View Full Version : What am I doing wrong?

01-22-2012, 08:49 PM
Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong. I am using a brand new 60 degree V carve bit with Centerline text carving into poplar wood. I carved the letters, sanded, dabbed black flat latex paint in letters let dry completly then sanded board face with 220 grit to get rid of excess paint. My problem is the finer parts of the script wording is very "chippy" and you can really notice with the paint inside now. Am I just not sanding enought to get below chipped parts? I was afraid of sanding too much and losing letter detail. Thats why I used 220 grit and sanded till I got rid of the extra paint on the board face. Where the bit goes deeper into the wood no real noticible chips. With centerline you have no control of the depth. Am I not sanding enough? Should I me using more aggressive grit? Should I not use poplar? I seen some great text projects where they used pine, I thought I was doing a good thing by using poplar.5063550636

01-22-2012, 09:23 PM
You probably have a couple of problems. First Poplar, which I understand is a generic term for various softwoods, fuzzes up a lot and is very soft. I really can't tell for sure from your picture but I guessing that what you are really having a problem with is bleeding. The soft large grain of the poplar is soaking up the paint. The way that I minimize the bleed is to first treat the wood with sealer or finish and then paint the letters after it dries. That usually stops the bleeding for me and makes the letter much crisper after you sand off the excess.

01-22-2012, 09:47 PM
I tried poplar last year because it was cheap at home depot. Had to stop using it because it was to soft and stains and paints just soaked right in and spread quickly. Also way to much fuzzies.

01-22-2012, 10:01 PM
I use dalys benite to seal the wood and Marsh's Spray Stencil black ink. Then I sand it clean and it does not leave a choppy look. It is crisp an clean. The marsh ink does a great job and comes in black, red, blue, green, orange, yellow and white. I have stopped using popular because I don't like how it takes stains and the fuzzies.

01-22-2012, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the feeback. Should I route,treat wood, pain, then surface sand whole face? Or should I treat, route, paint, surface sand? And when I say treat I mean min wax waterbased sanding sealer. My main goal is to have the letters pop with some color but I am no painter by far. My parents took my paint by numbers book off of me when I was child and sharp objects for that matter;) (Hint Hint) What are your thought on MDF. I use TONS of it with my other signs I do (interior vinyl) I just wanted to try something a little more classy. I'm sick of working with MDF but if I can get consistant results I'll stick with using it.

01-22-2012, 10:22 PM
You want to route, treat/seal, paint then surface sand. I like the way that pine carves better than Poplar but when I find poplar with those great green and purple stripes I can't help but pick it up and carve something out of it.

Like this project:http://forum.carvewright.com/showthread.php?19894-Kindle-Project-from-Steve&p=170489#post170489

01-22-2012, 10:40 PM
I route, treat/ seal, paint and sand. I use a lot of pine. Here is pine and black stencil spray paint. Hope it helps.

01-22-2012, 10:41 PM
LOVE the lighthouse. Does pine "fuzz" up like I am getting with poplar. I haven't tried routing pine because everyone talkes about how softwoods were bad to carve with. But doing further research on the web the majority of sign guys are using pine for their text signs and a few are using western red cedar. I use cedar alot in my fencing business; its super soft and I could only think it would fuzz beyond belief in the router just like it does in my planer/jointer knives. A huge sign maker in my area was using three diffrent species of wood now he only offers white pine in natural or he will put a varnished finish over acrylic colored letters.

01-22-2012, 10:43 PM
Are you using V carve bit for your Tic Tac Toe board?

01-22-2012, 10:46 PM
Some of it, V60. I think the letters and lines. I use pine and western red cedar for 95% of my signs. Maple carves beautifully too.

01-22-2012, 11:08 PM
Easybuilt, where can I find Marsh's Spray Stencil black ink? I am not sure what store here may have it.

Regarding poplar, I have used it twice to carve projects. The first time because I didn't know any better. The second time because I didn't learn from the first time. In both instances I re-did the projects and they turned out much, much better. I won't use poplar again because of all of the aforementioned problems in this thread. I do not like the way it sands and I do not like the final finish compared to other woods I have used. I may use it for other projects, but not carving.

01-22-2012, 11:25 PM
I see Graingers has the Marsh Spray Ink $5.85 a can.

01-22-2012, 11:26 PM
I use pine in 80% of my projects. Only a little fuzz that comes off with a nylon med grit flap brush in my drill press,

the fuzz is almost nada in optimum mode. I only got center line last month so not a lot of use of it yet.


The brush is available at ace hardware or at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Dico-541-788-4-Nyalox-Brush-4-Inch/dp/B00004YYCS (http://www.amazon.com/Dico-541-788-4-Nyalox-Brush-4-Inch/dp/B00004YYCS)

01-23-2012, 07:48 AM
You might try putting on a coat of finish before routing. I carve lake maps out of pine with both carved and centerline features. I use Minwax Poylshades stain in the carved and centerline features. I get good results without the pre-coat, but if I apply a coat of clear polyurethane before any carving, I get no bleeding. I do sand the surface afterwards to remove the excess stain, and even if I end up sanding all of the initial clear coat off, the results are better than not using the pre-coat.

