Help with inked/painted wood panels

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 12-13-2016 07:50 PM 474 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

595 posts in 1670 days

12-13-2016 07:50 PM


Recently, my girlfriend has gotten me interested in branching out from straight woodworking into drawing and painting a bit. I’ve been doing some projects with India ink brushed onto figured veneered panels (curly maple, currently). I start with a substrate like 1/2” MDF or a decent plywood, glue a sheet of veneer to it, and then sand with 220, then 400, to get a surface that is smooth like paper. After painting, I’ll hit the whole thing with a really light coat of spray lacquer from a rattle can (yeah, I know. but I don’t have a real spray setup), which seals the ink in a bit. Then I can brush on a thinned coat of lacquer, and I do about 2-3 more thicker coats of brushed on lacquer.

The problem: The India ink is water-based and has a tendancy to want to bleed along the grain. I can partially control this if I’m careful and don’t allow the ink to puddle up at all but, as I’m still a beginner at this, I make mistakes. Also, because I’m working with figured wood, there’s unexpected areas of twisty grain and such.

I’m looking for something I can apply to the veneer either before or after sanding to 400 to control the ink bleed, that won’t affect the final finish, but also won’t build a film on the wood fibers, which would prevent the India ink from absorbing and drying properly. I realize this is a tall order but hopefully someone can suggest something that would work.

I’m also open to tips or suggestions to improve the whole process.

I’ve attached a few pictures of what I’ve been working on. This is before any clear coat is applied.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

3 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5088 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 12-13-2016 08:59 PM

You might try a sanding sealer.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

595 posts in 1670 days

#2 posted 12-13-2016 11:48 PM

You might try a sanding sealer.

- bondogaposis

Ok thanks. There appear to be different “sanding sealers”, some are lacquer + zinc stearate, others are dewaxed shellac, or even something else. should I go with the lacquer-based ones as I’m topcoating with lacquer?

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3913 days

#3 posted 01-12-2017 12:07 AM

The shellac may be the way to go as it dries quickly and shouldn’t change the colour of the wood too much. I don’t think it will impede the drying of the India ink.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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