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Lee Jones
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:04 am
Location: Bournemouth, UK.


Post by Lee Jones » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:46 am

Hi all.

I'm seeking advice. A friend of mine has built his own bike and has a plywood panel stitched into the frame. He would like me to hand-paint his business name onto the panel.

I asked him if the wood was varnished but all he's used on it is beeswax. I'm not sure if I can use 1-shot enamel on this though. If not I'm thinking I would need to remove the wax and then maybe use a clear varnish on the panel prior to writing (I wouldn't be able to paint directly to ply as the paint would surely bleed into the grain).

Has anyone here come across a similar issue? Any suggestions for achieving a good finish?

I'm hoping this will be my very first sign commission and I really want to do a good job.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Roderick Treece
Posts: 1048
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:04 pm
Location: San deigo Calif

Re: Advice

Post by Roderick Treece » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:37 am

Hi Lee,
Unless your planing on doing a "Rustic" looking sign and want the background paint to crackle I don't think you will be able to clean the wax off of the wood enough to get the paint to bond. I would suggest having a new piece of ply cut and start fresh.


Lee Littlewood
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:36 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Advice

Post by Lee Littlewood » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:45 am

Hi Lee - good name, that. I think you're doomed. If the wax is into the pores of the plywood there is no way to get it out, and I don't know of any solvent-based paint that would not react to it. Maybe an acrylic could bond, but I'm doubtful. Same for shellac.
If he had used an oil-based clear (Watco oil, linseed oil, tung oil...) you could put varnish over it and then letter on the varnish.

You could use a wood-burning tool. Kind of limited in its effects, but permanent.

Cut out a plaque or scroll of thin metal or plastic, letter it and attach with screws or through-bolts. Possible to change the plaques: winter/summer signs; new partners, ....

Good luck, keep us posted
where am i? Now, when i need me...

Doug Bernhardt
Posts: 1025
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:29 am
Location: Ottawa Canada

Re: Advice

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:23 pm

All that is perfectly correct except to also mention that the paint might take a few weeks to dry. Thats is also the reason you'd never used waxed paper cups to mix paint in.

joe cieslowski
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 6:15 pm
Location: east canaan ct

Re: Advice

Post by joe cieslowski » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:16 am

When I worked in a pattern shop we always used bees wax for fillets.......and then the pattern was coated out with lacquer. No problem.

And you can use enamels over lacquer.

Of course lacquer isn't an exterior coating.

This advice is worth what you paid for it. :wink:

Makin Chip$ and Havin Fun!

Kent Smith
Posts: 555
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:41 pm
Location: Estes Park, CO

Re: Advice

Post by Kent Smith » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:20 am

While what Joe says can be true and also of shellac, there must be some raw wood to adhere to. Bees Wax is a great repellant and is not effected by many known solvents and cannot be completely removed. I would go with a panel attached where you have control over the coatings.

Lee Jones
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:04 am
Location: Bournemouth, UK.

Re: Advice

Post by Lee Jones » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:17 am

Thanks for your input on this.
Unfortunately the panel has been stitched to the bike frame. It's a wonderful look but it means it's pretty much fixed on there and I can't really resolve this by producing a new panel.

Thanks for the advice anyway. I'll have to have a chat to the guy and see what he wants to do about this, discuss his options.

I'll keep you all posted anyway.


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