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  • First pooch

    Although I have been using the scroll saw for a while now it is only recently that i have started doing portraits and I am quite pleased with my latest effort. They are time consuming to do but the reward comes with the last cut. I am stack cutting these with 3/16th birch ply, just two at a time and then with a thin MDF backing board sprayed black.

    I have been playing about with different finishes with the birch ply like shellac and danish oil and a couple of others but nothing I use seems to bring the grain alive so i would welcome any ideas. Thanks for looking in.

  • #2
    Birch ply can have subtle shades in the grain, thereby not realy contrasting very much. I used it quite a lot on my pyro work and would coat them with a satin or gloss acrylic laquer. Even then though it did highlight the grain only a little, I have always found Varnish to be a better solution to get grain to stand out on the paler grains on Birch ply. (if I can find any suitable pics I will post as a reference, just need to hook up my portable HD)

    Problem is with fluid coatings however on scrollwork, would be runoff through the cutouts and potential difficult cleanups. With pyro this was not a problem as it was all flatwork with no piercings. One possibility maybe would be a light woodstain that is a little darker shade than the birch that maybe can help create greater contrast between the grain layers.

    Just apply a very light coat with a soft rag, like an old t-shirt. ie lint free, and build up a few coats, then once dry you could wax it. Do this on some scrap ply or create some swatches for different finishes on some birch squares as I did. A good way to do this is to try and get hold of some wood dye samplers from a supplier. (I was lucky the supplier I used at the time in UK was selling a dozen samples as a way of drumming up trade in order to sell wood dyes)

    Anyhow I will look through what pictures I have left and see if there is any birch ones that may help.


    Sunlion
    The Journey Is Everything.

    http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

    My Google+

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    • #3
      Okay checked back and none of the finishes realy lifted the grain on Birch very well, I will show you pics 1 and 2 which are varnished, the thick layer of varnish (3 coats I think it was) magnifies the grain a little.

      pic 3 shows you wat a silk finnish Acrylic Laquer is like. It does help a little but again nothing spectacular.

      My best advice would be to make some swatches like I did which I show in this post http://www.scrollsawer.com/forum/woo...ting/41979.htm
      and see if you can find a suitable fairly light stain that may help with contrast.

      Someone else may have another solution. btw sometimes a good few coats of wax can have a similar effect to the varnish, ie can sort of deepen and magnify, ie give depth that can sometimes highlight pale grain. again depends on what depth of polish you can work up.


      Hope this helps some

      Sunlion
      The Journey Is Everything.

      http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

      My Google+

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      • #4
        After cutting I usually use a shade of Minwax stain usually cherry or gunstock then three coats of satin polly sanding between coats with 320 grit.
        Dennis

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        • #5
          Fretnot, Good job on the cutting. Lance

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          • #6
            Actualy just realised that my first picture was actualy Sycamore which can be even more subtle in it's grain than birch.

            I wonder if you may be better using Oak faced ply if it has more contrast in the grain that you may be looking for?

            Not sure what other woods you have available over there in the US that may fit the bill better.

            Ash can have distinctive grain also (though a darker wood and the grains can be a lot softer than the rest of the timber), see pic of a platter a turner made for me way back. Though whether you could get thin sliced Ash may be yet another problem.

            Sunlion
            The Journey Is Everything.

            http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

            My Google+

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            • #7
              With Baltic Birch I use a product from Rust-oleum called Crystal Clear enamel. Usually use 3 coats sanding with 220 grit in between. Only takes 30 minutes to dry between coats. Gives a nice protective glossy finish and makes the grain really pop! You can get it for $3.77 at Walmart. Hope this helps.

              Todd

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              • #8
                Many Thanks Sunlion and everyone else who replied. Sunlion, like you I am in the UK as well in west Wales. Finishing the birch is a problem. I have been making some more today and I am doing to types, there is the type like the dog that occupies the whole frame with a backing board and there is another type I do like the enclosed photo where I put the pieceI have made on to a backing board that has been sprayed black.

                I have to juggle things about a bit as the recess in the frame is just over 3/8ths so with the dog I used 3/16ths birch ply and 3/16ths MDF and it worked out fine. I managed to find a supplier for the MDF and had a couple of sheets of 8 x 4 cut up for me. I have been experimenting with car spray paints with excellent results. The parrot in the photo is made from 3/8th birch ply and has no finish at the moment but is looks okay but I will give it a couple of coats of shellac sealer and then a couple of coats of acrylic clear lacquer and at the craft fairs it will be seen to have a finish applied. I have a big craft fair coming up this Saturday, the last one for this year so I am hoping to do well. Thanks again everyone.

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                • #9
                  Parrot looks good on the black background and frame, I like sharp contrasts like that.

                  Just had another thought after doing some oiling in my workshop/shed today on my first Scrollsaw project. I use Danish Oil, you can get it at most DIY and what not suppliers all over the uk, probably the most popular oil we have I think. Anyhow, Danish gives a nice golden finish, so that may well help differentiate those pale grains, as it will soak in differently between the grain and the wood, grain being denser. It being slightly golden may well help lift the grains contrast a little.

                  Good luck with the fair, not done any myself for about 5 years now.
                  The Journey Is Everything.

                  http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

                  My Google+

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                  • #10
                    Hi Sunlion. I just took a break, been making children's puzzles for most of the afternoon and evening. I was just looking at my wood finishing stuff that i have and low and behold i found a tin of Danish oil so I will give that a go. I have been also working on the new workshop. put another bench in and added some much needed shelving. I have been in there most of the day so have not had a change to clean up so forgive the mess.

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                    • #11
                      No problem about any mess Fretnot, I myself have been rearrangeing my space and making various platforms for my tools so I can slot them into my workbench, as I dont have a lot of room, though some may argue that hehe.

                      I notice you have an excaliber, is it the 21? I just ordered one of those. The little Proxxon I bought is just not up to the job for the type of work I want to do, and is very fiddley to use. May write a little review on it here sometime. I am sure it is good for some work, but I want to get serious in my scrolling and guess the best way is to purchase a more suitable machine for the job. Even with the little bit of trial cutting on the Prox, I find I enjoy it so much, so taking the leap, so the Proxxon was useful for that, may be good for things like thin stock ornaments too, but its not very good for anything bigger than a coaster, as threading the blade on it is cumbersome with the way the foot is designed.

                      I have taken early retirement at 56 (well as long as I can afford to, hehe) and am slowly getting back into my crafting. Spent past 3 weeks clearing out my workshop on the back of my garage and been making some repairs, making jigs for a few tasks, and generaly making it fit to work in again.

                      May need to buy a vac in the new year too, as every aspect bar final finishing involves fine sawdust and the masks I have used just have me fogging up my specs Lol, it being cold in there.

                      Anyhow, good luck with the oil, it will help a little but realy not much else for those types of grain.

                      Sunlion
                      The Journey Is Everything.

                      http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

                      My Google+

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