Small text blowout

I’ve noticed that while trying to carve the small letters A a, B b, d, e, g, o, p, q, R they have a tendency to blowout when I’m using MDF. I’ve tried various v-bits (30,60 and 90) with the same results. I’ve experimented with a shallow flat depth and no flat depth but I’m experiencing the same problem. I’ve adjusted the text spacing to make sure there’s enough room for the bit. I use v-carve pro.

Is this just a typical issue with MDF or is it an issue with the software or am I missing something?

I would think that it is an issue with MDF. You might try putting a clear or colored finish over the MDF before you carve (you want something that will soak in, not just lay on the surface). The finish can offers some strength to the material before carving.

1 Like

I thought about using shellac……I’m thinking that would give it some strength :man_shrugging:

I have never tried this on mdf, but try some wood hardener. It may take several coats. That should harden it up enough to stop the breaking. Works good for bad wood on a lathe.

1 Like

Thanks for your suggestion :+1:

I suspect what Pony offered in post above would likely work, I know Minwax makes a hardener for exterior rotted wood that soaks in and hardens it (super hard). A cheaper alternative (maybe, becasue a little goes a long way) would be a fairly thinned epoxy using a quick set hardner like Total Boat brand, I use it to seal grainy woods before pouring colored epoxy. Sets up to the touch in about an hour, probably carveable in 3-4 hours, but I’d do it a day ahead as it might gum up your bits.

Thin CA glue should also work.

Machining-grade MDF, aka “super-refined” MDF, would likely work better for you. Per Weyerhauser, theirs has an “internal bond strength” that’s over 40% higher than their standard-grade MDF. I haven’t found any retail suppliers in my (central Ohio) area, but a friend in the Bay Area uses it and swears by it. He uses “Plum Creek” super-refined MDF, which I believe is now also a Weyerhaeuser brand.