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Signing your work

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Just my take branding irons and lasers add a crisp professional look. But what is or is not professional other than ethics is in the eye and opinion of the beholder.
I find branded logos or laser engraved take away the value of a piece. To me they now look like a mass produced item that is cheap in nature. You would never see a high priced piece of artwork with a stamped signature on it. The real deal is usually hand signed giving it authenticity and value in my eyes.
 
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Best to experiment, but anything with alcohol will blend with the Sharpie and ruin the look of the signature if you sign it first. Since you didn't mention your finish, it's hard to say what you should use.
I sign with an ultra fine point sharpie and wait about 10 minutes for the ink to dry. I then dab shellac over the signature and the signature remains clear and unchanged. I wait about 12 hours for the shellac to cure, I then start applying the finish coats.
BTW I also write the wood of the turning. Started doing that due to people always asking.
 
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Just got a Laserpecker LP1 laser engraver. focus point is 8" from the device. I have burned in my signature with my terrible handwriting for years, but this device works great. I've only had it a couple of days and have already engraved my name on bowl bottoms, pens. Experimentation will continue for a while, but I'm like a kid with a new toy!
Update after playing with it for a week. this link is to a quick 1 minute video using a test piece of hard maple. took just 15 minutes.
 

Randy Anderson

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That's a great video Dave. How much testing does it take to make sure the right intensity/burn is set for the wood you are using. I assume maple requires a different setting than a softer wood.
 
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That's a great video Dave. How much testing does it take to make sure the right intensity/burn is set for the wood you are using. I assume maple requires a different setting than a softer wood.
it's easy. They have suggested settings for different materials, wood of course being one of them. I have only tried a couple different woods but so far the harness doesn't seem to make much difference. I was able to mount it onto a dowel that fits into my banjo and burned a couple pens for gifts that turned out beautifully. It was pretty easy to mount it onto a dowel that pops into my banjo so I could engrave them while they were still on the lathe. I have lots of ideas in my head. Next is some really nice turned drink coasters with a logo burned into a cork insert. 1627962678933.jpeg
 
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Several have recommended the Pigma Micron pens. I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up a set of three, all different sizes. Signed my name on a piece of scrap three times, waited all of two minutes, and finished by rubbing hard with a rag soaked in mineral oil. No smudging or streaks. The rag did show a little black.

Gave the pens 5 *'s and they will be my new way of signing when I use a pen. I sometimes woodburn on the right piece.
 
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I have also found the Pigma ink to remain fixed when I apply Osmo Polyx-Oil, or my favorite gel varnish over the ink. (I have applied the ink to one piece with cured varnish and had it stick).
 
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Several have recommended the Pigma Micron pens. I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up a set of three, all different sizes. Signed my name on a piece of scrap three times, waited all of two minutes, and finished by rubbing hard with a rag soaked in mineral oil. No smudging or streaks. The rag did show a little black.

Gave the pens 5 *'s and they will be my new way of signing when I use a pen. I sometimes woodburn on the right piece.
I have also found the Pigma ink to remain fixed when I apply Osmo Polyx-Oil, or my favorite gel varnish over the ink. (I have applied the ink to one piece with cured varnish and had it stick).

Are these the Sakura brand pigma micron pens you're using? What sizes?

Has anyone used these pins on top of a fully cured Watco danish oil?

How do these pens stand up to Beall 3-step buff?

-----odie-----
 
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I have always used a pyrography pen to sign my turnings, as my believe is that all the ink based pen signings will fade away, plus the hassle of finishes havoc on it, I use the PTO finish (Polymerized Tung Oil).

I can also write very small and on the inside of the turning foot if needed, easier on larger flat surfaces of course :)

Got a couple of older pictures of the bottom signed pieces as these signing ?? do come up from time to time :cool:

signing.jpg signing 1.jpg Signing 2.jpg
 
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Are these the Sakura brand pigma micron pens you're using? What sizes?

Has anyone used these pins on top of a fully cured Watco danish oil?

