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I thought it could be laser but the wood is exposed raw inside the letters.

Could this be obtained with a router and a template? This is done on several tables in the very same way so it is repeatable.

Maybe applying something on wood and then the varnish was applied and finally the letters removed leaving the wood raw exposed?

  • Easily done with a CNC router or (if the piece is small enough) mill.
    – 3Dave
    May 11, 2018 at 19:04
  • This is the corner of a tabletop in a venue. The tabletop is for 6 persons, the engraving is about 2 x 4 inches. It spells URSUS (a local beer brew - ursus-breweries.ro/?lng=2) May 13, 2018 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


The type of letters shown in your photo can be made by using a metal stencil (template) and then using a sand blasting process to etch away the wood through the letter opening in the stencil. Words are often created by the letter stencils being installed side by side in a holding frame or jig.

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Note that I have seen sandblasted signs where there was a telltale narrow line between the letters where the sandblaster made it through when the individual stencil pieces were not fit tightly together.

Note that it is also a common practice to make sandblasted wood signs where the letters or art images themselves are metal to protect the wood surface and the sandblasting removes the surrounding "background" to some depth.

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  • Having seen this answer, I've hit the up arrow for it, as the original question shows an image that might have been lightly sandblasted to bring out the grain, then masked to create the deeper lettering. I suppose if one had the resources, it could be a combination of both methods!
    – fred_dot_u
    May 6, 2018 at 21:27

Having engraved wood with my laser, I can attest that the wood would be "exposed raw" inside the lettering and the image confirms that a laser performed the work. This is evident due to the raised grain, which presents to the laser energy a higher resistance to being burned away.

You would not get such "irregularities" in the surface with a router and template.

It's not atypical to mask a surface with vinyl sign transfer paper or even ordinary quality masking tape prior to performing the engraving. This reduces the residue deposited by the burned vapors condensing on the surface.

The image you've provided would indicate that the wood was finished (sanded and varnished) and allowed to dry, then masked, followed by engraving.

While masked, after engraving, additional treatment can be performed. I've masked wood surfaces, engraved deeply, then applied thick acrylic paint to form an inlay of sorts. After drying, the masking is removed, as in the photo you've provided.

  • Problem is, the same effect occurs with sandblasting, as the darker grain is harder and more resistant to abrasion. May 6, 2018 at 21:53

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