Carved White Oak Sign

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Project by KnotCurser posted 12-20-2013 01:07 AM 3192 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I created this sign as a birthday gift for a good friend.

The finish on this sign is what one would call a “Happy Mistake”, and it’s the main reason I’ve decided to post this project.

The carving was done via CNC Router and was pretty straight-forward – design on the computer, align the piece in the machine and hit “GO”.

What I decided to do after this may baffle a few minds…........

I wanted to blacken the lettering – really dark and I didn’t want to use spray paint as I know how nasty the pores in white oak can be.

So I used Black RIT Clothing dye! Full strength, painted into the letters – what was I thinking!?!

Well, once the dye did it’s work I rubbed it off and the noticed the fantastic highlights in the grain of the sign – wow! So…....apply some more dye and rub it in all over the surface. Wait a few minutes, and then lightly sand.

Once lacquer was applied, you get what you see here. Nobody could guess what species of wood this was – just a bunch of “Oohs” and “Ahhhs” at the party. :-)

So – don’t be afraid to experiment with alternative methods – just don’t try it on an already carved sign! ;-)



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

12 comments so far

View jasonallen's profile


192 posts in 1860 days

#1 posted 12-20-2013 01:52 AM

Very cool accident.

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

View wtnhighlander's profile


10 posts in 1865 days

#2 posted 12-20-2013 02:03 AM

Rit dye can actually be very useful. It may take some experimentation to achieve the look you want, but this one sure turned out nice for you!

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3607 days

#3 posted 12-20-2013 05:44 AM

That turned out beautifully.

I have played around with different colored inks, limited colors available, now I have a whole new avenue to explore.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View stefang's profile


16214 posts in 3573 days

#4 posted 12-20-2013 08:19 AM

This came out very cool with the dye. Very nicely defined grain. Limed oak is also very nice. It’s actually a white mixture (not sure what’s in it, probably not lime). It fills the pores to give an opposite light contrast with the wood.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View KnotCurser's profile


2031 posts in 3308 days

#5 posted 12-20-2013 12:16 PM

Thanks for the comments!

Mike, I have to remember the limed oak – maybe play with a much darker oak as the “base”......

oldnovice – the cool part of using RIT dye is that is REALLY cheap and there are tons of colors! I’ve only played with black, but am planning on getting some of the primary colors to play with.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View scrollingmom's profile


1194 posts in 2703 days

#6 posted 12-20-2013 05:57 PM


Great looking sign. It turned out really good with the highlights.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View becikeja's profile


962 posts in 3052 days

#7 posted 12-21-2013 02:43 PM

Experimenting. Heck that describes 100% of my woodworking. This looks great.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3043 days

#8 posted 12-22-2013 12:46 PM

Well spoken. Nice sign

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3106 days

#9 posted 12-22-2013 03:22 PM

That’s a beautiful sign all right. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 2864 days

#10 posted 12-24-2013 12:56 PM

Had a very bad experience with Tullamore Dew one Christmas, thanks to my soon-to-be-father-in-law.
He still laughs about it. I still shudder.
Great looking sign though.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View JReed3's profile


81 posts in 2610 days

#11 posted 12-24-2013 10:24 PM

What bit did you use? The sign is really nice.

View KnotCurser's profile


2031 posts in 3308 days

#12 posted 12-24-2013 11:13 PM


I used a 60 degree, V-Bit designed for V-Carving.

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

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