I did some more experiments with trying to laser scrimshaw a piece of antler today. First I did a coating of preservation wax, then just did an etch again.
which looked quite nice (I got better focus this time compared to my last test) and had great contrast. I then gave it another coat of preservation wax to try and trap the burned residue in the relief. This took a little of it out and reduced the contrast just a bit.
I want to see how well it stands up to wear still, but pretty happy with it. Never one to stop experimenting I did a second one below the first. This one I tried applying ink to, but it still seeped into the antler so I cleaned it up a bit and sanded it lightly and tried encaustic paint which is more of a wax. First I rubbed it over the etch to get it into the relief grooves, then tried a heat gun to melt it and wipe it off. That didn’t do well either.
So, the wax, then etch, then wax again is so far the best I’ve found. I may try some other waxes and seals to see if there are ones that work even better than what I already have. Stay tuned