Whiskey Barrel Head

A friend has asked me to make him one of these “wedding sign in books” that are popular, made from a whiskey barrel top. His design/text will be engraved on the front, and his guests will sign the top as if it was the book. I know I can cnc it, but would rather laser it, and the question is, what top coating would work to protect the wood from bleeding, but enable signatures with a sharpie. The pro companies are being a little secretive about what they use. The wood is solid oak. Thanks.

I made one for a nefew a couple years ago and left the poly off until after the wedding. Use a permanet marker and when the wedding is over take it and poly it then. It seals the names in. If you do the poly first you have a good chance of the names being smeared because of the polu finish.

I was thinking the marker would bleed/wick into the raw oak grain. I’ve been reading that it can. Some using a ‘coating’, but no responses to which kind. I was going to poly it after signed also. Thanks for the input.

I don’t know why… but I am thinking along the lines of a stain conditioner like this:

Overview. Minwax® Pre - Stain Wood Conditioner prepares bare wood for staining. It penetrates the grain of the wood to promote uniform acceptance of oil-based stains. Treating the surface with Pre - Stain Wood Conditioner helps prevent streaks and blotches by evening out the absorption of oil-based stains.

Hi … I’m thinking a sanding sealer might work in this case.


I agree, I think a sanding sealer before signing and seal with poly afterwards would work. But best do a test piece first!



Thanks to all. I will probably try the sanding sealer and test. Worst case, I sand a little more if it doesn’t work. I will update my results soon.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.