Pictured above is a Wood tile with tape peeled off around the borders and of half the treestump detail. You can see where one treestump looks more orange and the other more white.
Notice I didn't say "and sanded".
Over the past couple days, I've been doing an experiment. On the advice of a fellow TechShop member, I tried using the orbital sander on my plank before doing the laser cutting. On this example, I used 400 grit paper beforehand. This really improves the adhesion the contact paper (masking tape) gets against the wood. When etching this piece, there were none of the tiresome pull-aways I'm used to. When I pulled off the tape, the surface of the wood was completely unmarred.
Usually I would spend 15-30 minutes per tile sanding the orange areas off. But with this new technique, this tile can go from the laser bed, to demasking, and straight to varnish.