Hand Carved Plaque

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Project by toddbeaulieu posted 01-26-2011 08:52 PM 3604 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our home had two plaques on the front porch. I stripped and restored the “crest wings”, which was a lot of work. It’s a beautiful piece, and I can only imagine how much work/cost it would be to replace it today.

I decided to replace the “name tag” of the house, because the old one was simply painted and rotting/icky.

I picked up some Spanish Cedar, some hand tools and started watching you tube.

This is what I ended up with. Overall, I’m pleased with it, with the exception of the finish. The natural wood doesn’t look right on the house, IMO. It’s out of place. If I get bored with my other proejcts, I may pull it down and paint it white.

Learning to carve the rounded letters was fun and easy (extreme sarcasm), with the grain changes.

I have a post card from 1940 addressed to “Colonial Manse, North Reading MA” and it got there. Simpler times!

7 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5274 days

#1 posted 01-26-2011 09:22 PM

Outstanding carving work. I would have looked at that and sworn it was done on a CNC machine.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View toddbeaulieu's profile


851 posts in 4060 days

#2 posted 01-26-2011 09:29 PM

Ha! That’s because you can’t see it up close!

But seriously, I really wanted it to look hand done. Even the border around it is hand done and purposefully imperfect.

Thank you.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 4154 days

#3 posted 01-27-2011 12:11 AM

Your eyes and mine see differently. The sign is fantastic and I think it contrasts beautifully with the the house. Don’t paint it.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3627 posts in 4768 days

#4 posted 01-27-2011 06:18 AM


You did an exceptional job on your “calligraphy”! And that chisel doesn’t just sweep across the wood like a calligraphy pen does. Thanks for sharing.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View CanalboatJim's profile


210 posts in 4560 days

#5 posted 01-28-2011 03:47 AM

Todd, Very nice job. You’ve inspired me, I’ve been wanting to try letter carving. I’m going to check out youtube.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View joshtank's profile


224 posts in 4029 days

#6 posted 02-14-2012 08:15 PM

and you just painted inside the letters after it was carved? that’s what it looks like when it’s up but i can’t tell.

-- Josh - Jacksonville, FL -

View toddbeaulieu's profile


851 posts in 4060 days

#7 posted 02-14-2012 08:42 PM

Hi Josh.

I’m currently reading a book on finishing because I know/knew next to nothing about it. I’d just grab whatever can I could find and a brush.

I definitely struggled with finishing this project. I was going to paint it to match the house and original sign, but once I saw the natural wood I wanted a clear finish. I used spar varnish. I then attempted to paint inside the carved letters and watched the paint bead up. Dope. So I picked up something called Gripper, I think it was, at HD and primed the letters first. I then went back over them with the black paint.

At this point, the sign doesn’t really “fit” because it’s the only bare wood on the house. But I have too many other projects to worry about that … like the paint on the house itself peeling so quickly you can almost hear it.

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