Carved White Oak Sign

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Project by KnotCurser posted 12-20-2013 01:07 AM 2663 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


175 posts in 1223 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 1228 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


5968 posts in 2970 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


15512 posts in 2937 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


2013 posts in 2671 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


1117 posts in 2066 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


737 posts in 2416 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


20578 posts in 2406 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


25273 posts in 2469 days

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

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

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View murch's profile


1369 posts in 2227 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 1974 days

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

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

View KnotCurser's profile


2013 posts in 2671 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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