Stamping on smooth wood
January 1, 2017 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I have about 250 of these discs. I need to put colored numbers on them. I'm thinking of using an ink stamp set. Will the kind of ink that comes with this set stay on those discs, and hold up to wear? If not, then what kind of ink will?
posted by codacorolla to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
I know that Yellow Owl Workshop's inkpads are waterproof and permanent. I've stamped onto fabric, and run it through the washer and dryer about a hundred times, and it's unmoveable and colorfast. I would expect it to work just as well on wood. It can apparently be used on metal too.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:57 AM on January 1, 2017

When I read "stamping on smooth wood", I thought you meant this kind of stamping on wood, which would definitely hold up to wear.
posted by NoraCharles at 10:29 AM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could also do a spray of polyurethane to seal it after you stamp it. Would also make it easier to clean the disks.
posted by HuronBob at 10:31 AM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wood is porous. Structurally, think of it as a bundle of hollow straws, all running in the same direction. The ink, dye whatever will get sucked deeply into the wood if the straws are perpendicular to the surface, but will mostly sit on the surface if they're parallel to the surface.

Good wood dyes (eg aniline dyes) are spendy.

I suggest not worrying about it, and sealing over the top instead. I'd try a few coats of wipe-on polyurethane varnish - regular varnish diluted up to 1:1 with white spirit.

If colour isn't a firm requirement you could try pyrography or laser cutting.
posted by Leon at 10:32 AM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

If they're going to be handled a lot then you'll want a film top coat to keep them reasonably clean. Otherwise they'll soon be permanently soiled with dirty fingerprints and such. As suggested above, the film finish will also protect whatever ink you use for the markings.
posted by jon1270 at 10:54 AM on January 1, 2017

You could also get a cheap wood burning kit with numbers. It would be functionally the same as stamping with ink but would hold up way better. If you want color, you could stain the wood.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:08 AM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

that ink set should be fine, but if you want to be extra sure, get a can of clear spray enamel ($5 at the hardware store, shiny or satin, you decide) and give them a light spray once they're all stamped. let them dry first before flipping them over to do the other side (if you're doing both sides). you can lay them all out on cardboard and do them all in one batch, but you may want to do a test first to make sure the spray doesn't cause bleeding/running.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:11 AM on January 1, 2017

Seconding a wood burning kit/hot brand.

Otherwise, make stencils and use spraypaint or another paint suitable for wood.
posted by porpoise at 11:49 AM on January 1, 2017

The ink pads that come with that set look cheap to me, and it's hard to tell what kind of ink they are. I would guess they would smear easily before drying and possibly blur out when sprayed with a sealer.

I recommend the StazOn line of ink pads.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:29 PM on January 1, 2017

This is a prototype for a game, so I really care about speed. Woodburning and stain would be good for a lasting product, but I'm not sure I want to do that for something that might not even be the final form factor of the materials. I'm mainly interested in the set I posted because it has letters and numbers... Another option would be to just use colored sharpie markers, but that would be a lot of hand writing on my part, which is a tiring way to make prototype components.
posted by codacorolla at 2:27 PM on January 1, 2017

That's an interesting idea... one stipulation is that the discs need to be uniform, since they will be drawn blindly from a bag, and any inconsistency in feel will reveal hidden information. A possibility, though.
posted by codacorolla at 6:58 PM on January 1, 2017

A spray topcoat should help make their surface more uniform, FWIW.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:44 PM on January 1, 2017

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