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Thread: Wood engraved color fill

  1. #1

    Wood engraved color fill

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if any of you out there have any recommendations for color filling wood after it's been laser engraved? I've tried masking, then spray painting, but it bled a little so the results weren't too great.

    I was wondering if there was a type of paint I can brush or squeegy over the engraving(non masked), wait a few minutes to dry a bit, then wipe the excess off with a wet cloth or something.

    I did read something on the ULS website about using powder paint and I'm currently giving that a try. The only thing I'm unsure of is because powder based paint is meant to be baked, how well will is stay in the engraving and how long does it need to set before I can wipe it away. I did learn that 5 mins isn't enough to cure since I tried to blow off the excess and it blew the powder out of the engraved portion. Here's the link I found...
    http://www.ulsinc.com/english/laser_..._powder_3.html

    Thanks....
    Last edited by Joseph Tovar; 06-14-2009 at 6:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Color Fill

    Hi Joseph;
    There are about 1473 threads on this site related to color filling-do a search and you'll have enough info to write a book. Quick Tip- I use Elmers wood fill, comes in wood tones and can be tinted with acrylic paint-no bleeding and quick cleanup.
    Best regards;
    George
    LaserArts

  3. #3
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    Joseph, don't try to do color-fill on wood that has not been finished first. After lasering, wipe it down good with a wax made for wood floors, to seal the ends of the grain pores, then color-fill (we use acrylic), wipe off the excess paint, then wax again. We haven't had any bleed problems in alder, maple, oak, cherry, bubinga, etc.
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  4. #4

    Reply to George

    George,

    I've recently used the Elmer's product you mention and I like it also. But, I'm using on unfinished birch ply, sanding smooth and then staining wilth Minwax stains.

    I have not tried on finished items, thinking that it needs sanding after filling.

    Are you using this product on already finished items and if so, what is your technique for filling without sanding?

    Thanks
    Anthony
    "No man is a failure who has friends." -Clarence

    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain




    Anthony Welch
    Laurel,MS
    Skype: kemosabe62

    Epilog Legend EX 45watt, Corel Draw 12 & x3, Photograv, Wacom tablet 4x5, ShopBot PRS96x48 w/spindle, airbrush and shop full of tools.

  5. #5
    George...I have tried doing a serach and found exactly what you said, a books worth of info. I thought it might be easier just to find a couple of quick suggestions. As for the Elmers Wood Fill, is this used just like any type of "hole" filler? I'm not a wood worker so please excuse my terminology. What I mean is, is the Elmers Fill used to completely fill the engraved portion of the wood? I want to keep the depth, but color the area that has been engraved. It seams this method would fill the engraving, kind of like an inlay, where the engraving and inlay are the same height? Is this correct? So, if using this method, do you mix the glue with some paint to achieve the color, then fill in the engraving with the color fill? How do you keep the depth without filling the engraving to the top(flush)?

    Hi Nancy, I'm engraving some miniture bats, which are finished. The engraving comes out very nice on the natural wood, but some customers have asked about colors. Why do you use floor wax to seal the ends of the grain pores? Don't you want the paint to adhere or seep into the wood, where it's engraved? Or do you want a layer of wax to sit below the paint so it doesn't seep into the wood? Then another layer of wax over the paint to seal it? Is this the correct method?
    1)Engrave
    2)Wax
    3)Paint
    4)Wax

    Just curious, but is the above drying process pretty quick, or is every waxing/painting different amounts of time? For example, when you use acrylic paints to do the fill, do I need to wipe off excess immediately, or can I wait a few minutes for the paint in the engraving to dry a little before wiping excess off?

    Also, is the acrylic paint something special, or just any acrylic paint? I walked into Michaels Arts/Crafts and they had soooo many types of paint I wasn't sure what to grab to try out.

    Thanks again to all the replies!

  6. #6
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    Color Fill

    Hi Gang;
    Anthony- Elmer's works fine on finished wood, just thin it out a bit with water to heavy cream consistency . Wipe it on a small section, wait 9 seconds and card it off with a plastic squeegee or playing card ( 10 of diamonds works great). Keep doing sections and then let the whole thing dry and then buff with a soft cloth, not a towel. The Elmers will shrink when drying and retain most of the engraving depth. Careful with open grain woods like oak as the filler will fill the thin grain lines unless its finished well.

    Joe- The stuff is Elmer's Wood Filler-not glue. It is a water-based wood filler which comes in tubes and plastic tubs and is available in about 6 different wood tones and white. All can be mixed with acrylic craft paints-they come in small plastic bottles in umpteen colors and can be found at Michael's /etc from many vendors-all are produced in the same factory in South Guanghou, China managed by Huan Hung Lo. Most other wood fillers are solvent based and a mess to work with for this type of application.
    Some loss of depth will occur- see above- but the gain in contrast and visibility more than offsets the loss of depth (IMHO). Engrave it a bit deeper if you want to retain more depth.

    Try Nancy's method for colorfill with just acrylic-works fine but requires a bit more care and work.
    Good Luck
    Best regards;
    George
    LaserArts

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Tovar View Post
    Hi Nancy, I'm engraving some miniture bats, which are finished. The engraving comes out very nice on the natural wood, but some customers have asked about colors. Why do you use floor wax to seal the ends of the grain pores? Don't you want the paint to adhere or seep into the wood, where it's engraved? Or do you want a layer of wax to sit below the paint so it doesn't seep into the wood? Then another layer of wax over the paint to seal it? Is this the correct method?
    1)Engrave
    2)Wax
    3)Paint
    4)Wax

    Just curious, but is the above drying process pretty quick, or is every waxing/painting different amounts of time? For example, when you use acrylic paints to do the fill, do I need to wipe off excess immediately, or can I wait a few minutes for the paint in the engraving to dry a little before wiping excess off?

