Cedar house number sign

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Project by William Shelley posted 05-23-2014 06:32 AM 1930 views 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi there. A little while back I received a Bosch 1617EVSPK router combo kit as a birthday present from my father. Prior to this the only router I had was a Ridgid 1.5hp laminate trimmer with a 1/4” shank. Don’t get me wrong, the Ridgid unit is fantastic, and I actually use it for most things if I have the bit for it, but it doesn’t have the stability of the larger units. Also, it doesn’t plunge.

Something I’ve wanted for a while was a more visible house address sign. I thought, what a great task for a plunge router, and good practice with it as well. Laying around my shop was a 2” x 12” x 2ft chunk of really rough cut cedar that I had picked up at Home Depot for $0.51 (cull). I’m a sucker for stuff like that. This looked like a good candidate for what I wanted to do.

I spent a while trying to settle on a font that I liked, finally found one, and printed my address numbers on an 11×17 sheet of paper at 1:1 scale, at a size that I felt would be bold and readable from the street but hopefully not too obnoxious. I then cut the numbers out leaving a blank area and used that to mark out on my chunk of cedar. Tip: If you can get a used office / commercial grade laser printer on craigslist for cheap that will do 11×17 or larger, jump on it. The flexibility of being able to print out actual-size templates that large can’t be understated.

After that, I chucked up a round nose bit and got to work. I used a round nose bit because at the time I didn’t have a bottom cleanout bit, and the round nose bit left wood in the bottom of the area I was gouging out that made it look somewhat handmade.

I made some mistakes but persevered, eventually I had the numbers cut out to my satisfaction. After that, I got out some Behr exterior latex paint that was a really dark green color, almost black, which was a $1.00 quart of ‘Oops’ paint from Home Depot. At first I tried to paint really accurately inside the carved area but after the second mistake I realized that it was a fruitless effort.

With the paint dried, I used a chisel to shave off some of the dribbles of paint that had run over the edge of the carving, then ran the whole thing through my planer to create a nice clean edge around the glyphs. I liked the ‘rustic’ look that the round nose bit had left and so I used a chisel to ‘hew’ the edges and make it look even more rustic.

I was working on other stuff in my shop after this so I hit it with a Varathane water-based spar urethane finish that came in an aerosol can. Low odor, dried quick, looked good. A few eye bolts later and it was hanging from my front porch roof.

It was an incredibly simple project and I could have done it a hundred other ways, but the mistakes that I made (and corrected as best I could) were valuable training for an amateur like myself.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

3 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3379 posts in 4184 days

#1 posted 05-23-2014 08:11 AM

Your sign does offer a Country feel. I like the font…any idea the name of the font?

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2633 days

#2 posted 05-23-2014 01:37 PM

It’s called ‘Magic the gathering’, don’t remember where I actually got it from. This is almost the same: Planewalker

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 3288 days

#3 posted 05-23-2014 05:22 PM

I’ve made a number sign some weeks ago.

A quick tip to transfer the number to the wood: print it reversed in a laser printer, place it on the wood face down, and rub the paper with a cotton ball soacked in nail polish remover. As soon as the paper dries (in a matter of seconds), the toner is transfered.

In my case, I painted over the transfered numbers (because I added the street name and wasn’t sure about routing it), but you could as well carve the transfered text.


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