Post-Processing Timber & MDF

Post Processing

The implications of laser cutting operations on timber or MDF may result in marking residue that remains on the surface. This residue is often sticky and shiny and comes from the sugars that are contained in the wood. Burning the wood heats the sugars, which then caramelise on the surface and is difficult to remove when it has cooled. The material is not charred wood, smoke or particles of soot.

More information can be found here.


Depending on your preference, there are a few methods which can be used if there is a need to remove engraving residue from wood. These include:

Finishing Method 1: Sanding

Light sanding is a great abrasive to remove darkened edges. This method is great for straight line edges and other edges of the like that do not have crevices or dips where the sandpaper may not reach, and ineffectively remove the external surface.

This process can take a while and also may remove detail from internal etchings or tight areas so is not recommended for engraved sites.

Finishing Method 2: Vinegar

The easiest way to remove etching residue is to use common distilled vinegar and a clean rag. Vinegar is a solvent that will easily dissolve the residue and make it easy to clean off the wood.

Make sure not to use too much liquid, if you are using plywood as this may cause de-lamination.

Finishing Method 3: Soap

Orange hand cleaner, a common hard soap that can be found at any home improvement store, will easily remove any residue left over when engraving wood. This soap is a form of hand cleaner that is waterless and eco-friendly. There are many varieties available which will do the job. You will also need a rag or cloth and a soft-bristle brush.

You will need to place a small amount of the hand soap on the bristles of the brush and lightly brush over the area until the residue has disappeared. Once the wood is free of residue, then use the rag to wipe away any excess dirt and debris.

Again, make sure not to use too much liquid, if you are using plywood as this may cause de-lamination.

Last updated