How do these pens stand up to Beall 3-step buff?

-----odie-----
Yes, the pens I have are Sakura brand. They come in sets with various pen points. I use the "02", which is 0.3 mm. But I only have about 1/4" of vertical space for any writing.

As to your other questions, I have never used danish oil or the Beal system, so I don't know, but you could experiment on scrap. My guess is the Beal abrasives will scour off the ink.
 
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I dunno, I use a cheap archival ink (India Ink) pen I got from amazon to sign my work - even vigorous rubbing with oil based (linseed/beeswax) finishes, I can't rub it out.

Does that India Ink run at all?

I have some of the Sakura pens on order for experimenting with. I'd like to not change anything about how I currently do the foot. I want to keep the wood burning of my logo as is, because I feel it's the most aesthetic way to sign. Along with that, if things go right, I might add an inventory number and species notation.......unsure of how this will work out, but I'm going to give it a try.

If the Sakura pens work on top of the Danish Oil (after cured), and prior to Beall buffing, that would be the preferred way to go. If not, I might try the pens after the Beall buffing.......we'll see how it goes.

If it doesn't work out perfectly, the pens will be just one more experiment that never panned out! :(

-----odie-----
 
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Does that India Ink run at all?

I have some of the Sakura pens on order for experimenting with. I'd like to not change anything about how I currently do the foot. I want to keep the wood burning of my logo as is, because I feel it's the most aesthetic way to sign. Along with that, if things go right, I might add an inventory number and species notation.......unsure of how this will work out, but I'm going to give it a try.

If the Sakura pens work on top of the Danish Oil (after cured), and prior to Beall buffing, that would be the preferred way to go. If not, I might try the pens after the Beall buffing.......we'll see how it goes.

If it doesn't work out perfectly, the pens will be just one more experiment that never panned out! :(

-----odie-----
Not that I have noticed, most of the bottoms of my pieces are finished to around 180 or 240 grit at least (though sometimes I don't get them perfect and there's tool marks) and it does not seem to run along the grain (As in, it becomes fuzzy) so my letters seem to hold their defined edges where I put them.. Here's one example of the result, although I think this one was finished in a lacquer
 

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@odie I have successfully used the sakura ink on top of shellac. I did not buff it. You might try using the pen before the oil, but try it on scrap areas first of course. Sometimes there is a bit of bleeding if the wood is very porous. Not had an issue with poly, shellac, or lacquer causing the ink to run as long as it has a few minutes to dry. On porous woods and use 1# shellac to seal the surface(only under the foot), use the pen, then apply finish.
 
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I'll offer a $1 solution. Use a Gel pen before any finish. Press hard enough to break the fibers. The Gel pen dries immediately with no bleed and finish as normal
 
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@odie I have successfully used the sakura ink on top of shellac. I did not buff it. You might try using the pen before the oil, but try it on scrap areas first of course. Sometimes there is a bit of bleeding if the wood is very porous. Not had an issue with poly, shellac, or lacquer causing the ink to run as long as it has a few minutes to dry. On porous woods and use 1# shellac to seal the surface(only under the foot), use the pen, then apply finish.
My order of Sakura pens haven't arrived yet, but there are a number of ways to experiment with them. I'll be sure to try applying the pen after the WD, and prior to the Carnauba wax. I noticed the other day that the little sticker I use on the foot of my bowls is unaffected by the Carnauba buffing wheel......so, that could be the way to go.

For those using the Sakura pens.......how long does it take for the ink to dry?

-----odie-----
 
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I don't know the minimum time required, but I give it an hour or two. That's probably over-overkill, but I want to be sure it doesn't smudge, and I get involved doing something else during the drying time.

If you're going to do some tests with the pens, you could run some smudge tests.
 
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My order of Sakura pens haven't arrived yet,

The Sakura pens are here, and I did some preliminary experimenting with them on bare wood and a finished and buffed bowl. Things are a little disappointing so far. I'm not quite as hopeful as I was, but more experiments to come. My penmanship on wood is still not as good as I'd like. In my opinion, bad penmanship looks worse than nothing at all...

