Engraving and Painting Weathered Boards

Howdy Folks,

I’ve been playing with my Xcarve for a few weeks now. I’ve made some nice little signs. I’ve actually developed a bit of a clientele for them. I work with reclaimed pretty much exclusively. Usually plane and make the wood newish again. Then spray and sand back the top to color the engraved portion. Works great!

I’ve had some requests to use naturally weathered cedar which is fairly easy to get hands on. I’m struggling with how I can engrave these and be able to spray the engraved portion. Typically, I carve to a depth of 1.6mm. I’ve tried masking the entire piece prior to carving but find that the tape gets peeled away by the bit, especially in the smaller detail areas. Does anyone have any tips, tricks or magic bullet to make this work? I don’t take ANY joy in hand painting the engravings and am not particularly good at it.

Any help is appreciated!

Howdy Mike,
Are you sealing the wood first?
Have you tried Oramask?
Google Oramask 813

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I haven’t been sealing the wood. Concerned about color change with sealer. Will look into the Oromask, I ran another with a higher quality masking tape and had a bit better result.

What sealer would you think will not change the color of the wood? Mostly using western red cedar.


I have done a couple, I just patiently paint in each letter doing my best to paint the bottom only and not the sides of the cut.

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Depends if the signs are going to be outside, I use Shellac on interior signs and Rustoelum on exterior signs. After you carve the sign put a coat of clear on the area you just carved. That will seal it and keep the paint from going underneath the tape.
Also if you can use a V bit that would help out, a V bit cuts through the masking material very clean.
This is one that I did on plywood

Wow looks great… I’ll have to order some Oromask and give it a go… I’m finding that the results are varying significantly piece to piece with the weathered wood.

The other thought I had was to do a light cut around the outside to cut the mask and then run my final depth separately.

I’m so far in the weeds right now with regular signs I make I’m afraid it will be a couple weeks before I play around with it again.

Thanks for the tips!

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