Best wood for letters

What wood is best to carve letters like below, I find MDF to not always work well and break the letters mid carve…

I’ve used 1/4" ply in the past but I had to clean up the edges a little bit. I am interested to see what others say as well.

Those look pretty small, you may always have problem with them breaking. If you are painting them, you may want to consider using HDF or a non-wood like acrylic. Since it is painted, perhaps switch to a poplar if you want to stay with wood. I’m wondering if CNC router is really the best choice. For fine, thin, painted wood you may be better off with a laser cutter.


Depending on the size of the letters, you could do a profile carve in thicker material to trace the outline of the letters with a 1/8" bit. Don’t carve the full depth of your material. Then use a bandsaw to cut the letters free from the stock. Essentially like resawing your 3/4" material into thinner stock, or removing plugs when using a plug cutter. Like this photo (not mine - found it with a Google search).

1 Like

One of the things I found helpful for reducing tear out of small parts for doing inlays is to increase RPMs and reduce feed rate. For my 30°V bit I use 20k rpm and 40 IPM. It greatly reduced/eliminated breaking off small tips of the inlay.

While it looks like you are not using a V bit, it may be worth experimenting to see if pushing up your speed and reducing you feed to find a sweet spot that solves your problem without going to far that it hurts your chipload


A few weeks ago I purchased a set of wooden crafted letters from Krafty Supply. The type of wood they use I am not aware of, but they are finely finished and very pleasing to the eye. I have searched for wooden crafted letters on many websites and I ordered from there, But the quality of the wooden product sold by Krafty Supply is something else.