Step 1: Jointer / Planer to Smooth Rough Cut Wood
Once one side is at least semi-smooth, the wood can then be placed in the Planer to finish both sides. Once the machine starts biting into the wood, continue running it through the planer one side at a time rotating it with each pass. After each pass, the wheel can be turned 1/4 rotation to smooth the surface deeper and deeper.
After both sides are smooth, or to the desired dimension, the Jointer can again be used to smooth all four sides.
Step 2: Use Table Router to add Nice Edge on Plaque
After setting up the machine with the bit in place, start with one cross grain edge, and begin cutting. Extreme care should be taken when operating the machine. Once one side is complete, move around the piece to complete the other three sides. Multiple passes can help to further smooth out the edges.
Once all four edges are completed, this finalizes the work needed in the wood shop. Remember to clean up! ;-D
Step 3: Choose Photos and Laser Engrave on Plaque
When choosing your image, find one with good contrast. Turn the image to grey scale, and test out the most important part of the image on a similar material surface. After completing multiple tests, and trying different settings, the full image can be printed on the laser engraver.
All done, and now you can put your plaque on the mantle, or give it as a gift!