How well do you know your wood? You might pick up a morsel of knowledge

Soft Woods

Softer woods are great if you have a less-powerful laser. Woods that are less dense aren’t nearly as strong or durable as harder woods but are much easier to work with.

Pine, cedar, alder, basswood, poplar, balsa, and aspen are popular choices, all of them cutting easily burning dark. If you have a more powerful laser, woods as thick as 19 mm can still be cut without much trouble.


  • Very light
  • Easy to cut
  • Cheap and easy to get


  • Burns easily
  • Warps easier (except for cedar)
  • Not very strong or durable

Hard Woods

Samples of the conventional hard woods, though not all are dense

Samples of the conventional hardwoods, though not all are dense (Source: Gravierbedarf)

Not surprisingly, harder woods are best used with more powerful lasers. Woods that are denser are harder to cut but much more durable and reliable materials.

Birch, maple, cherry, mahogany, walnut, and oak are beautiful materials to work with and are favorites for laser cutters. They require more powerful lasers because of their density, but thick sheets can still be cut with the right power.


  • Durable
  • Beautiful finished look


  • Can be more expensive
  • Can be difficult to find
  • Require more expensive machines