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Thread: Laserers - A bit of info requested

  1. #1

    Laserers - A bit of info requested

    I wonder if any of the laser owners here can give me a quick bit of information.

    I have access to a large quantity of european oak offcuts whcih I have a number of ideas for small money making products of a laser etched variety. Before I spend too much time working on this, has anybody any experience of laserering white oak (probably the closest comparable species) and any comments on its suitablity for that purpose? I am not thinking about photo type images - just lineart kinda stuff.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    33.8736N, 117.7627W
    The two potential problems with coarse-grained and/or figured wood are (1) the varied background tints can obscure whatever you're trying to add to it and (2) the varyied wood hardness can make it difficult to get consistent engraving depth. (At least it's relatively light-colored: dark woods have the additional problem of getting decent contrast.)

    It really depends on the design, and when you get right down to it, the only way to tell is to try an actual piece and see what it looks like.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    El Paso, TX

    Works well but . . .

    The Fort Bliss Gift Shop ( where I dump most of my work ) has laser etched plaques made by an outfit on both white and red oak. All or most are Air Defense ( or other branches ) specific. These DO cost a bit to develop the " program " for a " custom " picture. So long as you stay with what " stock " designs the come with the machine its not costly. With that said I've done several flat " inset " tool cases and had names and such lasered on the lids. I thought it would burn, at least, the bottom of the " grooves " but not so. As the shop I use had never done such work ( they only did trophies and plaques up 'till that time ) we wondered about haveing it lasered before or after finnishing. We decided to err on the side of caution and laser it before. The laser leaves nice clean engraveing on the surface as well as the sides and bottom of the " grooves ". The look is very profesional, accurate and clean. I was accually surprised with the finnished product. The only drawback I've found is staining the peice after the fact. Since you can't wipe the stain inside the etching it can take quite a while to dry. Good luck ! You'll be pleased with it !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    I have used two different laser folks to engrave box lids...

    The first said to put on one coat of finish...(sanding sealer)... then they would set the laser to "burn" the wood, but they needed some finish to keep the smoke, etc. from contaminating the wood. When the lid was returned, it was ready to continue the finishing, along with the rest of the box.

    The second was very concerned about the finish being done, and they would wipe some stain in the laser grooves, and apply a layer of wax. I was concerned about the stain they used being compatible with my water based finish, and certainly didn't want wax. I shipped it to them with a couple coats of lacquer. When the lid was returned, it looked good -- but I finally realized they were doing a totally different process... no wood burning, just laser etching a groove in the finish that they filled with a brown color.

    I won't say either process is better than the other, but just different. Be sure you know which you are getting if you send work out to be laser engraved, so you can do the proper prep and follow on (if any).
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

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