    Also, is the acrylic paint something special, or just any acrylic paint? I walked into Michaels Arts/Crafts and they had soooo many types of paint I wasn't sure what to grab to try out.

    Thanks again to all the replies!
    Joseph, on most of our wood products, we use artist's acrylic, Liquitex Basics, in Burnt Umber. First, we finish the wood with a coat of sanding sealer and two or three coats of clear lacquer. Laser without a mask, then wax with a good-quality floor wax made for wood floors, this seals the end of the grain pores and the wood. The paint will just "sit" on top of the engraved portion and won't seep into the wood; you don't want the paint seeping into the wood, because it will bleed. Then scrub the paint into the lasered portion with a battery-powered toothbrush, wipe the excess paint with a damp cloth within a minute or so (across the grain to keep from pulling the paint out), then when the paint is dry (1-2 hours at the least), another wax to remove any paint residue or film and shine it up.

    We were taught this method by the lady who owned our first laser before we bought it, and it has worked very well. Not only do we do plaques, we do tons of name tags from 1/8" BB ply and key tags, luggage tags, desk name plates, and other items the same way.

    We have found that anything brown based turns out very well on the wood, but yellow turns muddy when we try to color the lasered portions of the wood; we've used red, blue, and green with no problems. Someone suggested that we try to use a white paint first, then the color we want over that, and it sounds as if it might work. However, we haven't had a call for any color work other than the brown recently, so I haven't given it a try yet.

    Really, it does work.

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Tovar View Post
    . . . I did read something on the ULS website about using powder paint and I'm currently giving that a try. The only thing I'm unsure of is because powder based paint is meant to be baked, how well will is stay in the engraving and how long does it need to set before I can wipe it away. I did learn that 5 mins isn't enough to cure since I tried to blow off the excess and it blew the powder out of the engraved portion.

    "Powder coat" is really a finely ground plastic resin, so it should melt with the heat of the laser and solidify almost instantly. So if it is still powder after 5 minutes it means to me that it never melted in the first place.

    There are various powder coar resins; I am sure some will work better than others for lasering. Maybe ULS can clarify the type of resin they used. If you know a powder coater locally, maybe they will give you some small samples of different powders to experiment with. The color can have a factor on the result.

    You might need to use higher power and run a bit out-of-focus to bake it.

    The fellow from Smoke Wood is still selling his version of colored powder - some people claim it is powder coat material, but I can't say. I have used the LazerDarc and it worked fine but I did not "bake" it. Maybe you can get some ideas from his website, or try his product.

    www.smoke-wood.com/SM-wd-21.HTML

  9. #9
    Today, after too long of time rejecting Nancy's idea as contrary to the principles of wood finishing but failing to find an acceptable solution I gave in and tried Nancy's method.

    I was working on some alder plaques purchased from JDS so they had a lacquer finish. I used some mop n glo floor liquid floor wax I had laying around and brushed it into the engraved area. I wiped off the suplus and let it dry. I then applied black Turtle wax with a cheap paint brush (this had always bled into light woods). I wiped off the excess and let it dry.

    I then took more mop n glo and cleaned the entire plaque--which left a nice finish.

    There's not a trace of bleeding. IT WORKS!

    THANKS, NANCY. Remind me of this if I ever doubt any other of your tips.
    Last edited by Mike Null; 06-15-2009 at 11:39 AM. Reason: sp
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300 Newing Hall 350 Hot Stamping
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation Sand Carving Graphtec CE5000-60
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5 , Engravlab

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Mike. It's always nice when the experts validate a method of work.
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  11. #11
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    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rumancik View Post
    You might need to use higher power and run a bit out-of-focus to bake it.
    I use the powder paints from Harbor Freight $2.99-$4.99 for quart size container. The natural wood oil will help to cure it, but I assist by "baking" it with the laser. Very low power - about 7-8% power & 100% speed. Any slower or higher power will laser the paint away. I then top it off - after cleanup with lacquer. This method has it's issues, but it's worked well for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    ...Nancy's method...
    Are we officially calling it "Nancy's Method" now. I'll give this method a try. Wax on... Wax off.
    Tim
    There are Big Brain people & Small Brain people. I'm one of the Big Brains - with a lot of empty space.- me
    Epilog Mini 24 35watt / Ricoh SG3110DN
    - Liberty Laser LLC

  12. #12
    I don't see why not, nobody else has proposed it as far as I know.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300 Newing Hall 350 Hot Stamping
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation Sand Carving Graphtec CE5000-60
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5 , Engravlab

  13. #13
    Hi all-

    Thanks for all the ideas!

    I think I won't be able to do the "rebaking" on the powder suggestions because the items I'm engraving are the mini 17" minibats and even with the fixture I've created, re-aligning them to perfection will be an issue. This will probably work fine for some of my plaques and other flat projects though.

    I think I'll give both the Elmers Filler and the "Nancy method" a try also.

    Thanks again!!

  14. #14
    Here's an article I just ran across...
    http://www.nbm.com/library/ae/engrav...ndSolution.php

    I'll have to give this a try also....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Alta Loma, Calif.
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    Hi Joseph,
    not sure if this will help...i do the mini bats at work and after lasering i use a black shoe polish, the one with the sponge head. works great for me...are you looking a certian color?

    The Mini bats I do are the columns used for trophy's...i believe they are from PDU or maybe even JDS...i dont do the ordering...LOL

    Phyllis

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