Making the Case for Wood
The first designs I created at Circamade were all laser cut wooden accessories. Between the natural beauty, the unique quality of each piece, and the warmth of working with organic forms, wood is a very satisfying medium to design and produce in. Combined with its ease of cutting and assembly, it makes a perfect material to focus on. Plus there is the added benefit of your workspace smelling like an amazing campfire.
All of the woods I use are purchased from a family owned lumber shop based out of the mountains of Wisconsin, in the United States. The more one understands the unique characteristics of wood and its source, the more one appreciates the warmth and beauty it brings.
Types of Wood to Choose From
I use three woods primarily at Circamade: Maple, Cherry and Walnut. These cover the spectrum of light to dark, and are all well suited to laser cutting and engraving. The contrast between the three on pieces where I inlay them together is top notch.
Hard Maple wood has a light creamy color that takes a great finish.
It grows in the mid-atlantic and lake states in the Eastern US. Aside from the beautiful wood, a single Maple tree produces up to 12 gallons of sap a year. Hoove Designs mentions that it is so hard and resistant to shocks that it is often used for bowling alley or dance floors. Keep this in mind the next time you're dancing at a wedding while rocking our Tie Clips or Wood Cufflinks! Unlike other hardwoods, where the heartwood is typically used for lumber, with maple the sapwood is commonly used. This combined with the high sap content makes it a fantastic option for laser cutting and engraving.
Cherry wood has a rich reddish color that deepens with age.
With a varied wood grain and delicious fruit, Cherry develops a lush color as it ages and is exposed to sunlight. It has a high resin (sap) content, which causes the laser beam to create a dark burn and high contrast. Fun fact from Hardwood Info: early printmakers used cherry for their engraving blocks. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the engraved patterns on our Cherry Wood Money Clips are my favorite.
Walnut is a dark colored wood that develops a rich patina.
It grows commonly in the Eastern United States, but is only about half as prevalent as either Maple or Cherry. It develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age. Because it is a darker wood, the contrast of any engraved designs will be more subtle than with other woods. And according to the Telegraph, there is a tradition of beating up Walnut trees. To the best of my knowledge no trees were beat in the making of Circamade products.
As we continue to expand our assortment, I am always looking to try new woods. Special edition Rosewood, Purpleheart, and Wenge designs are due out later this year, and if there are any special products you want feel free to contact us and we will work with you to make the perfect piece.