25th Anniversary Plate

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Project by Woodbutcher3 posted 11-17-2010 05:20 AM 3399 views 5 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I carved this plate for our Pastor and wife (Pic 1) to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. 2.) Plate front 3.) White lettering before carving 4.) Signature before stain 5.) back 6.) back in B&W

The plate is basswood (I didn’t turn it). The egg-and-dart border and circular portions all have to be laid out using a protractor (big word for a Marine). The center with the birds and other flowers is from Wayne Barton’s book – Chip Carving Patterns. The lettering on the front is set up in Word using outlines then cut and laid out individually before tracing. Tracing onto a light wood, I use a grey graphite paper. It comes off easily with poly erasers or alcohol on a Q-tip (on the plate not in me). Tracing for the lettering on the back is done after a dark gel stain (it doesn’t bleed unevenlyinto the wood like liquid stains would do) using a “white” graphite paper.

After the carving on the front was finished, it got two coats of dark walnut gel coat. Then after the back was carved, the whole plate got three coats of clear gel stain. This takes time. After it’s brushed on, each coat has to be wiped down and then drawn out of the “chips” with a small brush and wiped up so it doesn’t goober up (very technical term – even engineers can’t easily define this one). Dry time – 24 hrs per coat.

On the back – my signature is at the bottom of the plate and I stain it before finishing so it blends in and doesn’t compete with the unstained lettering above. Not a very good picture. I told my wife I want a good camera for Christmas.

The Verse, found in three places in Scripture, confirm marriage as God intended it by each of the Trinity – the Father; the Son, Jesus Christ; and Spirit (through Paul). I often pray for the person or couple I am carving for and this is the focus of the prayer.

Many of the component symbols represent some portion of marriage or love.

Triangles – Trinity
Eggs – New Birth
Lilly of the Valley – Return of happiness, purity of heart, sweetness, humility, happiness, love’s good fortune.
Birds – Love birds or the Holy Spirit.
Tulips – Perfect lover, declaration of love frame
Circles – The Continuation of Life

I am often asked what machine or laser I used. I usually tell them I used a 5-finger router. Most woodworkers get it. You know what it takes is practice, practice, practice -patience, patience, patience – just like anything else in woodworking. I’ve been at it off and on for almost 20 years. I still have a lot to learn.

Total time invested is about 40 hours.

I was privileged to take courses from Wayne Barton and Dennis Moor. Both men have given a lot to the craft in tools, books, time and personal interest in people. While I tried to do it from books, it wasn’t until I sat in front of Masters that my skills expanded so quickly.

This is about the third or fourth plate I’ve done over the years. I still need to do one for my wife. Next year might be a good one, which would be 35 years for us!
I am truly more Blessed than I deserve!

Chips A’ Flyin’

God Bless

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

24 comments so far

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 3836 days

#1 posted 11-17-2010 06:13 AM

That is a masterpiece – very classy / elegant. FANTASTIC work! Thanks for sharing.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View Broglea's profile


694 posts in 4140 days

#2 posted 11-17-2010 07:34 AM

Wow. This is beautiful. Very impressive.

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3872 days

#3 posted 11-17-2010 08:05 AM

This is amazing, a realy fabulous piece enhanced by the feeling for the occasion being celebrated.
Pity you can’tn buy one of thoes “5” finger routers anywhere I know of.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4238 days

#4 posted 11-17-2010 12:24 PM

What a great gift and Project! Very well done I like it !

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View rozzi's profile


323 posts in 4371 days

#5 posted 11-17-2010 01:02 PM

Well done and a wonderful gift.

-- Duane, Iowa

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3916 days

#6 posted 11-17-2010 01:44 PM

That is a beautiful plate and your craftsmanship is wonderful.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4210 days

#7 posted 11-17-2010 01:45 PM

Very well done Rod, and thanks for all the background (the text, not the stain). I never knew all the little details about the symbology. You took the time to do it right. The pictures don’t do it justice.

Yeah, each new significant project demands a significant tool. And yes, a camera is a tool.

“Well done my good and faithful servant.”

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Woodbutcher3's profile


462 posts in 3936 days

#8 posted 11-17-2010 02:22 PM

Thanks all for the kind comments. I love members of LumberJocks. I have not yet seen an unkind remark or comment people post on the projects others submit. And, I sure learn a lot from the helps and intruction people do post.!

Forgot to add this last night for those who might want to see some instruction on Chip carving:

YouTube Videos

Wayne Barton’s site:

Dennis Moor’s site:

Boxes’N’Such – Products to carve on – mostly Basswood

High end products to carve – mix of woods, butternut & basswood

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3842 days

#9 posted 11-17-2010 02:33 PM

Outstanding piece of craftsmanship.
Thanks for letting me see it.
I looked for a five finger router on Ebay, but had no luck.

-- Mel,

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4126 days

#10 posted 11-17-2010 03:02 PM

Beautiful work Rod….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Schwieb's profile


1916 posts in 4511 days

#11 posted 11-17-2010 03:37 PM

This is really nice work and a wonderul gift of love for both the artform and the recipients. I can’t help but be jealous of your ability to do this. Outstanding work!!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Sodabowski's profile


2399 posts in 3882 days

#12 posted 11-17-2010 04:13 PM

Wonderful gift :) Maybe it’s me, but I’d have inlaid turquoise chips in it to enhance the beauty of the wood.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 4258 days

#13 posted 11-17-2010 04:20 PM

That is some impressive craftsmanship! It looks far better than any machine job.
A fantastic keepsake for the happy couple.

View mmh's profile


3684 posts in 4772 days

#14 posted 11-17-2010 05:03 PM

Beautifully created and I find the symbolism quite interesting. Thank you for sharing your project and the information.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Billinmich's profile


253 posts in 4781 days

#15 posted 11-17-2010 05:48 PM

Beautiful work,those 5 finger routers are priceless.Still looking for mine

-- Bill in Mich

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