Saturday, April 14, 2012

Using stamps to sign your works.

You will see images for various products that I actualy use, for all of my carvings. I only place links to products that I believe in, and each sale helps me to pay for my supplies and posting. Thanks for using my links before you make an Amazon purchase! Every sale counts!

Since I posted recently about the importance of signing your works, I thought that I had better smarten up and sign some of mine.

There is a small problem though, the carvings are finished.

 Well, were finished! I had ordered a stamp from this online company, and received it after I had completed my most current carving. Not to mention the many that have been done for some time.

 Yes, they were stained and sealed with Tung oil, and put on a shelf. I thought I would detail just how I went from a finished, unsigned piece, to a finished, and sighed piece.

As you can see, there are a few new scratches on the bottom of this unsigned carving. That is just fine, since I need to remove the entire finish in order to "stamp" it. I will need to remove the Tung oil and the stain as well.


 Well, the idea is that I want the stain to "sit" in the marks left by the stamp. This should make the stamp stand out against the rest of the end grain. If I simply just Stamped this now, it would not look as nice, or stand out as much.

 So, I found some 3M Pro-Pak 120C-Grit 120 grit and 150 grit sandpaper and a flat stick of scrap wood. I like to wrap a flat surface with sandpaper just to ensure that I dont "sand" grooves in the flat bottom. This also makes for an even sanding across the entire surface.

O.K. Back to the natural wood. Now is the time to think about just where the stamp will go. I like the center, so that is where it will go. To stamp it, I laid the carving on a chair pillow, held the stamp to the bottom, and struck it with a hammer. Sounds simple, but this step had me sweating.
Why? I had never done this before, and you only get "one shot" at it. You can't hit the stamp more than once, or else you will have a duplicate. Lining the stamp up with another attempt would be just about impossible. So, I put the stamp where I wanted it, put my knee on the carving as to hold it in place, and then "sent it home" with a moderate hit.

This is the result of my "single smack down". I am well pleased. My initials are SKR, and the stamp is just that. The "S" is the Ying/Yang design in the center. Infinity Stamps hit it out of the park. This is not a commercial for Infinity Stamps, but if you are signing your work for all of time, why not go with the best that you can get? The price of a custom stamp is less than the proceeds from just one carving, so why not?
If you are following along with one of your carvings, and you are at this step, your carving has just gone up in value! Even though it is unfinished, the carver has signed his work and it is now traceable. May your name live on!

Next up, getting your stamp mark to jump out at the on looker. If you stain your carving, use a paintbrush. Stain does not bubble, like most tung oil coatings do, so a brush will work just fine. Bubbles in your sealer, or Tung oil, will dry and cause headaches with the finish. Add your stain with a brush, and wipe it off as you would naturally. Do not try to "soak" the stain out of the stamp. You will want the indents to be much darker than the rest. Be careful, though, as the stain might "run out" of the stamp as you let it dry. Keep it as level as possible so this does not ruin the stain process.

As you can see in the image above, the stain has been added, and it has dried. From this point on, finish the carving just as you would any other. Do not worry about adding Tung oil any differently than you would on a flat surface.

 Don't worry about getting the oil to "fill in" the dents from the stamp either, as you want it to stand out. After all, you have put all of this work into adding a stamp, or "your mark" to this carving, why make it hard to notice, right?

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  1. I agree completely. Without a signature, it is just a nice piece of wood. I always sign mine, but have not yet come up with my own logo. Nice post and good work.
    Eric Owens

  2. Hey Eric, Thanks for the kind words. I am glad that you agree with me. A logo might be a great way to go. How do you sign your carvings now? Do you use a stamp?