-----odie-----
 
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For the life of me I can't figure out why you want to sign over a finished piece. Sign the bare wood with the Pigma Micron,India Ink or woodburner and it will not be affected by the finish you choose.
 
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Maybe to you, but IMO and from my experience the buyer just wants any kind of signature. They are not judging your penmanship.

Hi William...... :)

Actually, we're talking about an inventory number, and not a signature. I decided it just didn't look good, and definitely not up to what I consider my standard of excellence. I'll continue to use a removeable color code dot for this purpose, as I have in the past. My "signature" remains as my stylized logo, done with a wood-burning pen.

-----odie-----

1907 zebrawood (13).JPG
 
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Can you expand on that, Odie. Is it a penmanship issue, or is the ink rubbing off? Or is it something else, like ink bleeding?

Hello Mark.... :)

I tried the Sakura pens on several pieces of bare wood, one Danish Oil finished walnut bowl (prior to buffing), and one finished bowl after buffing. It appeared to bleed very slightly on one bare wood.....maybe species had something to do with it. The ink rubbed off of the finished bowls too easily.....only about 10 minutes drying time.....maybe more drying time could have worked better, I don't know.

Bottom line is my writing skills just didn't match the kind of look I wanted.

It is possible someone else could use these pens and have a better, or more acceptable outcome than I did.

-----odie-----
 
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There may be several factors worth considering.
Pen tip size. I use the 02 pen and found smaller to be better.
Ink color. I've used black and dark blue.
Drying time. I wait a couple of hours to overnight.
Species. I've had occasion to write on maple, cherry, mahogany and teak.
Surface smoothness. I typically sand the bottoms of my pieces to p180.
Applying over a surface coating or buffing after writing are going to be challenges.
 
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There may be several factors worth considering.
Pen tip size. I use the 02 pen and found smaller to be better.
Ink color. I've used black and dark blue.
Drying time. I wait a couple of hours to overnight.
Species. I've had occasion to write on maple, cherry, mahogany and teak.
Surface smoothness. I typically sand the bottoms of my pieces to p180.
Applying over a surface coating or buffing after writing are going to be challenges.

Thanks Mark, for giving me incentive to keep trying! :)

I usually turn the foot, and apply the Danish Oil right away. Maybe if I used the Sakura pen on bare wood at that point, and wait until the next day to apply the finish would work. I'll give that a try the next time I turn a foot. It's possible that giving the ink more drying time, and applying the Danish Oil over the top, might be a little more durable......and, hopefully will withstand the buffing process. With a little practice, maybe I can still make it work.....we'll see!

The pack of 4 Sakura pens I purchased were sepia/black, 005 and 003. I intended to write the inventory number very small with these. We'll see how my next experiment with doing the inventory number on bare wood. (After turning the foot, and then waiting to apply the DO after waiting 24hrs.)

-----odie-----

Sakura-12-Tip-Sizes-Micron-Neelde-Drawing-Pen-Fine-Lines-Black-Sketch-Marker-Pen-for-Design.jpg
 
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Thanks Mark, for giving me incentive to keep trying! :)

I usually turn the foot, and apply the Danish Oil right away. Maybe if I used the Sakura pen on bare wood at that point, and wait until the next day to apply the finish would work. I'll give that a try the next time I turn a foot. It's possible that giving the ink more drying time, and applying the Danish Oil over the top, might be a little more durable......and, hopefully will withstand the buffing process. With a little practice, maybe I can still make it work.....we'll see!

The pack of 4 Sakura pens I purchased were sepia/black, 005 and 003. I intended to write the inventory number very small with these. We'll see how my next experiment with doing the inventory number on bare wood. (After turning the foot, and then waiting to apply the DO after waiting 24hrs.)

