Tinted Filler for Engravings Before Finishing

Epoxy or polyester filler can both be tinted. April 10, 2008

I'm building a chip case for a customer and will engrave (cut with CNC router) a logo into the top. The logo should be fairly small so the cut will be pretty shallow. The case will be finished with ML Campbell Magnamax satin and the customer would like the grooves in the logo to be filled for a smooth finish.

What is the best way to do this? The thought I had was to use a self-leveling epoxy to cover the top, sand some, and then spray the whole box with satin lacquer. The customer also asked, when filling the engraving, if the cuts could be filled with black?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
Epoxy resin can be tinted black. I think I would use a polyester filler. Evercoat Glaze coat would work well I think. It works just like bondo but is not as thick, so it will pour into cracks and could be tinted close to black. It is a yellowish color to begin with, so you will not get a deep black, if that concerns you. Polyester resin also comes in black and would work really well.

From contributor M:
I do a lot of engraving too and am looking for a tintable filler. Is the resin sandable to smooth, and then apply a clearcoat?

From contributor R:
With the black polyester, for example, I would fill the inlay to overflowing, wait until cured and carefully sand until flush with sharp details. Next I think I would seal with a clear polyester sealer, sand flat and topcoat with a 2k polyurethane in whatever sheen I needed.

From contributor C:
I agree with contributor R that will give you your best results - using a cork block or wood block with cork on bottom will allow you to sand the higher surface down smooth without affecting the surround as much as using a sander with a softer pad - used to do a lot of inlay this way. The cork I use is automotive gasket cork 1/4" thick. It is a rubberized cork, not like wall cork used for cork boards or underlayment for wood floors - it is hard but has a slight give - un-rubberized cork will not work as well.

From contributor J:
I agree with contributor C to overfill and sand down. I use a flat wood block with cork drawer liner (comes in rolls at your local big box store). It's about 1/16 or a little thicker and has a tacky finish to it, to back the sandpaper.

I use fiberglass gel coat with hardener and matching tints - the tint is made to work with the gel. Lots of colors to choose from and can be tinted from almost transparent to opaque. I've used it to anchor shell and stone inlays and to fill borders and small details like your logo.