Finishing question#2
  Re: (...)
AS a recap:
I am making plaques for Christmas gifts using resawn walnut burl. I have finsihed them with birchwood casey gun stock finish and then took them to be laser engraved with my children's baptismal certificates. Tape was placed over the surface and then lasered through the tape, leaving the tape and black laser marks where engraved. After engraving, I plan on leaving the tape on and spraying gold paint on the surface, filling in the engraves areas.

I bought a rattle can of metallic gold spray paint and have sprayed five coats onto the surface of the plaques. While the tape is now gold, the laser etched parts are still black. It appears that the spray isn't getting into the lasered places. Admittedly, some are quite small, yet no paint is apparent. I am reluctant to remove the tape as it would never go back correctly.

Why doesn't te spray cover the black areas? Should I get a bottle of liqued paint and try to brush it in?
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  Re: Finishing question#2 by joemac (AS a recap:[br]I am ...)
I'm guessing that you have very poor adhesion with the burned surface, so any paint that gets in their will tend to get drawn out of the cuts by surface tension. Would shellac adhere any better as a primer?

Seems like it would be useful to make some samples to experiment with.

Maybe try something with gluing in a fine gold wire? or CA glue with gold dust (or gold glitter from a craft store). (but may have the same adhesion issues).

or if the engraving is deep enough, maybe look for a filler wax, and plan to restore periodically

  Re: Finishing question#2 by joemac (AS a recap:[br]I am ...)
Joe, make a practice piece. Don't experiment with anything that is a "keeper". If you need someone to do some laser carving for a test piece I know two guys out my way (west suburbs) that have laser engravers or carving machines. I could give you their contact info. They would charge you a modest fee.

Your original plan sounds like it will work. Lacquer dries very quickly. I would not spray clear over it. I'm not sure what a laser does to a finish that is already applied.
  Re: Finishing question#2 by joemac (AS a recap:[br]I am ...)
Question #1 no longer applies; you may have resolved #2, also. But:

The gold needs an intermediate base (solid) in order to pop (show). The intermediate might work on its own, but you probably had ash mixing with any spray that entered the etch, and need sealer. Seal first with dewaxed shellac, or whatever.

You need very sharp and high contrast (think black) next to the gold. Can you darken the walnut field within and around the text? Also, the walnut will fade over time.

Sounds like the etch/engraving is pretty fine--you are dealing with excavations less than say 3/32nds in width? Don't spray. Use a fine brush that fits the work area and is designed for the bottle paint you will need. Brush both the sealer, intermediate, and final gold coats.

Take a moment to research the process. And, buy from an art store, if there are still any in town. This is not an easy project simply due to the materials and process required to make it work.

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