How to do it best?

I am trying to make some phone and/or business card holders for my daughters school. Being a small private Christian school she started two years ago, they are now going to small school meetings and she wanted some give-aways that would help people remember her non-profit school.

I tried to use a 1/32" end mill but it just didn’t work well at all. Too much fuzzness and couldn’t get the depth right. The attached pic is where I used a McFly 120 diamond engraving bit and while it is the best I have been able to do thus far, it still doesn’t get quite deep enough for the design to be easily seen.

The sample she gave me of another example, appears to be a laser burn and on bamboo which is lighter in color.

I have lots of walnut, cherry and maple to pick from but looking for recommendations as to if it can be done some how better and which wood do you thing might be best…or shall I just keep testing?


I’d try using a v-bit and the v-carve toolpath for the “engravings.” A 30° or 60° v-bit should make a nice “engrave.” Be sure to run the v-carve twice with the same settings – it will give you a clean finish. If you’re new to v-carving, be sure to test on some scrap wood to get the settings dialed in.

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Walnut, cherry & maple all carve nicely. Even bamboo cuts well, but it’s a bit stringier.

I would also go with a vee-carve. Setting would depend on the design.
If you want the engraving to really stand out, you could seal the wood really well before carving, then use paint or stain to highlight the carved areas. Wipe excess paint/stain off the sealed top surface. Let it dry really well, then surface the top again to get nice clean edges.

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I ran the 90v and 60 but not the 30. Will try it and use the wipe method and see how she goes.


The 30 or a 15 degree vee bit works well on very thin lines. The only cause for concern is a simple vcarve the vee bit goes down the center of the line until it touches both sides. So small thin lines it works very well but if the lines get bigger the 30 and/or 15 can plunge quite deep. So if you have a mix of thick and thin lines in the same project do an advanced vcarve and limit depth on thin material. The difference is on a simple vcarve the bit goes down the center until it touches both sides of the line. The advanced vcarve the vee bit goes around the outside of the lines and not down the middle. If you do a simple vcarve and limit depth it can come out not as expected. The advanced vcarve works even if you do not use an endmill for clearing but if you have large areas then the flat end mill will accomplish that and the vee bit will come around the edges and make things look nice.

The smaller the angle of a vee bit the deeper it cuts.

Here is an example of a 15 degree bit cutting very thin lines on a line drawing of a car.

The car was cut with a 15 degree but the lettering was cut with a 60 degree vee bit.


Excellent. Very good info.
Appreciate it.

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