These are my first genuine attempts with VCarve. I ran a few, small test pieces, but other than a (failed) attempt at machining some dadoes, these are my first projects with my machine.
I used MDF cored plywood and simply painted the carving with black craft paint and gave them a few coats of water based poly. I'm actually pretty happy with the results but I'm having trouble finding a source for the hardwood veneered, MDF wood. I got the original pieces from a bargain bin at a local lumber yard and they have no idea where it came from.
Thanks guys, I was pretty happy with my first attempts and hope to only improve!
The lumber yard I was at was a fairly specialized (The Wood Source) place and I called another place (Robert Bury, who I thought was fairly specialised in veneers) but they said it was special order (min. 6 x sheets) and that I need to register as a business as they were a wholesaler.
I will track some down I'm sure.
Of course, if anyone here can offer some good alternatives, I'm all ears. My test pieces were done on regular pine veneered plywood but there was some voids in the lamination that come through the carving. Plus it doesn't leave as smooth a finish as the MDF, which machines very nicely. The only problem is the dust.
The big box stores (you have those in Canada, eh?)...oftentimes sell prefinished shelving that is a veneer over an MDF or particle board core. You have to be careful, because some of the 'veneer' is plastic. You may also be able to find something appropriate in prefinished flooring.
Flooring would have been somewhere I would have suggested looking as well, some of the cheaper end of the market engineered hardwood flooring uses an MDF core with a hardwood over laminate. Picked a few bits out of a skip (large metal rubbish bin ) the other week to see if it was usable but not suited to anything I do really. This was the click together type wood flooring that I am guessing is sold all over the world. If you have any local flooring companies that fit wooden floors might be worth poping in & asking what they do with offcuts.
My way of doing it is to apply several coats of polyurethane to the material before cutting the letters. If the material has large cells (like oak), I use wood filler so the surface is smooth first. Then cut the letters. Apply a coat of shellac or sanding sealer (sometimes I just use another coat of wipe on polyurethane) if the wood is like pine or poplar and subject to letting the filler paint bleed into the wood.
Now apply the filler paint with a stiff brush. I use water base acrylic. Wipe off any real excess with a damp cloth. Allow to dry 24 hours, then sand the surface with 200 grit sandpaper to remove any paint that remains on the surface. Finish to suit.
However, this sign may have been just stained after cutting and then sanded.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.