-----odie-----

Sakura-12-Tip-Sizes-Micron-Neelde-Drawing-Pen-Fine-Lines-Black-Sketch-Marker-Pen-for-Design.jpg
I have been using the Micron pens for at least 15 years and since 2015 I have assigned serial numbers to all of my work. The pens that I use are available in fabric stores and the quilt shop in the small town of Park Rapids MN, which is where I got the current 02 pens. The process I use is to assign a serial number (or as you call it an item number) then sign (DonW) & the serial number on the raw wood and then apply whatever finish I am using without waiting. The one problem I had was when using wipe on varnish some of the ink color came off on the rag but it didn't smear the writing. In addition to the hand written after the finish is set up I put a printed 1/2" x 1 3/4" clear return address label if it will stick over the finish. The attached photo was the only one I could find the shows the underside with the writing visible and the weird part is that I forgot to put the number on it before I applied the lacquer finish but it is on there now not quit as dark.
DSC00629.JPG
 
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I have been using the Micron pens for at least 15 years and since 2015 I have assigned serial numbers to all of my work. The pens that I use are available in fabric stores and the quilt shop in the small town of Park Rapids MN, which is where I got the current 02 pens. The process I use is to assign a serial number (or as you call it an item number) then sign (DonW) & the serial number on the raw wood and then apply whatever finish I am using without waiting. The one problem I had was when using wipe on varnish some of the ink color came off on the rag but it didn't smear the writing. In addition to the hand written after the finish is set up I put a printed 1/2" x 1 3/4" clear return address label if it will stick over the finish. The attached photo was the only one I could find the shows the underside with the writing visible and the weird part is that I forgot to put the number on it before I applied the lacquer finish but it is on there now not quit as dark.
View attachment 41096

Out of coincidence, this evening I happened to verify what you say about applying the finish over the Sakura pen markings without delay. I'd say it wasn't more than five minutes before I applied the DO, and there was no detectable smearing of the ink. I want the numerals to be small, but the two sizes of Sakura pens I have may be a bit too small for my purposes. I'm planning on ordering some larger sizes right away, and continue the experimenting. The colors I have are sepia and black.....my thought was to use the black for light colored woods, and the sepia on dark woods like Gabon ebony, Bocote, Walnut, etc. The sepia tone doesn't stand out as well as I'd hoped on my test piece of walnut, so am thinking about getting some other color for this application.....(Any suggestions, guys?.....white? tan?)

My only worry at the moment, is whether the ink will withstand the Beale buffing process.....but, my test piece needs to cure a few more days before I can test it. In theory, the DO over the top of the ink may be all that's necessary for the ink to withstand the Beale 3-step buffing... We will find out the answer to that question! ;)

-----odie-----
 
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I started out using the smallest size Pigma pens but found the small tip does not last that long. I now use #8 or a #5 if I can't find the #8. I sign right before I finish and have never had a bleeding or smearing issue with any finish I use. The area I sign is always the last place sanded and regardless of how high a grit I have sanded the rest of the piece where I sign is sanded no higher than 220.
 
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I started out using the smallest size Pigma pens but found the small tip does not last that long. I now use #8 or a #5 if I can't find the #8. I sign right before I finish and have never had a bleeding or smearing issue with any finish I use. The area I sign is always the last place sanded and regardless of how high a grit I have sanded the rest of the piece where I sign is sanded no higher than 220.

Hi Bill...... :)

What is the purpose of not sanding higher than 220?

-----odie-----
 
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Out of coincidence, this evening I happened to verify what you say about applying the finish over the Sakura pen markings without delay. I'd say it wasn't more than five minutes before I applied the DO, and there was no detectable smearing of the ink. I want the numerals to be small, but the two sizes of Sakura pens I have may be a bit too small for my purposes. I'm planning on ordering some larger sizes right away, and continue the experimenting. The colors I have are sepia and black.....my thought was to use the black for light colored woods, and the sepia on dark woods like Gabon ebony, Bocote, Walnut, etc. The sepia tone doesn't stand out as well as I'd hoped on my test piece of walnut, so am thinking about getting some other color for this application.....(Any suggestions, guys?.....white? tan?)

