It is that time of year again

The CNC machine is useful for many things. At this time if year, I find myself making many small gifts and this year is no exception. I had a block of olive wood that had split along the grain in a manner which had precluded using the wood for a project that would have required the whole piece. I used a bandsaw to cut of useable slices and then reduced the slices into four equal sized pieces.

I created a small jig with MDF and used it to secure the pieces for drilling. I used a straight-sided carbide uncoated cutter to make small holes just larger than the cutter’s 3.175mm (1/8") diameter so that I could bore the holes using a helical toolpath.

The olive wood is nicely figured and very dense and hard. I engraved some with a 60° V bit which left me with the issue of how to fill the letters. I have not yet found a method I like enough to persist with this type of engraving. I changed for my 4.2W JTech laser, which gives me a huge choice of typefaces, and when combined with LightBurn software, it is difficult to get it wrong. I engraved the text elements at a feed speed of 800mm per minute and 60% power. Each piece required about five minutes to engrave to a depth of .1mm (0.004").

The wood was sanded with a belt sander with 180 grit to remove any bandsaw cut marks prior to engraving. After engraving, the wood was sanded with a random orbital sander to remove very fine scorch marks at the edges of some letters. The final grit size used to finish the wood was 1500 and the workpieces were held against the sander rather than trying to bring the sander to a stationary workpiece. The workpieces were finished with a 32mm sized 304 stainless steel flat key ring and a creme of walnut oil and beeswax application, which coloured the wood very nicely to accentuate the grain.

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