Buddy of mine is retiring, and the fellas and I are going to get him a set of hardwood pistolgrips and have them laser engraved. I really love the look of rosewood, but I don't know how well the engraving will show up in the dark wood.
What would be the best--Lighter or darker wood?
What could I do to darken up the etched part? Rattle can black paint, then wipe it off of the grip, leaving black in the engraving?
What say you guys?
I've been laser engraving wood stocks for years. The color of the wood really doesn't matter if you control the heat and depth of the engraver. If you want the engraving to show up dark, then it has to be burned in deeper and hotter. A shallow engraving will be on the light side no matter what wood you use. A word of caution... the deeper you go, then more detail you will lose. The detail will only be as good as the original picture you use to scan into the machine. If you start with a poor quality picture, then the engraving will turn out the same.
I have found that filling in the engraving with paint or other types of products will diminish the detail. Below are a few examples of ones that I have done. You can see the difference between the light color of the engraving on the Maple stock, and the darker engraving on the exotic stock. The customer with the Maple stock wanted a light, but detailed engraving. I even tried to use bedding compound to fill in the bedding on one stock thinking it would stand out more. I was mistaken...
I would suggest you find a guy that knows his machine, so he can provide you with what you are looking for.