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Project by Woodbutcher3 posted 06-03-2012 07:53 PM 1609 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The task was to router a sign (TIMBERS) into an 8 ft – 8”x6” piece of wolmanized(sp) (spell check keeps putting womanized but I didn’t want to go down that road) pine that had been measured, shaped, milled & stained. It was to be at the entrance of his property where he built a log cabin (mansion) on a lake.

I commissioned a friend to scroll saw the templates for 5.5” letters I printed out using Microsoft Bookman font with outlined letters. He is the best I know, a humble man and a kind friend – Nate Johnson. He works at the Springfield, VA Woodcraft. I had him cut a single ¼” MDF template for each letter because I knew my friend Nate would not be able to cut the whole sign out on his Scroll Saw – NO saw has a throat that size! The letter templates (and the cut out letters to boot) came back looking like they’d been done on a CNC machine or a laser!

Since the wood was rough and I wanted a contrasting background so I could do a layout as well as protect the wood. I used three layers of painter’s tape to provide a base. It would later act as a mask for painting he would do.

Used the letters cutouts from the templates to do the sign layout (photo 2). This allowed me to set the spacing and adjust the letters as needed. Once I had them where I wanted them, I used a pencil to trace around the letters.

The beam went outside for the routing. That way the treated dust got left outside! The paint scaffolding was the right height to work as a bench.

A pin nailer was used to tack the four corners of each template once they were lined up on the traced lines. All the letters could not be set up at the same time. The templates had a border for support. So, several at a time were set up where spacing allowed. Later, the templates easily came up by sliding a putty knife gently under the edges. The pin nails were still in the MDF but easily removed. It was nice to have the inner piece for the “B” & “R” when I routed those letters. Again, my Scroll Saw Master saved the day.

I used a ¾” router bit & template guide for the first pass. This just fit inside the templates. I had to do three passes with about a ¼” depth each time. Then I shifted to a ¼” bit and template guide to finish off the closer to the template edges. This also gave me pretty crisp low radius corners – no extra carving. And, the corner would take a better painting, too.

The tape didn’t quite get cleanly cut on the letter edges because the bit was right at the limit of its depth. I could have used a knife to trim, but I found a little 120 grit sand paper did a nice job removing the excess. Plus, I didn’t accidently slice into the wood anywhere!

Once I finished off the letters, I coated the inside with a couple good coats of Penetrol as the first layer for the paint to go on. The rest is now up to the customer. I hope he sends the pictures he promised.

First time I’ve done a sign that way. It worked out very nicely. However, the key was the set of templates done by my Scroll Saw Master – Nate Johnson.

The real bonus to doing this project was using my dad’s Porter Cable router (Photo 4) he handed down to me. A couple years before my WWII F6F-5(N) Nightfighter hero passed in 2009 at 86, he sent almost his entire shop to me – hand tools, machines, hand power tools and more. This router has never been overhauled and still works like a charm. I’m not sure how old it is but I think he had it from the late 50’s early sixties.

By the way, I typed this slow for those of you who don’t read so fast – like Rance & Stevinmarin

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

4 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23198 posts in 3586 days

#1 posted 06-04-2012 02:08 AM

Sweet sigh. I wish I had that font for my duplicator. Great job…...................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TRYPHON974's profile


88 posts in 3262 days

#2 posted 06-04-2012 02:59 AM

Nice contrast, a duplicator seems to be a useful tool.

View Woodbutcher3's profile


459 posts in 3367 days

#3 posted 06-04-2012 09:26 AM

Jim – It’s Bookman Old Style Font from Microsoft Word.

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

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 06-07-2012 05:11 PM

Rod, this is impressive work. And it is always nice to work with others on a project. I know you are having problems posting so here it is.

I like how the client took your suggestion to outline the letters. I’ll email you the reduce pic in case you want to replace one of the pics at the top. This will give viewers a bigger view of it.

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

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