Your MATERIAL makes as much difference as your CNC.

I made a poll, because honestly this is me learning too about what materials people really like working with when doing CNC milling. This is the list of about 50 people in the trade and some added opinions behind the why.


Alderwood (590)

Cherry (950)

Walnut (1010)

Sepele (1410)

Bamboo (1380)

Padauk (1970)

Hard Maple (1450)

Hickory (1820)

Red Oak (1220)

Teakwood (1155)

Cedar (320)

Baltic Birch (1260)

Beech (my personal favorite) (1300)

Jatoba (2820)

Douglas Fir (660)

Dogwood (2150)

Olivewood (1520)

Bacote (2110)

Mahogany (850)

Zebrawood (1830)

Purpleheart (2520)

So some wood side notes. I think really any wood can be cut- but the key is finding the wood that is going to hold together well (a hard wood) but not kill your bit, be ridiculously expensive or be brittle in the fine portions of the cut. I added some hardness scales (Janka) to the woods above for additional information. Higher numbers are hard (highest being 5060).

Also you should know that woods, 1. Can smell wonderful and make it worth the carve, and 2. Can cause allergies! Many people have strange allergies to wood dust. I have issues with hickory.

My favorite place @DakotaHardwoodsSanAntonio!



HDU or High-Density Urethane

MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard

HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene

HDPE Color Core (really cool and easy way to get multiple colors on layers)

Corian (acrylic polymer & alumina trihydrate)



High Density Fiberboard

Exterior MDF

Fire Rated MDF

MDO Plywood or Medium Density Overlay Plywood


Wood Veneers

Insulation Foam Board



Aluminum Composite (Dibond, Maxmetal)

Brass (CZ120)

Carbon Fiber

Titanium (ouch- I’m gonna have to try this one, sounds expensive and hard)

 Aluminum (5086)

Last but not least (a little joke) Unobtainium! Which generally refers to whatever species of material you are looking for when you ABSOLUTELY need it.

If I missed something, please comment and I will add it!

Make sure to check out the rest of my website and blog!

Have a great one!


Hill Country CNC & Woodwork

#cncmachining #makersformakers #sanantonio #dakotahardwoods

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