An improved method and apparatus increasing the accuracy and reducing the time required to machine materials, surface treat materials, and allow better control of defects such as particulates in pulsed laser deposition. The speed and quality of machining is improved by combining an ultrashort pulsed laser at high average power with a continuous wave laser. The ultrashort pulsed laser provides an initial ultrashort pulse, on the order of several hundred femtoseconds, to stimulate an electron avalanche in the target material. Coincident with the ultrashort pulse or shortly after it, a pulse from a continuous wave laser is applied to the target. The micromachining method and apparatus creates an initial ultrashort laser pulse to ignite the ablation followed by a longer laser pulse to sustain and enlarge on the ablation effect launched in the initial pulse. The pulse pairs are repeated at a high pulse repetition frequency and as often as desired to produce the desired micromachining effect. The micromachining method enables a lower threshold for ablation, provides more deterministic damage, minimizes the heat affected zone, minimizes cracking or melting, and reduces the time involved to create the desired machining effect.