I just finished building a patio table that has a satin spar varnish finish. It turned out well but now my wife is asking if there is a way for my boys to permanently write their names or initials on it. My first thought was woodburning but I am not sure that would work because of the varnish. enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Nail polish. Waterproof, durable, comes in a wide variety of colors, and it already includes a small brush.


A Sharpie will last a long time. If you want it really permanent, have them write in Sharpie or even a dry erase marker, which would allow revision if they mess up. Then go over it with a Dremel or engraving tool to carve it into the surface. It doesn't need to go very deep. You can then enhance it if you want by filling it with a dark filler stick.

  • Sharpie ink doesn't last that long. In a couple years, it'll be considerably faded. May 13, 2017 at 7:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.