How to Prevent Burning When Laser Cutting Wood – 2024 Guide

Working with a laser requires extreme precision. Of course, over time you gain an experience that will enable you to do so. However, sometimes the problem is not in you but in the equipment or material you use. That is why it is difficult for people to avoid burning when it comes to certain wooden surfaces. Our advice is to be careful which material to choose or to use some aids. Today, there are many solutions that can help you avoid that problem.

With the right tools and a little patience, you can do a lot of work without making big mistakes. You will be amazed at how little you need to achieve amazing results. Paper strips, wood coating and similar items are used for this purpose. To help you with this, we have singled out a few popular methods that really work.

How can a burn occur?


Burns can be caused by many things, but when it comes to burn stains on cut wood, it is important to adopt one rule. This refers to touching the surface of a wood, because you must never really touch it with a laser. Although the laser will not really damage the structure of the wood, you take precautions in case of stains on the wood processing. You can count in several ways in that case.

For example, a lot of people put application tape on the surface or change the setting of the machine, apply a coating, etc. In addition to all that, it is important to choose the right wood. It is best to have high moisture content.

Types of wood

In order to choose wood carefully, you need to know which type of wood is better for cutting than others. Therefore, the amount of adhesive binder is taken into account, because it is used during the production of the product. The machines have a better experience with soft wood such as alder and basswood. On the other hand, rougher materials like plywood or MDF are much more demanding. The reason is the high concentration of glue. When we talk about sheet metal laser cutting, which you can learn more about at, it’s different from wood, so be careful not to make a mistake if you’re working with different materials.

If you really need these materials, our advice is to use tapes, coatings and similar options. So, soft wood is easier to cut, because it does not offer much resistance. There is also a difference in the shade of the wood, because lighter wood gives the least contrast. Veneered wood and similar species are more challenging because they are more prone to damage than light wood. Of course, you can work with them, but you will need a much stronger laser than others.

Other factors used at the edge of the wood


The possibility of damage to the wooden board depends not only on the type of material you choose, but also on other factors. This specifically refers to the resin content which makes the difference when it comes to using a laser cutting machine. For example, a material such as an alder is more likely to be damaged than others that have a lower resin content. They are much better for light and clean cuts. We must not forget about wavelength, which also affects the edge of the material. In that case we would recommend a 9.3 micron fiber bundle. It is best to test before you start working, because the type of wood or the thickness of just one piece can affect the final appearance of the product. Don’t forget about other influences such as speed, power, environment and more.

Paper transfer tape

This is one of the most commonly used methods to prevent surface damage. In addition to solving your problem, it works equally well on larger areas, because you will get it in wide rolls. This way you will prevent evaporation from the deposition of soot, and the method is easy to apply. To keep the other side of the wood clean, you can put transfer tape on it. When gluing the tape, make sure that no air bubbles remain underneath, because that will make things worse. In the end, you will need a little more time, because you will peel off the tape from all sides.

Wood coating


The next product you can use is a wood coating, which you will apply to the surface and then polish. Only after polishing will you switch to laser cutting or engraving. When finished, wiping the burned residue. This will prevent the burnt waste from entering the wood, and cleaning after that is much easier.

Laser cutter settings

You can also change the laser cutter setting and that will be enough. In that case, focus on the speed and power settings, as this will reduce the marks on the surface. All you need is a perfect setup. So do not rely on automatic adjustment but set them to manual. Reduce focus to a lower level before starting work, but experiment with focuses. This way you will know the exact depth and thickness of the engraving that suits your requirements. For example, lower focus protects the surface from excessive levels of smoke emitted due to higher focus.

Sanding grinder


Sanding wood is another option you can use to remove the burn marks. It is an alternative that you can always access. To make the process faster, use a sandpaper sander.

Wood in water

This option is ideal if you use plywood or smaller pieces of wood for work. They will be very easily immersed in water, and in this way you will prevent the occurrence of damage.

Air assist


Air assistance is also welcome. It may not prevent the wood from burning completely, but it will contribute to better results. All you need to do is learn how to use this option. You will succeed if you try it a few times yourself, but be careful when handling the machine.


A true professional in this business pays attention to every detail. That is why it is very important to make precise and accurate edges on wood and other projects. The problem is that damage can easily occur, and wooden surfaces can sometimes be a real challenge. Don’t lose hope, but get the right tools and adopt some of our useful tips.

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