Help with a detailed carve

Hi there, I need some help to solve my carving issues. I’m trying to carver a small detailed logo the finished product looks horrible. I’m using a 30 degree bit, and my setting are 30 in/min, plunge rate is 9 in/min and the depth per pass is 0.028 in. As the carve gets going, I’ve even slowed the feed rate to 12 in/min and the outcome is bad. Any suggestions? I’m carving on Douglas Fir. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.

Others more knowledgeable will weigh in, but my first thought is the Douglas Fir. I wouldn’t think it a wood to hold great detail with it’s grain and varying densities.

Try MDF or PVC and see if results are different.


Thanks, I’ll give it a try.

Yeah, Douglas Fir is extremely soft and holds special properties in the wood world. It is one species that will actually work its way into you if you get a splinter. Just ask my dad, 1.5" piece removed from his palm (thumb area) after it worked its way up into the joint and locked it …

I would also possibly think about the depth of cut. You can often get very good result when V-Carving when carving pretty shallow.


Brandon Parker

Thanks for the info. What about speeds? I have a sample piece going now and the feed rate is at 20 percent. Way too slow.

20% of … ??? What is the base feed rate?

What bit are you using?


Brandon Parker

40in feed rate and I’m using a 30 degree bit from inventables.

Normally the default values are OK to start with, but people find that they often bump them up quite a bit. Is your router on #1 for speed? I still think that Douglas Fir is not a good choice for a carve where you are expecting fine detail to be carved.


Brandon Parker

Ok, my router is at one. What wood would you recommend? I’m trying to put this logo on a flag. Funny thing is that it’s worked at least 6 times before but this time it wont come out right. Thanks for the help.

It really depends on what you are looking for, but hard-woods tend to work pretty well. Red Oak tends to have large pores which can cause issues. Pines typically work well if it is higher quality wood. Even MDF works well for the most part.

You have not changed anything else with the machine, have you? You could try carving something else out of a scrap piece and see how it looks…


Brandon Parker

I kept the settings the same, so maybe the wood I got was softer. MDF is working better but I have to go really slow or the detailed letters get lost.

You said it worked 6 times before. Is it possible your bit is getting dull?

I tried new bits. I think the fir was too soft and maybe I did not prep/sand it down enough.

First Douglas fur, Pine or any of the soft woods are difficult at times. If you can step up to a hardwood I think you will see a better result. Also with something with that much detail I would drop down to a 10° V bit I think you’ll see a tremendous difference.

Hope this helps

Douglas fir can be difficult. It has a fibrous nature which can cause problems. If it is well aged and dried indoors for a few months it works better. The other suggestions above are very good. I have had the best results with well aged clear pine. I have also found that running the program a second time with everything the same will clean up a lot of the fuzziness especially with working in MDF or HDF. Then some minor hand sanding can clean up the fuzz.