Best undercoat and topcoat for enamel paint?

I want to use some hobby enamel paint to fill in some shallow(ish) lines carved into a tight-grained pine board and need to avoid any sort of bleed through pores and/or grain. What’s a good undercoat and topcoat for it? Does enamel play well with sanding sealer (with naptha), lacquer, shellac, or polyurethane?

I don’t want to use acrylic paint since the stuff I have dries thick and unevenly. I need to make the lines look nice and sharp, so the undercoat will need to stay solid while the enamel dries over it, and the enamel will need to stay where it is when I topcoat with spray finish of one flavor or another.

For traditional oil based enamels, an oil based undercoat is best.
An oil based polyurethane should do the job too.

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My go-to sealer for all woods that I will be pocket painting and don’t want bleed, is Lacquer Sanding Sealer. (Deft) Dries super fast, seals good, easy to sand and as a undercoat/ sealer is compatible with all type top coats. Top coat of lacquer is not advisable over enamels as it may wrinkle paint. I have done it with spray cans but very light coats and worked fine. Just remember, top coat paints that thin or clean up with lacquer thinner, need lacquer type under coat. You can apply any type top coat over lacquer with no problem, but not the other way around.


The best enamel I’ve found is the one shot lettering paint. I would pick the enamel first, then do a couple of test pieces to test compatibility.

Not cheap for such small tins, it’s designed for sign writing, so goes on easy and smooth. I used it on model boats.

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Thanks all, great info! Here’s what I’ve got to work with at the moment, I’ll let you know how the test piece works. Will probably do a topcoat of poly to prevent wrinkling though.

oil based will be good over laquer

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lacquer over enamel, not even a slightly good idea

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You can’t do much better than one shot. Chromatic is good as well.

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