pencil, pen, magic marker, carve your initials etc.
Not sure it matters -- except what is appropriate for the item and what
will last and your own artistic sense. Other will have their opinion
I have even used permanent magic marker in a pinch - on the bottom of a
jewel box. (I was a lonnnnng way from home an found a box I had forgot
to sign -- so I signed it for the owner.)
I bought a 10.00 wood burning iron from my local craft show and then
ground the tip to a very fine point. It works ok, but you need to practise
with the specific wood you are signing to get a feel for the texture and
I use a modified tip on one of those butane-powered soldering irons. That
way I can put whatever the customer's interested in on the bottom, right in
front of them.
If you use a "Sharpie" marker, don't apply a coat of shellac over it. Gets
a bit smudged. Oil finish seems ok, lacquer'd probably act the same as
I laser my maker's mark on, but that's because I have a laser engraver.
Before that, I used a fine tip marker.
In addition to name and year, I generally added a number that represented
what turning for that year it was. Peace.
On 3/17/05 8:40 AM, in article email@example.com, "william
I use a woodburning tool (just a cheap one so far). I used to use an ink
pen but found that with certain porous woods, sometimes the signature was
dissolved. When friends and family saw my change to woodburning, they said
the signatures looked a lot more professional (even compared to the sharpest
looking pen signatures). The downside of a branding iron is that you can't
describe the type of wood etc without adding something more by hand. One
trick I got from Andi Wolfe is the use of a finger of your other hand to
oppose the force of your hand holding a woodburning pen. This gives you
more control and allows you to adjust to softer grain so you can have an
I've seen posts on different groups suggesting that you should sign and
date your work.
My question is how to do that? With some kind of wood burning tool?
Dremel? Branding iron?
what do you do with dark wood?
I would also wonder about how permannnt a marker would be with handling
my brother who has received a few pieces keeps talking about antiques
road show and in a hundred years would the mark be readable (lots of
tong in cheek)
I use one of those diamond point "engraving" tools. You know the type,
they sort of buzz when you turn them on. Have two different brands, both
work about the same. You can often run into them at yard sales...
Easy to control, works fine, is difficult to remove (have to sand it out),
doesn't fade like some other things, isn't affected by finishing. I
engrave the wood type, serial number (coded date) my name, and source
(Hawaii) in the recess of the base before the item goes into finishing.
Allows me to keep track of how long the finishing process takes, as well as
having it become part of the bowl. The serial number also allows me to use
it with galleries and such as a unique identification for each bowl, so I
always know what they have in stock and what's been sold.
No matter what you use, you should decide on something and try to keep it
reasonably consistent, so people can recognize your work (if you don't have
a "signature shape or feature" in your work.
">I laser my maker's mark on, but that's because I have a laser engraver."
Now that's the way to do it! I would be interested in knowing about how much
one of these devices cost. I sometimes use a vibrating engraver, sometimes a
dremel type tool. Neither are ideal. I usually go over that with a small
permanet marker then urathane.
The only dark woods I have trouble with are Wenge and rosewood types.
For these I use a light colored ink or a silver pen. Fortunately (or
unfortunately) due to the cost of rosewood I don't use it to often which
resolves the problem.
I used a disposable ballpoint pen when I started out--now, 15 yrs later,
those sigs are almost completely faded. A fine tip permanent marker is
good, those electric buzz engravers are better but best in my opinion is
a woodburner made for the purpose which I have yet to get. Craft
Supplies sells a couple brands, the Cub Woodwriter and Razertip
If the piece is small enough you can engrave it directly. Many things
are too big. On those occasions you can make laser engraved medallions.
The ones I make for myself or friends are matched to their 1" forstner
bit and typically made from 1/8" (3mm) baltic birch or similar plywood.
The medallions can be engraved with just about anything you want from
just your name to a complex logo. They could also be made from veneers,
but most people believe the thinness of the veneer doesn't leave you
much room for a final sanding after the medallion is glued in.
What's really nice though is when you can engrave the piece directly.
I've made laser engraved, tamboured placemats, business cards and
bookmarks made from paper-backed veneers and a few other interesting
items. Just getting started with it and working on more ideas.
The price for the medallions would vary depending on how many and what
they are made from. I've made them in lots of 100 for $50 ($0.50 each)
from baltic birch plywood. Not trying to advertise, just trying to
answer the question.
Well, you know that if you have to ask........
Mine is a Universal Laser Systems (ULS) 45 watt model.
You can see their various systems on their web site, but mine was
$26k 4 years ago. This same model is now at about $19k.
There are 'cheap' models available at $7k or so, but they are fairly limited
and very little power. However, it all boils down to what it is you want to
do. Mine is a commercial model and will run 24/7 without fail. This is by
far the single largest 'toy' I ever got for woodworking. Cheers!
On 3/18/05 8:17 AM, in article
I want something that the glue won't loosen, ink fade, permanent in the wood
its' self. Never had much luck with wood burners, guess I didn't have the
right type. Oh, I have had a branding iron for many years but it is not
personal and requires a relatively large flat area which is not always, in
fact, often not available with my goblets & segment turnings.
Normally, I use a vibrating engraver. It works best on a hardwood like
cherry or maple. End grain is even better, because the engraver tip isn't
affected as much by grain direction. On Raffan-style boxes this is great
because they are end-grain.
I have tried most techniques for signing pieces except woodburning.
Fine-tip "Sharpies" just don't do it for me........poor penmanship, I guess.
Also, I'm always afraid a "Sharpie" or a black ink pen will bleed under the
finish and ruin the piece. On my last bowl, I just used a #2 lead pencil,
then put a coat of finish over the signature. It looked about as good as
anything else I have tried. I'm still searching for that perfect method of
signing a piece.