My only worry at the moment, is whether the ink will withstand the Beale buffing process.....but, my test piece needs to cure a few more days before I can test it. In theory, the DO over the top of the ink may be all that's necessary for the ink to withstand the Beale 3-step buffing... We will find out the answer to that question! ;)

-----odie-----



I will be interested to know if you find a light colored pen that shows up on walnut.
When using DO the grain rises making the excessively fine grit is a waste of time but the final wet sand before wiping dry takes care of the that. The presanding or steel or plastic wool before the second application is more than enough give that final sheen.
 
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I will be interested to know if you find a light colored pen that shows up on walnut.
I will, Don.....

I ended up getting this assortment in 03. I didn't see the assortment in 02, but it was also available in 01. When I purchased the pens I have in 003 and 005, I didn't know how small they actually were.....and, they were way too small. Based on this knowledge, it's why I went with 03 for this purchase. Hopefully, the larger size will enable me to overcome the problems I was having with my writing skills......maybe!

The colors are 2ea black, and 1ea of blue, green, red and blue/black. Any of the blue, green and red ought to show up on dark woods.....we'll see about that.


Will do more experimenting when they arrive...

-----odie-----

s-l1600.jpg
 
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After doing some preliminary experimenting with the Sakura pens, my findings are as follows:

====================

*The ink is more permanent on bare wood, than on top of the finish.

*The ink will bleed slightly on the bare wood, and less over the top of the finish.

*The Tripoli buff will remove/smear the ink.

*The ink is more resistant to the White Diamond and Carnauba buffing.

*All of the colored inks show up well on dark woods.

*After the ink is given time to fully dry, It's possible that a tiny Avery sticker over the ink will protect the ink from the Tripoli buff. It worked the couple of times I tried it on scrap wood, but not yet on a finished bowl. More experimenting necessary to know for sure. At what point the label is removed, is still in question......possibly after the Tripoli buff, but maybe after the White Diamond buff. It can't remain for the Carnauba, because the outline of the sticker will show up. The sticker must be removed for the Carnauba buff.

====================

I am ready to try some numbering on finished bowls, but this will take some time before the queue allows a completed bowl for final evaluation. (fingers crossed!)

-----odie-----
 
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I’ve been using Pigma pens, mostly the .03 tip for the past year or so, I think, since someone here recommended them. They are working great for me. The one caveat is that I’ve found that it does not stand up well to Beall buffing. On the other hand, it is dry enough to finish over almost as soon as I can put the pen away and get out the oil finish. I find no bleeding at all. I usually sand the bottoms to about 240 or 320, but not further, as I want the ink to have a bit of tooth to grab to. Probably doesn’t make sense. I have a hard time signing vertically on bowls being held in the vacuum chuck, so I will take the bowl off, sign, and remount to finish up the bottom. I’ve gotten better, with practice, at remounting the bowl reasonably centered, on the vacuum chuck.
 

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I’ve been using Pigma pens, mostly the .03 tip for the past year or so, I think, since someone here recommended them. They are working great for me. The one caveat is that I’ve found that it does not stand up well to Beall buffing. On the other hand, it is dry enough to finish over almost as soon as I can put the pen away and get out the oil finish. I find no bleeding at all. I usually sand the bottoms to about 240 or 320, but not further, as I want the ink to have a bit of tooth to grab to. Probably doesn’t make sense. I have a hard time signing vertically on bowls being held in the vacuum chuck, so I will take the bowl off, sign, and remount to finish up the bottom. I’ve gotten better, with practice, at remounting the bowl reasonably centered, on the vacuum chuck.

Lou.....a question.

Do you always sign with the grain going L to R, or does it matter?

Very natural looking flowing lines you have there.

-----odie-----
 
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Odie,
I just went and did a quick look at the bowls in the house. For the most part it seems I do sign with the grain. I think my logic is that there is less likelihood of the pen tip catching and skewing off course. But I do have some that are more flat grained, where there is no pattern to it. I also try to find a spot, if there is one, where the signature, species and date will not be lost among very strong grain lines.
 
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