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Forum topic by Boberto posted 05-16-2017 01:05 AM 748 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 1824 days

05-16-2017 01:05 AM

My friend’s daughter is getting married next month and wants me to make a board about 20”x38” for the guests to sign. This will be 4, 5” boards to make up the 20” width. It is old pine boards off an old chicken house that are planed down to about 1/2” thick. Think a small barn door with a z brace on the back.I think they are a bit disappointed that after you plain the old weathering off a board it is new lumber underneath but they are ok with that. Would you put some kind of finish on before everyone signs it and then something else on after to seal the signatures in? Any other advice?

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)


10612 posts in 4504 days

#1 posted 05-16-2017 01:51 AM

Wood takes pencil markings better than ink,
which tends to spread.

I would mark on bare, sanded wood. Any
film finish would work over it after it’s been

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1776 days

#2 posted 05-16-2017 02:54 AM


Last year my then future sister-in-law wanted what she called a Wedding Box but what I called a “chit” box. The box featured a glass front and a solid backer with a slot at the top to receive “chits”. Once dropped in the slot at the top, the “chits” stood upright and were visible through the glass front. The “chits” were craft store purchased tree limbs that were sliced to a thickness of around ¼”. As guests arrived at the wedding, they each signed an unfinished end-grain “chit” using a fine point Sharpie. After the wedding I advised her to coat the “chits” with polyurethane, although I do not know whether she took my advice.

At any rate and as Loren suggests, the ink bled a little on the end-grain of the “chits”, but not enough to detract from the writing on the “chit”. Since I do not know whether she ever applied a finish, I cannot say whether the carrier solvent in polyurethane dissolved the ink. But the names on the “chits” are visible and clear.

Notwithstanding my experience, it may be worthwhile to spend a little time experimenting, in concert with the bride, by writing on a scrap of the wood from which the project will be made with various pens and pencils (#2 or maybe even a #3) and then apply some finish. In this once in a lifetime experience, the extra time to ensure that whatever approach is taken to catalog wedding guests will not be ruined after the wedding is, I think, time well spent. I do recall advising my sister-in-law experimenting by writing on some “chits” before the wedding with various marking instruments before she settled on the fine point Sharpie.

View oldwood's profile


162 posts in 2100 days

#3 posted 05-16-2017 04:01 AM

Use a spray finish such as shellac because brushing very likely will smear the writing, be it pencil or ink.

View pontic's profile


801 posts in 1465 days

#4 posted 05-16-2017 12:06 PM

You are lucky. This is what I was commissioned to make for the last wedding I made something for. If you count labor I just broke even on it. Sorry for the sideways photo. Can’t seem to get them right.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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25 posts in 1824 days

#5 posted 05-17-2017 01:22 AM

Thanks for the replies. The spray on finish sounds like a good idea. Keep the ideas coming!
Pontic. I didn’t know you were suppose to count the labor on woodworking unless you’re doing it for a living. Some projects I don’t even want to count the lumber. I seem to be pretty good at making firewood sometimes!

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