sign from reclaimed fence section

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Project by jamsomito posted 12-26-2017 08:09 PM 672 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
sign from reclaimed fence section
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I made this sign as a gift for a family member who just purchased a house with some land. It has a barn and a garden and they have big plans for both. They’re big into reclaimed projects with old pallets and windows so I thought this would fit their style. It is made with some old cedar fence sections.

First I had to take everything apart. It was a huge pain and took a couple hours. Everything was ring-nailed together and the cedar was so soft it was tough to get the nails out without damaging the wood with the hammer or pry bar. Eventually I got most of them out ok but had to pull a few heads all the way through the boards. The pics below were taken for other reasons, but you can see the sections I was working with in the corners.

Added to my scrap stockpile ready to work.

I cut all the edges down so the boards had some workable/gluable surface and were a consistent width. They varied by up to an inch (5-6in wide) – talk about rough lumber. They were all bowed, cupped, or twisted to some degree so it was questionable work on the table saw, but no crook side to side so with some care it all went through without a hitch. But yikes the splinters from this rough weathered cedar…

Next I glued up the back panel. Since the boards were warped up and down relative to each other, I made some cauls out of scrap 2×4’s to run across the width of the glue-up. I put some packing tape on the edges that would be touching the glue so it wouldn’t stick. This was all well and good until it came time to actually do the glue-up and I didn’t have enough clamps big enough to span the width of the cauls! So I clamped one section and improvised as quick as I could – just threw the heaviest thing I could find on top of the others – my miter saw. It worked ok.

After it was dry I cut it down to size and tried to get it as flat as possible. These pieces were cupped quite a bit. I sanded for about an hour and a half and couldn’t get it perfect so I called it good and moved on. I kind of like the half-finished look for this anyway, adds to the rustic feel. I just used a paint scraper to get the glue drips off the back side.

Then it just kind of sat there for a while. I hadn’t really thought this far… I could have cut all the letters out on the jigsaw which I could never get really precise, or I was considering engraving everything with a router.

Lo and behold my awesome wife was scheming with the rest of the family to go in together on a bandsaw for me, so when that arrived I was elated and my decision was made. I proceeded to cut out the letters from the remaining cedar fence pieces that were too twisted for the glue-up on the bandsaw.

I used Word to write out the letters in the font I wanted and just used some basic math and the ruler in Word to get the size of the letters. I ended up using size 400 font for the name and “farms” and the engraving later was exactly 1/2 size – 200 font. I printed the letters out one per page and rough cut squares around each. I used spray-adhesive to stick them onto the cedar fence pieces and just went to town on the band saw. I missed pictures of this all because I had a friend in town and we were using the shop together, just didn’t think of it. But, here you can see me piecing together the cut-outs.

Nothing was attached yet because I still had to do the engraving. I got a big letter bit for the router to do this. I printed out what I wanted in letters and numbers, stuck it on the same way with spray adhesive and traced everything. It was just a guide, the router was free-hand. For the edge details, I clamped on a straight edge for the straight borders and freehanded the semicircles.

I cut out the middle of the letters by drilling a hole and using a small detail blade on the jigsaw. I broke both of the A’s and had to redo them both, so back to the printer, more glue, more bandsaw, the repeat hole and jigsaw. Once all the letters were finished I put a small bead of wood glue on the backs and put them on the sign back where they looked good. I flipped the whole thing over and put some weight on it until it dried.

Then it was time to remove the paper… what a mess. Between the paper and spray adhesives, I went through about 10 sanding discs. They kept getting gunked up every couple letters. Don’t know if there’s a better way to do this, but I eventually made it through all of them.

I looked at each letter and found pretty big gaps between them and the sign back in some areas because the back was far from flat, so I added some nails to the main sections of the letters to make sure they stayed in place. I actually really like the look.

During the sanding I broke off a piece of the V, so I also glued that back on after sanding.

I’m a little worried about the longevity of the sign in general because of the really thin sections of the letters, but the materials here were close to free so if they all break off in the next couple years it won’t be a big deal to make another one.

I finished everything off by adding a few ring hooks to the top so the sign can be hung.

Comments and critiques welcome!

1 comment so far

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3464 days

#1 posted 01-02-2018 10:36 PM

Great job! You did a good job on those letters

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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