You can laser cut from a variety of woods, depending on the type of work you plan to do. Different types of wood respond differently to the laser, and the output may vary. Here are six popular laser-cut woods:

Alder
Alder is our wood of choice for laser cutting or engraving. It has a lighter shade that makes the contrast stand out. The natural grain pattern in alder is lighter in color than other types of wood. This property makes it perfect for engraving projects.

The soft components of wood can be easily laser processed. The only downside to alder is the possible presence of knots. Alder has a high resin content, which results in a deep burn. This contrast gives woodworkers a higher level of creative freedom. Also, when you apply the finish, it gets darker. This dark tone makes sculpted designs appear crisp. Alder is available as 4" to 8" wide lumber.

Cherry
Cherry wood is a popular choice for furniture making, especially cabinets. The wood of the cherry tree is considered hardwood. It has good durability, medium strength, and works well with screws and nails. Cherry is a pliable wood that is easy to cut and carve. These properties make it ideal for laser engraving or cutting.

Balsa
If you're a scale model enthusiast, you've probably studied balsa wood models. Balsa is a lightweight softwood that is a popular choice for making model airplanes. Can be die cut by hand. However, laser cutting makes the model accurate and has tighter tolerances.

Although wood is lightweight, it has good mechanical strength. The density of this wood is very low, allowing for complex laser cutting. The required laser intensity can also be as low as 30 watts, and the laser can operate at higher speeds. Balsa is ideal for laser cutting due to its light weight, strength and flexibility.

Laser engraving is easy and stands out on cherry wood. Its straight grain varies from dark brown to light golden. It has a smooth and glossy texture, perfect for making furniture. Compared to other popular woods, cherry harvests are limited. But it is cheaper than similar woods like walnut.

Hard maple
Hard maple is denser than cherry and requires a higher power laser. But it's still an excellent choice for laser cutting. It's great for engraving photos. It has a high resin content, which causes dark burns. The wood itself is lighter in color, creating a high contrast in the carving. Textured patterns and stripes are lighter in color, making them ideal for intricate work. Lightweight textured patterns don't distract from the design and are easy to engrave.

Plywood
Like particleboard, plywood is an engineered wood. It has odd layers glued together. Adjacent plywood layers have mutually perpendicular wood grains. This arrangement makes the plywood strong, waterproof, flexible and lightweight.

Plywood is ideal for architectural furniture and structural components due to its properties. Plywood is one of the best woods for laser cutting, especially for fine filigree work. It allows the laser to make fine and accurate lines, making engraving easy.

Birch laser plywood is best for laser cutting jobs and is a popular choice for hobbyists. If you want to be adventurous, choose bamboo laser plywood.

Some tips when choosing the right wood
There are a few things you need to know when choosing wood for laser cutting. Balsa wood requires a low-power laser, while dense wood requires a high-power laser. The resin content in the wood determines the color of the burn. High resin content can cause dark burns, and low resin content can cause light burns.

The grain pattern of the wood is beautiful. However, if you want to laser engrave your designs, consider avoiding dark textured patterns. Dark patterns can distract from the engraving, especially when the engraving design is intricate.

In conclusion
Laser cutting is one of the safest methods of cutting wood. Most of these machines come with computer-controlled programs that make them precise and accurate.

Laser cutting makes complex engraving easy. Most designs that a laser can cut would not be possible without it. Therefore, a laser cutter is a good investment for woodworkers. It expands the range of jobs that professionals or hobbyists can do.

Laser cutters come in many price points, and the size and capabilities of the tool will vary depending on the application. Choose the one that suits your needs and happy woodworking!

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