Lasercut Wood Boxes


Hi Everyone,

Ty suggested that I share my project with you guys. Rumour has it that there are other people that enjoy alcohol. Ive been churning out these whiskey boxes for my friends with 2oz samplers using the laser cutter.

The challenge I’ve seen having is that after staining and varnishing the wood it’s becoming tacky to the touch. I suspect it’s a combination of the humid environment and the thinness of the wood in proportion to the amount of stain and varnish it is able to absorb. Any ideas on how to remove the tackiness. I’ve tried a quick turpentine wipe and it seems to help, but any other ideas would be welcome!


I’m not very knowledgeable on finishes, but have you tried lighter coats? What products are you using and what are your drying times?


Also, those look incredible.


Looks cool! Just a wild idea, would spraying with Conformal Coating (it is used to coat PCBs, adds a polymer like layer on top) help? I haven’t tried it on wood, only on PCBs.


I’ve been using varathane wood finisher and just letting it dry over a few days. It appears dry just tacky, I think I’m going to try mineral oil instead.


Wo … my spray skill suck so maybe i’ll hold off on that for now, but thanks for the idea


Wow - those look amazing!! I bet the mineral oil would do the trick. I made some coasters out of 1/4 inch baltic birch on the cutter and finished them with mineral oil. Has held up well. I didn’t try any other finishes. I’m guessing you’ve rummaged through the chem locker? We have tons o’ stuff in there. Feel free to grab and test some things out if you want.

Looking forward to seeing more pics of this great project. :slight_smile:


Very nice,

I had that problem with Varathane recently, I ended up sanding it off and redoing (you’re going to get a lot of gummy sandpaper.

What eventually worked for me was getting to a good finish before applying the varathane, 240-400 grit. make sure you wipe/blow all the dust off. I just applied it with some of the brown paper roll scrunched up, just using enough finish to cover the piece without getting any build up, leave it dry for a couple of hours. Sand it back slightly to smooth and recoat.

After the second coat is dry I rub it down with a 220 sanding sponge until it is like glass and it feels amazing.

Maybe test it on an offcut until you get the result your looking for


A couple of things could cause the Varathane not to dry - temperature or age of the Varathane. It needs to be applied and dried at room temperature. If you are using a previously opened can of finish that has been sitting around for awhile then it could have oxidized which will prevent it from properly drying. Another possibility is that the finish wasn’t stirred enough.


Thanks for all the tips everyone. I’ll try on a bunch of offcuts and update on how it turns out. Although gummy sanding sounds like a nightmare.


Those look cool and your problem is not rare in our humid environment.

Reduce the humidity in the environment of the drying varnish by running a dehumidifier. Pointing a fan at the drying varnish may also help.
Wipe the surface of the varnish lightly with a rag moistened with turpentine or mineral spirits. Don’t rub the varnish; just wipe it lightly enough to remove the tackiness from the surface. Give the varnish another day or two under the breeze of a fan to cure.
Brush or spray a light coat of clear shellac on the surface if the varnish is still tacky after wiping it with a solvent. Shellac hardens by evaporation and doesn’t have to cure. Use shellac only if the varnish has almost hardened but is still slightly tacky. Don’t use it if the varnish is soft.
Strip the varnish if none of these strategies work. It’s probably tacky because the wood wasn’t properly cleaned before varnishing. Wash the wood with a wax-removing detergent after you’ve stripped the old varnish, sand it and apply a fresh coat.


Is it a water based finish or polyurethane-based?
I tend to buy a combination product of (stain+poly), that way a) you dont have to do two things and b) I find that the stain can come out of the finish onto say, hands, clothes, etc - not good.


If you use wet sanding paper (the type used for drywalls), it can actually feel better than the usual dry sanding (no dust, mostly)


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