01-23-2012, 09:00 AM
Yes, I buy the Marsh's Spray stencil black #5xt13 from Grainger. When you buy a case you get free shipping.

01-23-2012, 09:34 PM
Sent a Reply PM Earlier but seeing the actual problem I have some suggestions other than in my PM...

First of all.... Because the Wood Chipped then the paint in the text will follow the cut... and if chip out... then the paint shows off the chip out...

I comes down to the wood choice.... This Popular Wood has very wide growth rings and is very un stable for lettering.

My Pine Supplier gets me pretty good #2 pine with lots of Knots... I search through the stack and pick boards with Knots about every 17 inches or greater.... Since I use the Place on end and design in a 4 inch dead area of carving just to stay under the rollers, I end up using mostly Clear Pine between the knots..... It cuts well for me...

I also use this Clear Pine for the Brown Signs you see in some of the Sign Posts I do... It comes from New Zealand and is a Hard Yellow Pine. It cuts like Maple and works great for my signs. I did try some clear pine from a local lumber yard that was Kiln Dryed... It was Stringy and when I cut the Flat Bottom Text with the 3/8th end mill bit, a day later the text looked like it was cut with a Dove Tail Bit... The sides of the bottom had shrunk into the board..... Like a dove tail.

Then it comes to PAINT.... I had similar problems using SPRAY paint.... The Lighter paint wicking up the end grain of text..... I switched to brush on latex paint and It has been smooth sailing from there...

SO I slop in the paint into the text, let it dry and sand it flush... Easy... Blow out the dust and slop on the oak stain... Cleaning out the text and using a air hose and a respirator to protect my lungs. I blow out the lettering of stain and wipe dry.... Same with Clear Poly... Slop it in and brush it around and wipe dry.... Then spray the excess poly out of the letters and dry again....

the Thicker Latex Paint works better than spray thin paint....

Another thing I would do is select BEST for the Text... IT slows it down slightly.... for a better cut... NEVER use Draft Mode... TOO FAST... TOO Rough...

Good Luck,


01-23-2012, 11:14 PM
I recently ordered some of the marsh's spray ink and look forward to trying it once it arrives.

As far as the bleeding- I have had AMAZING success with open pored woods and softwoods using a washcoat of shellac (about 1# (lb) cut) Because of the capillary action in alcohol, woods that immediately swell from water-based conditioners will accept the sealcoat which then dries. With waterbased, the pores can swell, then shrink back again after drying, defeating the purpose (this is conjecture based on experience and from talking to a friend who specializes in finishing)

I only use fresh home-mixed from flakes shellac and it works very well. Shellac flakes can be purchased online and last for years when stored in flake form in the fridge. (it is food safe)


01-24-2012, 01:31 PM
Just picked it up at Ace (Blue One: Med/Fine) for $10.00 so far works great in my drill. They have two other colors/grits avaliable.

I use pine in 80% of my projects. Only a little fuzz that comes off with a nylon med grit flap brush in my drill press,

the fuzz is almost nada in optimum mode. I only got center line last month so not a lot of use of it yet.


The brush is available at ace hardware or at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Dico-541-788-4-Nyalox-Brush-4-Inch/dp/B00004YYCS

01-24-2012, 02:06 PM
KeystoneChuck, Glad it worked out for you , I could not do with out it.

01-24-2012, 08:17 PM
I appreciate all the finishing help you guys have given me. And keep the techniques coming I am literaly trying each and ever one to see what I like for time spent/technique/money spent/final look. I do have one tip for all the newbies like myself and it will save you lots of time, money, and aspirin, DO NOT BUY POPLAR WOOD. I just went from pulling my hair out to running around showing everyone what I made in a single step. I stopped carving the poplar wood. I bought about $60 worth thinking about all the signs I was going to make the first day. My (centerline text) signs stunk! I thought it was the bit, depth, stain, sanding paper...I just couldn't come to reality that cheaper pine would be better than the beautiful more expensive poplar. It might work for some people but not me. I went to Lowes and bought select pine for less and man did I have some killer signs. I am freaking out on how much better the pine is treating me. To quote myself I turned to my wife when it was done carving and said "I'm happier than a pig in poo". I have the meat and potatoes now I can really work on the finishing techniques. I was trying to finish junk (poplar wood) and like they say junk in junk out. I guess I was thinking the finishing techniques would magicialy transform the sign into something I see you guys putting up. Again my two cent newbie advice for making signs with the V carve bit with centerline DON'T USE POPLAR.

01-24-2012, 09:27 PM
Yeah, but when I see a piece with the great streaks of green and purple I just have to have it! :)

But for most signs I use Select Pine and sometimes I just "select" pine from the junk pine section of the local big box.


These two are common pine