Best Types of Wood for Laser Engraving

There are many different types of wood that you can use for projects. However, some types of wood are a lot better than others when it comes to laser engraving or cutting. Wood can be one of the most challenging materials to work with for laser engraving and cutting due to the various inconsistencies in the wood material. The ideal wood that you can find will be light in color, not be coarse or heavy in grain and also will come with a higher resin content.


There are different ways you can tell the amount of resin a piece of wood has. One method you can use is to compare pieces of the same species – the lighter the piece, is an indicator of a lower resin count. Another method is to do a burn test on the opposite side that you intend to engrave.


Engraving on a darker wood will cause you not to see the details as clearly. You may not be able to even tell what the picture is at all depending on the type of wood and the darkness, which is why the ideal wood for you to use for your engraving project would be light in color. With a lighter wood you are able to get the best possible contrast.

Depending on what you are engraving the type of wood may cause a distraction with the grain pattern/streaking that runs through it. If you are engraving a picture if there is a heavy pattern of streaking it can be distracting to have a bunch of lines running through faces. With laser photo engraving, you want to choose a wood type that has a smooth and consistent gran with very minimal streaking like an Alder wood.


Types of wood that are good for engraving/cutting include:


  • Cherry- Cherry has a high resin content and is a lighter wood. It may have higher levels of streaking which may not be great for all projects.
  • Hard Maple – Light in color, light streaking, and can burn dark most of the time. The down side is that there is some inconsistency with the resin.
  • Alder – High resin content, light in color, with very light streaking Alder is a good choice for most laser engraving projects.


It is important when taking on a wood engraving or cutting project whether for work or pleasure that you plan everything carefully. You want to ensure that you take into account the type of project that you are working on so that you can pick out the appropriate piece of wood so that your work is displayed in the best way.

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