Trouble carving oak

Hi Everyone - I’ve had the xc up and running for a couple of weeks and have been having a lot of fun learning. Yesterday, however, I attempted a project in oak and I wasn’t exactly pleased with the results. I was hoping for some tips. Take a look at the photos:

From a distance I was initially pleased, but as I looked closer I could see that the sharpness of the numbers/letters wasn’t very good. As may be evident in the photos, this “roughness” in certain areas of the carving seems to coincide with the grain of the oak. I’ve been trying to spot sand these areas by hand, but to no avail. Even tried my Dremel with a sanding wheel. This is my first time working with oak, so is this perhaps just one of the things you have to deal with when using this kind of wood, or could it perhaps be issues with my xc, toolpath, or speeds?

Info: piece of oak, 7" x 7". Roughing pass done with a 6.3 mm end mill, running at a speed rate of 800 mm/minute. Finish pass done with 3.175 mm ball end, 500 mm/minute feed, .400 mm stepover.

Like @RobertCanning said, red oak is horrible for 3d milling. I prefer cherry as it carves very nicely, even better then maple in my opinion.

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Third in the pile against red oak. I prefer something with a clear dense grain like maple, but even soft woods like pine (if you can find a good piece) work great.

The good news is, since the roughness in your carve is caused by the grain of the wood, you can still salvage it just by shifting your expectations a bit. Now it’s a “rustic” sign and it looks “natural” and “vintage” :smiley:

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That’s a good tip, Mike! :smile: Thanks for the advice, everyone. I’ll stay away from this stuff in the future!

I’d say there are probably a hundred species of wood better than oak for just about everything. The wood is terrible, it’s like the hardwood version of pine; about the best thing you can do with it is put it in the fireplace. IMO

I agree with everyone else “Carvers - Just say no to Oak” Oak is bad mmmmK

As an avid wood turner and wood worker if you can get Arbutus (Madrone) or Gerry Oak (Oregon Oak) they both machine quite nice.

I’ve had reasonable results with a flat endmill on Red Oak. But a ball endmill always just rides up and over the grain too much. I really like poplar for milling. Home Depot usually has nice poplar boards.