Maple Leaf Tray and a Problem

This year my parents are celebrating 50 happy years of marriage, and we recently celebrated the occasion by going on a trip to Alaska and Canada. I was under the assumption we’d be in Canada for a little longer than we actually were, so to commemorate the occasion I made them a maple leaf catch-all tray out of Ambrosia Maple. In the end, we were mostly in Alaska and I probably should’ve done something more related to that, but too late for that.

If you have 1 min 45 seconds to spare, check out this video of the tray being made: Making a Maple Leaf Tray on the CNC - YouTube

Now, the original design had their names and date of their marriage. I really struggled with the VCarve, however. Admittedly, I am still a newbie on the CNC and I have done very little VCarving. Their names were barely showing up and the cut just wasn’t very deep. My assumption is that the letters were too small and narrow to allow a deeper carve than it was giving. After several attempts with no success, and since I was under a 24 hour deadline, I scrapped their names and marriage date. Instead, I put a big 50 in the center of the tray. Classy? Not at all, but this is a catch-all tray that is meant to be used.

Any tips you may have regarding VCarving, please share!!!


Your 50 worked fine so what was different about the names and date? Definitely width of letter will have an impact. You can go deeper if you use a lower angle bit. E.g. That 50 looks like it may have been a 90º. A 60º can cut deeper and of course you can get in to 18º, etc bits if you want. If you go very narrow bit, also go with a very small step over or you can end up with an ugly bottom of the cut if you are also limiting the depth of cut.


The 50 was much bigger than the lettering for the names and date. I didn’t want those words completely overshadowed by the 50, I was trying to use a 60º or a 30º for the lettering. I tried adjusting the depth, but what I later realized is that I can set the program to go as deep as I want, but for a VCarve it will automatically override to stay within the lines of the letters (which is great). I have a lower angle bit (15º, I believe), but have not yet entered it into the database for use. I think it would’ve worked out with that bit and making the letters a little bigger to accommodate the bit-size better.

Thanks for the info!

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From my limited experience, a wider, “fatter”/bolder font with a pocket area, works much better for v carving. There will be limited detail due to size restriction and depth of the lettering as well. The bigger the better.

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Definitely. I was trying to find nice, wide letters, but I think that in the end my letters were too small for that to matter. Making sure there could be a small pocket path sounds like an excellent gauge, so thank you for sharing that!

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