View Full Version : Oak Plaques - finish question...

Mike Burroughs
03-11-2007, 6:38 PM
I have to make 2 oak plaques (first time for me). A friend of mine owns a wood shop and made me the plaques out of 1" solid oak boards. My question is... Do I engrave them first and then stain/finish them or am I better off staining them first and then engraving them? Or can it be done either way with different results.

Again, this is my first time making these so which why will produce the best result and will be the easiest for me.

Thanks much,

George M. Perzel
03-11-2007, 6:52 PM
Hi Mike;
I recommend finishing them first and then engraving-much easier to fill if you need better contrast. Good Luck
Best regards;

Nancy Laird
03-11-2007, 8:24 PM
Mike, unless you finish first, you will get black stuff all over the oak and not be able to remove it without sanding. We do many plaques of maple, oak, and birch. We finish with one (sprayed) coat of sanding sealer, sand lightly, then two (and sometimes three) costs of lacquer. Keeps the ugly stuff off the wood.

If you intend to color-fill, WAX the plaques first with a good-quality floor wax made for wood floors. It will seal the ends of the pores and keep the color bleed from happening. Then after you put on the paint (we use Liquitex Basics acrylics), wipe off the excess ACROSS the grain to keep from pulling the paint out of the engraved parts, let dry for an hour or so, then wax again to remove any paint residue and give the plaque a nice shine.

If you are using any color of acrylic than a brown-based color, be warned that reds, yellows, blues all tend to turn "muddy" on top of the brown lasered portions of your plaque. I had a suggestion recently to use a white as a first coat--as sort of a primer, and the colors would stay truer. Haven't tried it, but it does make sense.


Stanley Waldrup
08-26-2007, 9:01 PM
Hello Nancy. I just did a bunch of little wood sign and ended up with the bleed problem you described. Could you tell me a little more about the wax you are using. The only products I seen were for no wax floors..

Nancy Laird
08-26-2007, 9:17 PM

We use a wax made for wood floors. The one we use is Holland House professional, and we buy it at Smith's (owned by Kroger). You have to use the wax liberally to seal those pores before using the wax.

Nancy (117 days)

Stephen Beckham
08-26-2007, 10:01 PM
I use the Pledge ReVitalizing Oil first (Orange Oil) - when placed on the rag and lightly wiped on the oak, it doesn't get into the lasered parts but makes a nice coating that comes clean easily.

The next step, I take plain old Black Leather Dye and dab it into the lasered parts. It will make a big black mess on the surface that wipes right off, but fills the etching very nice.

If I don't need as much contrast, I use Old English in a light or dark color.

This works on Oak and Walnut. It will not work on Maple or Alder.

I'm a gross-motor-skills type guy. The bigger the mess, the more I accomplish... Or was that the more I accomplish, the bigger the mess!?!?!:eek:

Nancy Laird
08-26-2007, 11:49 PM
We use Liquitex Basics acrylic paints, available at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and other placed. It's water-based, so the residue wipes off easily, and it fills the lasered portions well also. It works on all woods that we have tried--maple, alder, birch, etc.

Nancy (117 days)