Trouble carving small text - lines are missing on some letters

Hi, I am trying to carve letters 0.7" high into oak using 1/16" and 1/32" straight bits. Carve is set to “Fill” with a depth of 0.005". Most of the letters carve OK but some letter do not completely carve, for instance lower case letters like “e” and “a” are missing the horizontal lines in the center of the letter. Tried several different fonts, some are better than others - but none of them carve all letters correctly. Is this a known problem with Easel? Any idea whats happening here?

Any help greatly appreciated-


X Carve photo

Hi Larry,

On “fill” type cuts, Easel will not carve outside the lines. If the bit cannot fit into an area without going outside the lines, it won’t try to carve there. Some parts of the letters in your sign were probably slightly too small to be reached by a 1/32" bit without going outside the lines. Each of those carves looks like they were done with different fonts, so you are seeing slightly different results in each case due to the varying sizes of the letters in those fonts.

You can see what will be carved before starting a carve by clicking the “Generate detailed preview” button on the 3D side of Easel. Any areas that can’t be reached will preview as un-carved areas. Your options are to either make the design larger, use a smaller bit, or use a V-bit.

The letters are to small for the bit sometimes if you bump up the size of the letters a little it seems to help

Aternatively you can tell it to carve either one the line, out outside the line… depending on the font and size this can leave raised center areas on some letters and fill in interior spaces (for on the line), or miss interior spaces as too small (outside the line)…

it’s not really a unique problem to Easel, although some software will let you cheat. This is why small text is most often done with a v-bit

Thanks for the advice Jeff. A few follow up questions:

  1. I can’t seem to figure out how to enlarge the preview window so that I can see a detailed view of what will carve. How do you zoom??
  2. I’ve noticed that the straight bits always make two passes for letters - once for the outside of the letter and then again for the inside of the letter. Does the V-bit do a single pass? Is there any way to force the straight bit do a single pass?
  3. What size V-bit and Straight bit do you recommend for the smallest lettering? 1/2" to 3/4" letter height is optimal for my projects.


Change to a vbit and carve or tell the machine you are using a bit that will cut the small lines ie .015 and still use the vbit Be careful with the depth of cut if you are trying to fool the machine. Simulate with a vbit to get an idea of what it will look like when carved at the desired depth of cut and adjust as necessary before you carve

You zoom by using the scroll wheel on your mouse, or if you have a track pad either two fingers up/down or by swiping on the edge of the track pad. You can pan the 3D preview by holding the control (cmd on a mac) button and click-dragging with the mouse.

I am not sure what you mean. If you share your project (File / Share / Shared with link) and paste the link here, someone could probably simulate your tool paths and explain what is happening.

You will probably want to use a v-bit, but really experimenting and trying different things is probably the best approach.

Definitly go to v-bits. I use a 20degree v-bit for small text, at 1mm doc, and it comes out great

If I don’t want to use one of my free Easel Pro days, then I just set the bit size at .005".

Do a few test carves first to see how it comes out. Good Luck !