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Can we work with recycled wood?

Reclaimed wood laser engraved sign for Old School Fabrications

I’m often asked if we can engrave recycled wood. Here’s an example of a project where we did just that.

We  laser engraved two of these signs made from reclaimed pine for Old School Fabrications (OSF). They were for an exhibition for the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

When the wood arrived for engraving, it was covered with nasty old green paint and looked awful! OSF had cut the boards to size as they were too thick for us. We just had to engrave them.

Engraving through to the good wood

We made a good, deep engrave to give a significant 3D element to the signs. This was particularly important as OSF wanted to sand the signs after engraving to get back to the good wood under the layers of paint. A pine is a softwood, this was easier to achieve than if oak had been used. Engraving using the same power and speed settings on the laser machine will always deliver a deeper engraving if a less dense wood like pine or larch is used rather than on a more dense wood like oak.

Old School Fabrications then took the engraved wood for finishing and treatment for outdoor use. As you can see, the transformation was incredible, and all the knots and imperfections in the wood added to the beauty of the signs. This picture shows one of them mounted in Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square by the pond, where OSF put a model crocodile to complete the African vibe!

We were lucky enough to get our hands on one of the signs the exhibition was finished. They were no longer required, so ours is in pride of place on the workshop wall.  It’s a great example to show customers when they visit of how they can expect engraved wood to look. And it also shows just how well reclaimed wood can scrub up.

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