Filling in a V-Carve

Hi all, happy new longmill user and I’ve been using it to cut some charcuterie boards. Have had a few people ask about engraving on them. I’m curious about techniques you all use to “fill in” the text to make it more legible and make it smooth again to make them easier to clean and not allow a place for bacteria to grow? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hi Paul - Welcome to the forum!

Inlays are probably the best option since you can use a contrasting color wood for the inlay. Lots of great Youtube videos for inlays for all the different design (CAD) software packages.


Thanks, I will investigate but kinda looking for something that I can do a quick v-carve and then fill and level. Tried epoxy and it looks great but it an extensive process. Wood filler doesn’t seem to stick hard enough to stay. I saw a user mention black glue to fill and give contrast but I’m not sure what that is lol. I appreciate the response and will look into inlays as well.

Yes, I have heard of using Black Thick CA glue to fill voids in wood. I would think you would need a lot of it on a complicated, detailed carve. Plus does CA glue “eventually” become food safe after curing?

Inlays can accomplish both, they are a little ore complicated of a cut, but in the end look amazing.

@Coach I would stay away from CA glue if I were you. It will work well for filling very small, shallow imperfections, but it is far from the best product for filling v-carved characters.

The depth of your carve will dictate to some extent the best way to fill it. As @stevendq mentioned, you can do a wood inlay, but there is considerable more work involved with inlays than there is with fills. I’m not sure what you are referring to when you say that epoxy is an extensive process. Epoxy resins are just two-part products that you mix together in the recommended proportions, add any colourant you like and pour. There are also polyester and epoxy putties available that, again you mix two parts together, then use a putty knife to press them into the groove. I’ve used many different pour epoxies with excellent results. I have use the putties, but never to fill a carved groove. I don’t know how they would hold up to the rigours of charcuterie boards.


Thanks @gwilki I appreciate the feedback. Think I just find the epoxy a little overwhelming. How do you get the epoxy to shine again after the sanding process. The one I tried it on it was very dull after sanding it flat? Maybe I just need to play around a bit more with it.

@Coach Sand to 400 grit, then any plastic polish will put a brilliant shine on it. What product are you using? How deep is your V carve? What are you finishing the board with?

One thing to be aware of is bleed. Depending the wood you are filling, you can get colour bleed from the epoxy bleeding into the exposed end grain. You can avoid this by sealing the carve first with either a sanding sealer or a thinned, painted-on coat of the epoxy you are using. Seal the carve before adding the colour to the epoxy.

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awesome thanks. Using mostly hardwood. V-Carve was roughly .2 inch deep at its Deepest. I finish the boards with tung oil or mineral oil and thats it. I didn’t know if the plastic polish would affect the wood as it would be almost impossible to only polish the epoxy and not get it on the wood. The epoxy that I used was just a kit from amazon just to see if I liked it. No allegiance to any product there. They are a little pricey but in small quantities like a v carve I don’t think they would be that bad.

@gwilki Thanks for the info on the colored epoxy bleeding. Good to know!

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@Coach Good epoxies can be very expensive. For shallow, narrow v carves, almost any epoxy will likely work. Oils are one of those issues that provoke some intense conversations among woodworkers. Since I have a tough skin, I’ll dare to tell you that mineral oil is not a good choice for cutting boards or charcuterie boards. It is a non-hardening oil and will attract all kinds of nasties. Polymerized tung oil is good. Rubio monocoat is an incredible product. I’ve used it on two river tables and it left a very durable finish on both the wood and the epoxy.

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@gwilki I really appreciate the patience with a newbie!! Do you have an epoxy product that you recommend? Starting with small project like charcuterie board but long term have my eyes on a river table. As far as finish goes, I welcome a knowledgable discussion, I have read so much about it my head is spinning so I appreciate the feedback. I was using the Circa 1850 Tung oil product but I ran out yesterday so I bought a bottle of watco butcher block mineral oil. Guess I fell for the butcher block in the name of the product :frowning: I will look at the Rubio Monocoat!

@Coach Paul: An excellent epoxy for river tables is overkill for filling v grooves, IMHO. As an aside, I’ve cast hundreds of pen blanks using Alumilite, but I wouldn’t think of using it for river tables. The biggest issue with large pours is bubbles. For pen blanks, I use a pressure pot to squeeze the bubbles so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. That’s not possible with river tables - obviously.

For the two tables that I have done, I used Chill Ice, available locally in Ottawa. It is crazy pricey, but tor these projects, I was not paying for the materials. It is an excellent product. It is extremely thin so it gets into cracks and crevices well and, although like all epoxy resins, its curing process is exothermic, the reaction seems to be very controlled so you don’t get issues from heat expansion. It takes colours extremely well and the inevitable bubbles rise to the service while it is curing. The few that remain on the surface are planed off when the table is finally flattened. I am in no way associated with Chill Ice or the local supplier, I must add.

I am sure that there are other resins that will work as well as Chill Ice. I have no experience with them.

Oh, and to keep this thread relevant for Long Mill users, we used the Mill to surface the smaller of the two tables.

For my boards I usually use epoxy coloured by liquid colouring then a clear coat of food safe epoxy


@pendragon Keith - I have wondered how to ensure epoxy was food safe after coloring it, but topping it again with clear food-safe epoxy is the perfect solution. Thanks for the tip!

Congrats on getting your Longmill, Coach!

Inlays are typically the most ideal option for filling in V Carved text since the inlay is also wood. However, you remove the effect of depth that the V carving gives you. I have used Clear epoxy and colored epoxy for both with promising results. You CAN buy “food grade” epoxy for this.
I guess it depends totally on the look you want to achieve.
I will say I tend to prefer a Laser when it comes to projects where food comes in contact. So far I have just scratched the surface of what my Laser can do. I hope to produce a bunch of videos on this! Good Luck


Be advised there are 2 types of epoxy hobby people like us use…Table and deep pour epoxy. If you are filling in a carve and it is shallower then 1/4 inch use Table top epoxy…over 1/4 inch use deep pour. Deep pour is what you would use on river river tables or serving boards. I do a lot of carve filling with epoxy…it is important that you seal the carve with a sanding sealer or a polycrylic before you pour your epoxy. You will save yourself headaches from air bubbles and color bleeding. Non sealed wood will create air bubbles in your epoxy. I usually seal, paint my letters with acrylic paint then use clear epoxy to fill…or you can color your epoxy.


Epoxy, polyurethane, polycrylic are all food safe after a 30 day cure.


A post was split to a new topic: Epoxy-filled plaque

Thanks @Dana I have my laser on order and I’m patiently(or not so patiently) waiting and then I’ll be back asking more questions lol

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I melt crayons. Place the board on the iron and cut small pieces of crayon and carefully place them. Can be time consuming.