I am making a skittles board with b2 birch plywood. For those that don't know, this is not a candy server - it is a tabletop game somewhat like a combination of bowling, shuffleboard and top spinning. A 2' x 4' open top box is divided into a few "rooms" with open doors between them. Miniature bowling pins are set up in the rooms, and you set a top spinning from one end of the apparatus to knock them over.
People playing skittles

I am trying to follow the plans here fairly closely: PDF plan of skittle board

Their recommendation for finishing is as follows:

After cutting all doorways—a job you can speed by careful stacking of the blanks—sand edges smooth. A coat of shellac thinned 50 per-cent with alcohol, followed with two coats of enamel makes a durable finish. Brushing is easier if you prefinish the parts before you glue and nail them together.The smoother the finish on the floor, the longer the top will spin, so give it extra care and attention. Sand carefully between each coat of shellac and enamel; then apply a paste wax and buff it to a hard finish before assembly

What this doesn't address is when to apply the lettering indicating scores for various pins. Is that the first step? The last? (Probably not the last, since the painted lettering would leave a little bit of a textural variation.)

Plus these directions are pretty old -maybe there is a better technique overall.

What methods should I use to get bright red and blue numbers to end up visible on the (very smooth) "floor" of the box?

My question is similar to this one: Finish for hand painted/lettered wood sign but I am not particularly concerned about the end result being waterproof, but I do need it to be durable against clattering pins

  • 1
    My guess, and it is a guess because the instructions aren't clear, is that the surfaces are mainly finished with shellac and wax, with only the numbers done using the enamel. The shellac is therefore being used only as a sealer coat (something that used to be very common and is still done) which is further supported by it being thinned by half rather than being used at full strength.
    – Graphus
    Nov 22 '19 at 8:13
  • 1
    I would use a water borne poly as it inparts very little coiour to the wood and by assumption to any numbers. Nov 24 '19 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.