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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone, and Happy New Year! (almost)

Novice woodworker here. For Christmas this year, I made my brother an engraved and painted sign out of pine wood. I was generally happy with how it came out, but had a few issues with paint bleeding through the grain of the wood. I'll describe my process below, and would very much appreciate any help that you guys may be able to offer in getting cleaner paint lines / preventing that bleed through the wood grain.

1) I got some pine board from my local big box store.
2) I sanded the board with 60, 120, then 180 grit sandpaper and shop-vac'd and wiped to remove dust.
3) I applied a coat of spray-on oil based polyurethane and let it dry overnight.
4) I applied a sheet of oramask 813 stenciling vinyl, squeegee'd out any air bubbles, and let it sit for two days. (Steps 2 and 3 were to ensure that the oramask had a good surface to stick to).
5) I used a V-bit and CNC router to cut out the pattern on my sign and shop-vac'd out any sawdust.
7) I applied a coat of clear enamel spray paint to attempt to seal the cut edges of my stencil, and let it dry overnight.
8) I applied a coat of each of my enamel spray paint colors and let dry for several hours before removing the stencil. At this point I observed the bleeding of the paint through the wood grains.
9) After observing the paint bleed, I sanded with 60, 120, and 180 grit sandpaper again, removing about 0.10" of wood off of the surface. This did not eliminate the paint bleed, which is what makes me think that this is bleeding through the wood grain and not just paint leaking under my stencil.

So how would you go about preventing this problem in future projects? Is there a sealer that you would recommend that would do a better job of sealing the grains than oil-based poly? I want it to be clear so that the grain of the wood still shows through in areas where I haven't painted, and I want to be able to spray paint on top of it. Is there another solution other than a different sealer?

Related question: is there another (commonly and cheaply available) wood that would inherently have less grain-bleed issues than pine?

Many thanks in advance!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16U46aD_2ATWTDdCXqyC1q3jHHd0etpl7/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16aArxesryoB9bwXZ2LOmHQV3ciHdL-a6/view?usp=sharing
 

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what will your sign be used for ?? inside or outside use ?

Edit: I can't see any noticeable bleeding in your photos.
maybe you are looking at it too closely ??
how will the signs be displayed ?

Edit #2: after enlarging the letters quite a bit, I see a little bleeding.
engrave the basketball deeper. sand the boards until all the bleeding is gone.
the letters are deep enough that you can do quite a bit of sanding. change the
sandpaper often so you don't smear the blue dust into the bare wood then clear again.
Blue White Font Number Design

my experience with the rattle can paints is that one will cut another.
meaning, that if you spray clear on open grain wood, the color will
melt the clear and wick into the grain.

So how would you go about preventing this problem in future projects?
are you wanting to be a sign maker with your CNC?
drop over and visit the website: Signs101.com and read some of the forums on this subject.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback! To respond to your questions / points:

1) The sign is intended for inside use.
2) True, this level of bleeding isn't a dealbreaker for this sign, but I'd like to be able to paint other more detailed or cleanly geometric designs as well, and the bleeding will be much more noticeable in some other designs.
3) This sign will be displayed by hanging over my brother's desk.
4) I did do a fair amount of sanding already, which is why the basketball appears so shallow. I believe that it was originally routed to 0.20"
5) Thanks for the tip about the rattle cans.
6) I am considering trying to make and sell signs as a side job. I took your advise and made an account at signs101.com. My account hasn't been validated by an administrator yet, but it looks like full forum access might be a paid service.

What would your preferred clear sealer be if you were to try to coat after stenciling and cutting, but before spray painting? And/or are there other paint types that you would expect to sit on the surface better, rather than running through the grains?

Thanks for your help!
 

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welcome to the forum. please complete your profile
with your location so we will know about where you are from.
you can put your first name in your signature box so
we will know what to call you. photos are always good in a post !!!
Signs101 is a free forum. you can "donate" fees for some perks.
but is not necessary at your level right now.

sign making is an acquired skill.
painting is an acquired skill.
carving is an acquired skill.
all the above need to be practiced in different mediums with different tools
in order to become proficient in them.

in my prior life, I started out making "rustic" hand-routed signs.
over time, I became better and used higher quality tools and materials. (way before CNC).
the better the tools and the more expensive the wood, the better results you will have.
getting discouraged on your first few tries is part of the tuition you have to pay.
I found that making signs as a hobby was fun and rewarding.
skip forward 30 years: I had a 2500sf commercial shop and six employees.
making huge entryway signs for housing and apartment complexes, golf courses,
and tons of military squadron signs.
this experience will not come over night - nor in a few months.
but with dedication and spending some money, you can get there.
if you have any trouble signing up with Signs101, let me know and I will get you in.
when you get approved, don't go posting right away. take your time and read through
the forums. use the search feature for what you want to learn.
the forum is run by professionals. and often times it is overwhelmed with beginner's simple
questions of "how do I do this" and the topic has been discussed in length already.
just search for your issues using the search button before you ask the question.

so - break out some more wood, and make your signs over and over, until you find what works for you with the materials that you are using.
just a word of advice: if you are using the cheapest materials available,
you can expect the cheapest looking end product.

all the best, and wish you luck !!

John

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much for the help, John!
I certainly understand that I won't be an expert right out of the gate. I know that it will take lots of practice, and I've scrapped plenty of pieces of wood already :vs_laugh: but I'm checking out these forums in the hopes of learning from experienced craftsmen like yourself so that I might reduce the number of future scrapped pieces. It sounds like you've created quite the interesting journey for yourself! I would love to be able to have a similar story in 30 years, so I appreciate your help!
-Josh
 

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YVW, Josh
once you start making wood projects for exterior use, this forum can
assist you in choosing the correct materials for the best long lasting results.
looking forward to seeing more of your projects.

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Try using poplar instead of pine. It is less expensive than clear pine and nicer to work with. Your process seems fine. What I would recommend though is once you get done painting, just send it through a planer and shave off just enough to get rid of any bleed through. Easier than all the sanding. When you're done, a light sanding will be all that's necessary just to remove any planer marks. Ive done this when making signs without any masking. I route the letters, spray the whole top with rattle can paint, then plane it. For a final coat after sanding I shoot it with lacquer, spray can works fine.
Mike Hawkins
 
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