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Density of Various Kinds of Wood and Plywood

Making Flexible Plywood using a Laser

There is a big demand of cutting wood and plywood on the market.

You may use Co2 laser, CNC mill or a diode laser for that.

The main question is to understand what type of wood or plywood can be easily cut with the laser and what laser cutting parameters should be used for it.

 

In the post, we will highlight the density of different wood and plywood types.

Density of Various Kinds of Wood and Plywood

Density of Various Kinds of Wood and Plywood
Measured in g. Measured in cm3. Measured in g/cm3. Measured using scales. Measured using a ruler. Find out the width, the length and the height. Multiply these together.

 

The density of wood and wood-based materials

To measure the weight of constructions the wood density should be taken according to the following table:

 

Types of wood Density (Kg / M^3)
Softwood: Average to cut
larch 650
pine, fir-tree, cedar, silver-fir 500
Hardwood: Hard to cut
oak, birch, beech, ash, maple, horn-beech, acacia, elm 700
Softwood: Very easy to cut
aspen, poplar, alder, linden 500

 

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Images of wood and plywood types

  1. The density of freshly cut coniferous and soft hardwood should be 850 kg/m³, hardwood – 1000 kg/m³.
  2. The density of glued wood should be taken as non-glued.
  3. The density of ordinary plywood should be equal to that of veneer wood, and Bakelized plywood should have a density of 1000 kg/m³.
  4. The density of homodromous veneer wood is 500-600 kg/m³ and depends on the veneer wood.

 

Examples of soft plywood (laser ply)

 

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A reference table of the density of various wood species

Wood density of more common species of wood
Species of wood Wood density kg/³ Easiness to cut
Balsa 120-160 Very easy
Siberian fir 390-430 Easy
Spruce 400-450 Easy
Sequoia 410 Easy
Poplar 400-500 Easy
Willow 460 Easy
Pine 450-500 Easy
Alser 490 Easy
Aspen 510 Medium
Linden 530 Medium
Mahogany 540 Medium
Horse chestnut 560 Medium
European chestnut 590 Medium
Cypress 600 Above medium
Bird cherry tree 610 Above medium
Sapelly 620 Above medium
Hazel 630 Above medium
Walnut 640 Above medium
Birch 650 Hard
Cherry tree 660 Hard
European white elm 660 Hard
Larch 660 Hard
English field maple 670 Hard
African oak 670 Hard
Common pear 690 Hard
Oak 690 Hard
Afromosia 700 Very hard
West Indies mahogany 700 Very hard
Sycamore 700 Very hard
Buckthorn 710 Very hard
Beech 720 Very hard
Horn-beech 750 Very hard
Padouk 750 Very hard
Yew 750 Very hard
Ash 750 Very hard
Doussia 800 Very hard
Kempas 800 Very hard
Plumtree 800 Very hard
Lilacs 800 Very hard
Thorn 800 Very hard
Palisander 800 – 1000 Extremely hard
Pecan tree 830 Extremely hard
Jarra 830 Extremely hard
Merbau 840 Extremely hard
Courbaril 840 Extremely hard
Dipteracarpus Alatus 850 Extremely hard
Coula nut 850 Extremely hard
Muntenia 850 Extremely hard
Wenge 900 Extremely hard
Lapacho 900 Extremely hard
Olive tree 900 Extremely hard
Sandal 900 Extremely hard
Panga-panga 950 Extremely hard
Boxwood 960 Extremely hard
Sieva bean 970 Extremely hard
Sukupira 1 000 Extremely hard
Cumaru 1 100 Extremely hard
True ebony 1 080 Extremely hard
Black tree 1 160 Extremely hard
Quebracho 1 210 Extremely hard
Guaiacum or bakaut 1 280 Extremely hard

Reference: https://krovli.club/strojmaterialy/plotnost-drevesiny

 

 

Main kinds of plywood  (thickness and density)
Type h (mm p (kg/m3
Standard from 3 (mm) to 30 (mm) 650 (kg/m3)
Birch from 1 (mm) to 12 (mm) 650 (kg/m3)
Bakelite from 5 (mm) to 40 (mm) 1200 (kg/m3)
Decorative from 3 (mm) to 12 (mm) 650 (kg/m3)

 

Wood density is the ration of the wood mass to its volume. It is measured in kg/m3 . The wood density depends on its moisture content. All physical and mechanical properties of wood are determined at a moisture content of 12%. There’s a close relationship between mechanical strength and density. Heavier wood is more durable as a rule. Density is determined by the mass of a wood substance per unit volume. At a moisture content of 12% wood, depending on its density, can be divided into three groups:

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Wood species Density, g/cm3 Density, kg/m3
Light
Balsa 0.15 150
Siberian fir 0.39 390
Fir tree 0.45 450
Willow 0.46 460
Alder 0.46-0.64 460-640
Aspen 0.51 510
Pine 0.52 520
Linden 0.53 530
Bloomy poplar 0.55 550
Medium-density
Horse chestnut 0.56 560
Cherry tree 0.58 580
Yew 0.6 600
Teak 0.62-0.75 620-750
Walnut 0.64 640
Sycamore maple 0.65 650
Maple 0.65 650
Birch 0.65 650
Beech 0.65 650
Cherry tree 0.66 660
Siberian fir tree 0.66 660
African oak 0.67 670
Beech 0.68 680
Oak 0.69 690
Mahogany 0.70 700
Sycamore 0.70 700
Hardwood
Ash 0.75 750
Plumtree 0.80 800
Horn tree 0.80 800
Pecan tree 0.83 830
Olive tree 0.85-0.95 850-950
Appletree 0.9 900
Boxwood 0.96 960
Black sapote 1.08 1080

 

In an absolutely dry condition, the density is by 20-40% less than the one indicated in the table.

 

The wood density has a great practical meaning. The denser wood is heavier and harder and is more durable and harder to process. The denser wood is hard to be treated with wood preservatives, but it is more durable and wear-resistant when used for floors, stairs, railings.

 

If you substitute one wood specie for another one the volume (and, accordingly, mass) of the adhesive in one cubic meter will change very little.

 

You can find out the general adhesive mass in a cubic meter by subtracting, for example, the specific weight of dry pine (500 kg/m3) from the specific weight of pine plywood.  It will make 50 kg.

To find out the mass of a cube of material from the veneer of larch, poplar or linden it is just necessary to add 50 kg to the weight of dry wood of the corresponding species.

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Conclusion

If wood or plywood has a density less than 500 Kg/m^3 or 0.5 g / Cm^3 then it can be quite easily cut with diode, Co2 and CNC mill

Materials with a medium-density like,  500-700 Kg/m^3 or 0.5-0.7 g / Cm^3 would require air assist, very good focusing and a laser-cut speed would be lower and amounts of repeats will be higher.

Materials with a high density like 700-1000 Kg/m^3 or 0.7-1 g / Cm^3 would be very hard to cut and probably will require a professional powerful milling system or Co2 laser power more than 100 watt for clean edges. Diode lasers might only cut very thin pieces like 1-2mm (1/10”)

 

 

 

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