View Full Version : Piece of Oak - what wood finish to use

Rich Fleming
04-29-2010, 8:55 AM
I'm engraving a piece of oak to try and learn how to use my engraver.

I finish sanded it last night and now I'm at the "I got questions" step.

I've read where you guys put a finish on the wood before engraving. Can you guys/gals recomend a finish and if you recomend putting it on before or after engraving.

Thanks in advance for helping a newbie out.


Mike Null
04-29-2010, 9:27 AM
A lot depends on what finish it will ultimately get and what it's going to be.

But a quick answer is that I would probably use shellac--the sealer coat that you can buy at HD. It contains no wax and a couple of light coats will protect the wood making it easy to clean. Then you can apply just about any final coat you want.

Rich Fleming
04-29-2010, 9:45 AM
So for the most part you do the intial engraving with a coating on the wood?? What about using the laser to cut the oak. Any way around the burnt edges??

Michael Hunter
04-29-2010, 10:37 AM
Way to get a classy finish :

1 Protect the sanded (but otherwise unfinished) wood with masking or protection tape.
2 Engrave.
3 Remove the tape and lightly sand to remove any smoke residue that got under the tape.
4 Oil or beeswax the wood. (With beeswax, you need a brush to get the excess wax out of the engraving, so oil is easier).

It probably doen't make much difference on oak, but for light and medium coloured woods, the oiling/waxing afterwards darkens the engraving which is usually beneficial.

Mike Null
04-29-2010, 10:46 AM
If possible, I would probably not finish the piece first. I would engrave, cut, sand then finish. You will have to engrave a bit deeper but there's not any way around the burn marks from cutting.

Mark Winlund
04-29-2010, 10:58 AM
The real "secret" is non compatible finishes. After engraving, seal the engraved area with spray can lacquer. This prevents the color coat from penetrating the oak. Then apply a waterbased color coat to the engraved area. Let dry thoroughly, then sand with a belt sander. Refinish with spray lacquer. This method gives you dense black markings on any type of wood. Gold paint works well with this method too, if the contrast is needed.