How to cut a 3d relief 2 inch deep with only 1" wood available?

Hi everyone. I bought a stl file on ebay and cut it on a 1inch piece of pine. The relief just would look a lot better if I could cut it on a 2inch thick piece of wood, so a person could see more defined highs and lows in the relief. I can not find a lumber supplier that sell 2inch thick by 24" square anywhere. Could I glue two boards on top of each other then cut it? Not sure if anyone has run across this? I was thing I could also use HDU sign foam but its about 50.00 a sq. foot. way to much money for this small project.

Can you just use some dimensional lumber? A 2×X is 1.5 inches thick or a 4×X is 3.5 inches thick.

need a true 2" thick or thicker but I know x-carve can only hold 2 1/2"

Oh, I suppose I didn’t realize that was the off-the-shelf stock maximum. Mine is modified.

Glue will work. That is, after all, how plywood is made in the first place. Just make sure you put a lot of pressure evening across the area you’re gluing together. You can get plywood glue from your local big-box-hardware-store.

Ok thanks. I read harder woods have a better finish than pine on cutting reliefs. That true? I have only tried pine so far.

I haven’t experimented with reliefs yet. But, it makes sense, the harder woods have a higher density, so would better hold together and show small details.

Is this for something like a sign? Or for a real detailed bas-relief picture?

If a sign, you’re better off with 2 -3 sheets of plywood, glued up to make the thickness you want.

But if it is detailed carving, then you have to consider the ability of the wood to hold detail. Plywood won’t be very good for that. For detailed carving, I’d suggest locating a real lumber supply store – not a big-box store. A lumber supply store should carry 8/4 stock ~ 2" thick. You’d have to glue up several pieces top get your 24" square blank, however.

Basswood is pretty cheap and is the choice of carvers for its ability to hold fine detail. Cherry is good also, but more expensive and will darken with age.

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I did not know that about basswood. I bought some because if supposedly floats for making fishing lures. Now I will have to try some 3d carving!

P.S. If anyone has a decent 3d model of a lure, that would be cool.

if it has to be 2", you need 8/4 from a supplier.

You can use glue, but if you’re going down the full 2" make sure you have extra long bits

Not sure what your overall shop situation is so will give several options. I’m assuming by your description, you are needing a 24"x24" 2" thick piece. This has almost 600 square inches. To get a good glue bond, you do need some amount of even pressure on the entire joint, which makes gluing 2 pieces of plywood a little tricky. A vaccuum press is the easiest way to get this. Easy to build using a trash bag and a shop vac. Should be able to get about 1000 lbs using this (typical shop vac about 50" water or 1.8 PSI) Parking a car on top is also an option, but usually that ends up with high pressure in the middle, and nothing on the outside, but you can use more ply on top to help spread the load.

A second option that only take 4 standard clamps would be to glue strips together. This actually will make a more stable board than a solid piece in this size. Simply rip standard construction lumber into strips (I’d go like 2 1/4"), stand them on edge and glue them together with standard carpenters glue. To get higher quality lumber I typically use 2x10 or 2x12 lumber. I won’t go into details on why, but you end up with close to a quarter sawn glue up which is very stable. Use the xCarve to surface both sides to end up with a clean 2" thick board.

Finally, if you don’t have an equipped shop, let us know your general location. Somebody may be able to help you out. If you are near central Indiana, I would myself.


I would probably laminate a bunch of 2" tall strips of thinner wood together into a board the size that I need… But… Have you looked at cutting boards? You might find one that is decently cheap and will do what you want without the trouble of laminating the wood yourself.