Laser Engraving Darkening - Sad Times

When engraving wood, especially plywood, it can be hard to get a dark burn in the wood. So you end up with poor contrast of the engraved area with the surrounding wood.

For years I’ve been using Minwax Mission Oak satin polyshades spray to darken my engravings while they were still masked. It’s basically polyurethane mixed with a stain.
Works great with low bleed.

Just found out that this week that Minwax has discontinued at least the spray line of Polyshades, not sure about the brush on. :cry: Lowe’s home improvement was completely out but I manage to snag a case of 6 off Amazon at half price before they were gone. So I’m good for a bit. :relieved:

Still leaves me with the eventual problem of finding a replacement product. I know about Laser Dark, but with shipping it ends up being about 3 times more expensive than the polyshades. :flushed: Might be able to live with that if I buy multiple cans to get the shipping cost per can down. Has anyone used this product?

Alternately there is always spray paint, but it would need to be the right product. What I liked about the polyshade product is that it was a stain, so it wasn’t a opaque pigment heavy product and kept the burnt wood look.

Perhaps I could find another stain in a spray or spray a bush on stain? Bleed maybe an issue with this approach.

Also could possibly make my own spray with some polyurethane mixed with stain, but not sure how long it would last before curing in the container and might have to make it up as needed. Also how to spray: air brush, paint sprayer, refillable spray paint cans?
Definitely would be a loss of convenience.

Suggestions welcome and I’ll keep you posted on the seach :slight_smile:

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Why wouldn’t a standard stain work applied by brush??
I would try using pre-stain first followed by stain then finish with spray poly?

By the way you can keep finish alive for a long time in a mason jar by drawing a vacuum on it.
I modified one of these to connect to my vacuum pump:
Just don’t pull to much vacuum :(.

You can also put marbles in the mason jar to take up space and reduce the air. As you use-up the finish you add more marbles.

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The problem with using a brush on stain would most likely be with bleeding into the lasered edge grain under the masking. I’ve had this problem with using multiple colored stains on one project. I mitigated some of the issue by first applying a clear sealer spray to try and seal the laser exposed edge, it can be hard to get everything sealed well though. Using a pre-stain is definitely a thought though.

I had thought about maybe using nitrogen, but pulling a vacuum is a good idea. Thanks :slight_smile:

Another good tip :slight_smile:

I’m surprised that the lasered edge bleeds as I often woodburn edges that I do not want paint and stain to wick into…
I wonder what would happen if you outlined the engraving with a higher power, to better seal the endgrain.

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Usually it’s the very top edge of the wood that’s the problem. Typically bleed isn’t an issue if the wood is sealed first with a finish before engraving. I usually prefer to engrave wood that’s been finished, but sometimes I can’t do that because I’m going to do selective area painting or staining after lasering so I need bare wood. But still want the dark engraved area. That’s’ why I will typically try sealing the engraved area with a flat clear finish before trying to darken the engraving. Just have to be careful not apply the clear sealer it too heavy or the edge of the masking can release a bit

The polyshade product is very low wick so it was easy to work with. I’m just concerned about using a lower viscosity product which may wick easier.

I may play with the idea of the higher power outline to see how that affects things.