Some Vital Features of CNC Machining in Woodworking Projects
By Nice Rapid | May 04 , 2021

I know we are all familiar with the different types of metals used in CNC machining, but what about wood? For many, this might come as a surprise as most people usually think wood is an easy material to machine because it's pliable and soft.

There might be some truth to it, but actually, that's not the case because it can be programed with a high feed rate when machining wood than compared to metals. Wood comes with a set of unique properties that must be considered to attain efficiency when using a CNC machine.

It specifically for this post that we’ve decided to briefly talk about the key features of wood that need to be factored in when using machining for your wood project.

1)Types of wood

We usually have three types of wood that you must become acquainted with namely engineered wood, softwood, and hardwood.

>>Hardwood: The standard and normal definition of the wood, its normally referred to as angiosperm commonly known known as broadleaf tree. Some of the best examples of hardwood include examples aremaple, oak and birch trees. Hardwood is mostly used to make construction materials, decks, flooring, and furniture.

>>Softwood: Softwood is usually is a type of wood that is made from the gymnosperm or coniferous tree. These woods are normally less dense compared to hardwood and thus are significantly easier for the machine. These woods are normally used to make doors, window panes just to name a few. The best examples of softwood are cedar and pine trees.

>>Engineered Wood: They are mostly made of composite wood derived from strands, wood and particles that are tightly knit using an adhesive. In most cases, these adhesives can be quite abrasive which leads to early tool wear and making it difficult for the machine. There are certain types of engineered wood which makes it a bit hard to machine as they have additional binding materials compared to the rest of the wood. To make them pliable, the CNC machine is mostly programmed to be less aggressivein speed and feed.

2)Key properties of wood to consider

Aside from the type of wood, you must also consider other features that you need to pay special attention to when it comes to CNC machining of woodworking projects.

Moisture content

One of the most vital features that you need to consider is the moisture content, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to working with wood is warping. This can only happen when the moisture content is not factored in leading to a decrease or increase which tampers with the shape of a part or product. High moisture content can also result in the wear and tear of the machining tool.


This normally refers to a part of a limb or branch that’s normally located on the trunk, knots tend to influence the wood mechanical properties as it normally disrupts the flow of direction of wood fibers.

The knot area is normally weak and cracks under pressure, when it comes to machining the knotted portions on the part and product are subjected to slow machining which reduces shock loading.

When working with CNC machines different factors affect wood efficiency, so the next time you are using wood for your machining project you'll know exactly what to look for. 

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