The Cricut Maker is all the rage. Hobby crafters around the world are absolutely loving this clever piece of crafting gadgetry.
And why wouldn’t you? This all-in-one tool can engrave, draw, and score across a wide range of materials. From paper to cardboard to even wood… the Cricut can make short work of it all.
And, just what types of wood can a Cricut Maker cut through?
You can cut through thin Balsa wood and Basswood. The Cricut can also cut through Cricut’s official Chipboard product as well.
But can the Cricut really handle that sturdy piece of Basswood? And what makes Balsa so good for crafting? And, what’s more, why are you only able to cut through official Chipboard?…
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So, What Type Of Wood Can The Cricut Maker Cut?
The Cricut is great at making its way through very soft kinds of wood. Wood types that have straight and very even wood grain are perfect.
Which is why the top two recommended Cricut wood types are Basswood and Balsa Wood.
A Quick Balsa Wood Primer
Balsa wood is a lightweight wood that is surprisingly soft to the touch (for a hardwood species). Used frequently to make crafts such as model airplanes, this light colored lumber is incredibly easy to cut into.
Which is why it is a first choice wood for whittling wood carvings.
Any Balsa wood material that has been cut thinly enough will work with the Cricut.
Related Post: Is Balsa Wood Good For Carving? (Explained)
Basswood is another type of lumber that the Cricut can make quick work of. It’s easy to work with, and it weighs very little. Plus, it has wood grain so fine that it’s barely distinguishable.
Basswood is another great type of wood for carving with too, as a whittling tool can cut into this lumber just as easily as the Cricut can.
Related Post: Where Can I Buy Wood For Carving? (Solved!)
So, Can The Cricut Maker Really Cut Basswood?
Provided you’ve cut that Basswood material down to thin strips, your Cricut will have no trouble carving its way through this light brown lumber.
Related Post: How To Cut Basswood Strips Down To Size
And What About Chipboard?
Chipboard is very different to Balsa and Basswood, in that it isn’t a natural wood at all.
Instead Chipboard, (also known as Particle Board), is what we refer to in the industry as being a ‘Manufactured Wood‘.
Related Post: Just What Is Manufactured Wood Anyway?
This man-made engineered wood is a total derivative of the real stuff. Why? Well, because Chipboard is made by gluing compressed wood chips, shavings and sawdust together.
It’s used in everything from flooring, to kitchen worktops, to scrapbooks. And, if cut thinly enough, it can be used with the Cricut Maker too.
Related Post: 7 Best Free Cricut Fonts For Fantastic Wood Signs
Can The Cricut Maker Cut Chipboard (Just Like Balsa And Basswood)?
Short answer is, no, it cannot.
Now, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, Chipboard is made of, well, wood chips! Specifically it’s a bunch of tiny wood fragments and sawdust that get mashed together and glued up into boards.
In fact, we have a whole article comparing chipboard to plywood if you want to learn more about this manufactured wood: Plywood Vs Chipboard: Which One Has The Strength To Make For Great Flooring?
But for now, the main thing to know is that chipboard is an affordable material made by repurposing wood scraps into usable boards. Though it’s not as strong as real wood, it has its place in crafts, furniture and construction.
But all that being said, you should not use a Cricut to cut any old Chipboard.
And the reason for this is because of all of those random wood scraps found inside Chipboard. If there is a particularly dense/tough wood chip inside Chipboard, then your Cricut cutting tool could end up damaged by it.
Which is why, (if you want to make a Chipboard craft), you should only ever use the official Cricut Chipboard product.
If you use any other Chipboard material, you are going to run into a bunch of very expensive problems later on.
Can The Cricut Maker Cut Birch Plywood?
No it can’t cut through Birch Plywood. Thanks to all of those veneer layers, Birch Plywood is much too tough for the Cricut.
Birch ply is a manufactured wood, one that’s been formed into an incredibly sturdy material. And that sturdiness is reflected in it’s Janka Hardness Rating.
What is the Janka Hardness Rating, you ask? Well, the Janka rating is the woodworking industry standard for measuring how tough a piece of lumber is.
The higher the rating, the tougher the wood. And the tougher the wood, the more difficult it is to cut and carve.
Now, Balsa wood has a very low Janka rating of 70 lbfs (this means it takes just 70 pounds of force to make a real dent in it). And Basswood can withstand a bit more wear and tear, clocking in at a Janka rating of 410 lbfs.
Birch Plywood, on the other hand, has a Janka hardness rating that ranges anywhere between 1260 to as much as 4000 lbfs!
You see, Birch plywood is extra sturdy because it has 13 layers glued together instead of the 5-7 layers in regular plywood. More layers = less likely to bend and warp.
And that’s why Baltic Birch plywood is great when it comes to heavy duty flooring (which you can learn more about in our post here: What’s The Best Type Of Wood For A Utility Trailer Floor?).
But for Cricut crafts, Baltic birch is overkill. It’s too thick and tough to cut cleanly with that fine blade.
Could you imagine trying to get that 13-ply Baltic birch through your machine? No thanks!
So, long story short, you will have to cross Birch Plywood off your list of possible crafting materials.
Related Post: 7 Clever Cricut Maker Wood Projects
How Thick A Piece Of Wood Can The Cricut Maker Cut? Cricut machines (including the Cricut Maker 3) can cut wood that is up to 3/32 inches thick (which is around 2.4 millimetres).
So To Sum Up…
If you want to add some wooden crafts to your list of Cricut projects, then you won’t go too far wrong in grabbing Balsa wood from your local hobby store.
Basswood machines well too, although you will need to make sure that it is sliced thinly enough (no more than 3/32 inches), for the Cricut to handle.