Post Laser staining engravings

I used a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol to clean it up. Was I just not thorough enough? Is it soot that is causing the streaking? The wood is Proofgrade Thick Basswood Plywood.


When you mixed the soot with rubbing alcohol you created a rudimentary ink, which then was absorbed into the grain of the wood, wicking along the open fibers in the basswood where the laser cut away the finish.


Ben is correct. The engraving opens the wood grain, and capillary action draws the ink or paint into the grain. To avoid this I use a small artist’s brush and paint the edges of the engrave with a clear to seal the grain in a case where I want to paint the engrave.

In this case I would probably opt to just dry brush the soot out and call it good.

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Thanks for the explanation.

My goal is to make it waterproof. It is a wind chime “sail” for a christmas gift.

Linseed oil or spray poly? Shellac?

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I would use spar varnish. It is designed for marine wood use. You can also find a urethane / polyurethane version of you don’t want to use the normal varieties.


I prefinished a piece of Columbia Forest wood from HD with some stain and a light coat of poly, then added some masking. The soot wiped off. Now I can seal it. Thanks for the help.


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