebond from columbia forest at HD is good, but it’s not available in store.

Depending on the store, it can be, but only in the 8x4’ sheets around here. All the PureBond “glowforge-sized” stuff I had to order online and pick up in a day or two. I have 5 Home Depots within 20min drive.

I use the 5/32 maple more than just about anything now. Cheaper than “Draftboard”…

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Someone mentioned a day or two ago that the 4x8’ PureBond birch they carry in store has a poplar core, unlike the MDF core of the packs we buy online. It’s listed as “veneer core”. I don’t know if this might make it perform differently or less consistently than the project packs. I buy two of the packs online at a time to get the free home shipping.

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Whiteboard tends to be very popular for Christmas type stuff. I love it for photo engravings.

Like mentioned, most of the big box stuff isn’t great. Stay away from the birch offerings at most the places, unless you can find actual Baltic birch. I’ve heard of people having good luck with the PureBond but have never tried it.

I forgot which whiteboard is best - the one from HD or the one from Lowe’s. Whichever is the eucalyptus board, if I remember right.

It’s one of the very best materials for photo engravings in my opinion.


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A little math when getting wood in 4’x8’ sheets. 8’=96", 5x19"=95", leaving 4 x 1/4" for saw kerf. Even if you cut the other direction in four pieces that is 25 pieces per 4x8 sheet. As I have a Pro I get the five 19"x48" pieces and use them as I need to.

There is also material called Revolution Plywood that is both sustainably produced all actual wood and only rarely any lines of glue that can give any problems.

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The 5/32" PureBond maple ply I have (10-pack, cut and boxed for the GF) is not MDF core. I don’t know specifically what species it is, but it is “real” wood. 5 layers.

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Hmm. You’re right that it doesn’t say what the core material is on the maple listing, so it could be a wood core as well. But I don’t see 5 layers? This is the 5/32" maple, before and after cutting.

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That sure looks like mdf core to me.

Obviously a different recipe.

Mine is five equal plys (veneeers). I bought it a year ago.

More strangeness. I’ve bought the 5/32" PureBond Maple packs in January, March, May, July, and November of 2020. And January, February, April, August and September of this year. It’s been 3 layers every time. Same with the 1/4" thick packs, and the walnut veneer packs.

Just goes to show, you can’t put faith in getting the same stuff from everywhere.

Just like the B&W board - different people having different results across the country.

When I purchased, it was sold as “veneer core” and that’s specifically why I bought it. That is no longer stated on THD web site. MDF-core ply is so inconsistent, but my experience with BB (which is veneer) was much better, and my local Rockler was getting iffy with BB.

edited to add - the PureBond had a much nicer finish, sanded, compared to Rockler BB.

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That’s the opposite of the conventional wisdom shared around here, isn’t it? Proofgrade draftboard and medium plywoods are MDF core because it cuts and engraves so consistently. Baltic birch, on the other hand, constantly gives Glowforge owners trouble since it often has glue pockets in the inner plies that you can’t laser through.

Proofgrade is always consistent. Any other kind of MDF (or mdf-cored ply) is not, in my experience.

BB I get at Rockler is also consistent, and why I went with PureBond ply based on it being veneer, vs. MDF. Rockler supply just got inconsistent, i.e. they only had beat-up leftovers most time I went in.

Proofgrade was generally unavailable at the time I bought the PureBond.

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