When it comes to industrial cutting machines, there is hardly any technology as reliable as high-pressure waterjet cutting. We have discussed the benefits of waterjet cutting in detail, and how it performs better than any other cutting alternatives.

In this article, we take the discussion a step further. Many people who are interested in adopting waterjet cutting technology ask us ‘Can waterjet cut wood?’

You will find out the answer to the question here, along with other information about the subject that you will find useful.

Can You Really Cut Wood With Water Jet Cutter?

We won’t keep you in suspense for the answer- yes, you can cut thin and thick wood with a water jet cutter. In fact, many of the woodworking industries heavily rely on water jets for cutting wood products.

In fact, a water jet is one of the best methods out there for cutting and processing wood. You will realize this when we discuss the benefits of waterjet cutting wood.

Main Considerations When Cutting Wood With a Waterjet

When people doubt if water jet cutting thick wood is possible, the doubts come due to some considerations about wood such as its resilience and conductivity.

These considerations make wood cutting services impossible with other alternatives such as EDM cutting or plasma cutting. Let us evaluate these considerations in the case of waterjet cutting:

Wood’s Resilience

One might think that wood is a resilient material, so it will deflect the water stream. This worry is eliminated by using abrasive waterjet cutting instead of pure water jet cutting.

Wood Fracture

Wood is more delicate than metal, so woodworking people worry that using methods like water jet to cut wood can fracture or split the material. However, waterjets are very controlled and focused, especially high-end machines provided by Techniwaterjet. Therefore, there is no harm to the material.

Jagged Edges

Cutting wood often results in jagged edges and splinters at the cut edge. Will that happen in waterjet cutting? Absolutely not. Waterjet cutting utilizes a high-energy, high-pressure beam of water. This results in a very smooth and even finish at the cut edges.

Water Absorption

One question that is very particular to waterjet cutting wood is- ‘Will wood absorb the water during the cutting process?’ While most metals and alloys are resilient to a little surface wetness, wood can react quite negatively to it.

However, in the case of waterjet cutting services, the water goes through the wood at such high speed and momentum that there is no time for the wood to absorb the water. Therefore, once the water stream has passed, you will notice that there is no surface wetness and even the edges are still completely dry.

Benefits of Waterjet to Cut Wood

Now that it is clear that waterjet can cut wood perfectly well, let us delve into a deeper question- ‘Is there any benefit of cutting wood with a water jet?’ After all, there is no point in replacing traditional wood cutting methods with water jet cutting if there are no advantages to the process.

When we compare waterjet cutting to other industrial cutting alternatives such as plasma cutting and EDM cutting, there is hardly a comparison. This is because these methods don’t work on non-conductors like wood.

Therefore, we will compare waterjet cutting to saw cutting, since saw cutting is the only other industrial method applied to wood.

Waterjet vs Saw

To have a better understanding of the differences between waterjet and saw cutting, let us discuss the various parameters that matter:

Cut Quality:

In saw cutting, material removal is accomplished by the friction of the saw blade against the workpiece. However, in waterjet cutting, there is no contact between the tool with the workpiece. Therefore, waterjet cutting has a very superior cut quality to saw cutting.

Cut Shape:

When you are using a saw blade to cut wood, you can only work in straight lines. You can cut at an angle, but creating round radial cuts are very difficult with a saw blade. However, with a waterjet cutting machine, you just need to hit a key and you can achieve round cuts with ease.

Wood Thickness:

Saw cutting is a difficult process when the wood workpiece is of considerable thickness. It calls for the need for a thick blade with a very high cutting force. However, in waterjet cutting, abrasive garnet mixed with water can cut through extremely thick wood without any effort.

Accuracy:

A waterjet is leaps and bounds more accurate than a saw cutter. This is because in the case of waterjet cutting, you can make even minuscule adjustments in position by shifting the direction and position of the water stream.

Speed:

Speed is the only parameter where a saw cutter wins in the race against a water jet cutter. Saw cutting wood is faster, and abrasive waterjets will take some time to create the same length of cuts. However, keep in mind that the extra time spent also gives you a better cut quality.

Tips for Cutting Wood With a Waterjet Cutting Machine

As you have already read, computer numerical control (CNC router) waterjet cutters are far superior technology than saw cutting to cut wood. You can improve the cutting efficiency and quality even more by making use of some tips mentioned here:

Stacking:

Cutting a single layer of wood can be slow with waterjet cutting machines. However, you can stack multiple layers of wood and cut them together at the same time. This process is called stacking and can be used for materials other than wood as well.

Water Velocity and Water Pressure:

A water jet can cut even the most delicate pieces of wood and plywood without causing ruin to the edges and without delamination.

However, to ensure safe operation, always adjust the water jet cutting settings like speed and pressure by referring to the user manual settings provided with the waterjet.

Knots in Wood:

When wood contains knots, the area with knots is harder and has a higher density than the rest of the wood area. These knots can take longer to cut, and the grains present can fly around during the cutting process. Take special care when cutting these knots.

Using the Right Abrasive:

If you rely on pure waterjet to cut lumber, the process will take too long. Therefore, use abrasive waterjets to cut precisely any thickness of wood that you require. In fact, after the addition of abrasives, waterjet cutters can cut metal like steel as easily as wood.

Can You Water Jet Plywood?

Plywood contains multiple layers of wood glued together, which makes people wonder if you can water jet plywood. Using other methods for cutting wood often resulting delamination of these layers, so it is fair to ask if that happens with waterjet cutters.

With a waterjet cutter, you can very easily cut plywood without delamination or edge smearing. Just make sure that you are using the right water pressure and velocity.

Can You Water Jet Wood With Knots?

As mentioned earlier, cutting wood with knots requires special care with water jet cutting. For convenience and to maintain the speed of cutting, we recommend that you avoid cutting wood with knots.

While it is possible to cut knots, it can be a hazardous environment due to the wood grains flying around. Additionally, it takes a lot of time to cut knots.

Getting the Right Waterjet Cutter for Wood

All of the benefits mentioned above of water jet cutting wood are applicable only if you use the right machine for the job. Many professionals make the mistake of choosing the wrong machine, which leads to wood breaking off or getting delaminated.

For the best cut quality, we recommend using Techniwaterjet cutting machines. When it comes to waterjet cutters, there is no better setup than that provided by Techniwaterjet.

These machines not only provide smooth cuts on a range of different materials, they also are known for their long-lasting build quality. Therefore, if you are thinking about adding a waterjet cutter for your next project, do give Techniwaterjet a try!

Endnotes

Cutting wood using high-pressure waterjet cutters is not only possible but, in fact, the best way to do it. Waterjet cutting provides benefits that no other woodcutting technology can provide.

In addition to these benefits, you can use your waterjet cutter to cut metals, stone, ceramic, and a lot of other different materials, saving you tremendous costs in the long run.

 

 

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