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Properly prepping plywood or some other wood grain showing material

Discussion in 'Hand Made Signs' started by redcanary01, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. redcanary01

    redcanary01 New Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    Hi there!

    So a client has a design she'd like for a sandwich board that intentionally let's the wood grain show through in some parts as part of the design--so MDO isn't an option. I've heard people say they've used plywood before (and that it takes a lot of work) and it can last as long as MDO. What would I need to do to make sure it lasts? I am guessing I will be doing a lot of sanding and sealing...Or would you suggest some other type of wood?

    Thanks much,
  2. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    CNC some HDU with a woodgrain, paint, profit.

    I'm assuming you don't have a CNC (we don't either, YET...) but i'm sure you can find someone who can do it for you. It ain't cheap, but it will last and be awesome.
  3. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    What I did when I made a sign out of T-111 was to prime it with boiled linseed oil.
    That seals the wood. It takes a LONG time to dry like 3 days.
    Then I painted it with Ronan block-out white.
    Then I let that dry.
    Then I sanded the bejeezus out of the edges with a DA sander hooked to an air compressor.
    Then I cleared it to make sure the raw edges I'd exposed were really protected.
    I'd make sure to seal your edges with Titebond 2 wood glue too.
    Letter with regular lettering enamels.
  4. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

    Feb 27, 2007
    Use birch, I would go with 3/4" not much prepping either, it comes smooth so you won't need to sand it.
  5. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    I'd try exterior graded AC plywood. Seal with a marine 2 part varnish.
  6. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    a few years ago, SignManiac posted some pics of a sign he made from a PVC product that had a wood grain embossed into it, I believe it was some type of siding or something.
  7. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    We've been experimenting a lot with flatbed printing to plywood lately and the results are really cool, that may be an option for you here. I would think with a few coats of some sort of polyurethane a sandwich sign like this would be durable enough, as long as everybody has a realistic understanding that it's plywood...

    Attached are a couple flower images we just ran as a test, kinda gives you an idea how it prints on wood. These were crappy home depot plywood scraps too, we've done some others on higher grade material that looks a little less grainy.

    Attached Files:


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