All Replies on how do you sign a project?

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View TJ65's profile

how do you sign a project?

by TJ65
posted 02-17-2010 12:14 AM

40 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 12:37 AM

rockler has a branding iron and you can get you name put on it, or you can just use the pyro. tool you have and just do your initials (TJ65) or something small like that so you dont make a mess. I never used the pyro. tools but if it’s anything like a soldering iron i would just go very slow and draw it out first as best as ican with pencil or pen.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4155 days

#2 posted 02-17-2010 12:53 AM

or just use a sharpie marker

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4686 days

#3 posted 02-17-2010 01:47 AM

I use a Sharpie or a woodburning pen to sign my initials and the year as a Roman Numeral, e.g.:
rg mmx

-- 温故知新

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4320 days

#4 posted 02-17-2010 02:13 AM

When my son-in-law took a segmented bowl turning class at the Marc Adams school, someone asked the instructor, noted artist Malcom Tibbets, where they could obtain a “stamp” to identify their work.

Tibbets answer was a sharp rebuke, “Artists sign their work”!

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View RandyMarine's profile


236 posts in 3928 days

#5 posted 02-17-2010 03:57 AM

I have found branding works, but it takes practice and a verywell prepped area.

-- Semper Fi, Randy Sr.

View stefang's profile


16862 posts in 3893 days

#6 posted 02-17-2010 12:18 PM

You can sign your name on a piece of smooth tape or thickish paper, then tape it onto the bottom and trace over it with your woodburner (don’t start a fire!). You might want to practice this on scrap before you do the final. As mentioned above, it’s also great to sign with a permanent ink marker with an appropriate sized point.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3580 days

#7 posted 02-17-2010 01:27 PM

Good information.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 3991 days

#8 posted 02-17-2010 02:15 PM

I just use a $5 woodburner that I got in the bargain aisle at a craft store… put my initials and the year someplace inconspicuous… bottom of something. No 2 initials look alike! Just make sure it is hot enough on the first try.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3627 days

#9 posted 02-17-2010 04:45 PM

I use a Sharpie to initial and date (month & year) a project in an inconspicuous place. I sometimes add some notes about the stain/finish. Hopefully, that would help someone do touchup or refinishing someday.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View createncarve's profile


8 posts in 3580 days

#10 posted 02-17-2010 04:50 PM

I decided to do something a little different….
I found a place that makes wooden business cards. They offer them in a variety of woods and the printing in color.
I came up with a logo (but a signature would work just fine) and had them printed on the business
cards (you could probably get them printed 2-up or even 4-up (2 – 4 logos per card) if you wanted smaller ones.
I made a jig that allows me to remove just enough wood from my project (in an inconspicuous place) and then I glue in the wooden card. You could probably get away with not insetting the card, but I think it makes it look a little better.
I got my cards from:
Great people to work with.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4433 days

#11 posted 02-17-2010 04:53 PM

Here’s another vote for the Sharpie.

-- -- --

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3592 days

#12 posted 02-17-2010 05:29 PM

I’m with them, I just use a Sharpie.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4516 days

#13 posted 02-17-2010 08:37 PM

I want to get a custom logo branding iron myself…..people can just sand a sharpie signature right off..or it could wear off also..


View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 4039 days

#14 posted 02-18-2010 12:19 AM

I use a combination of branding irons and a woodburning pen. I burn the name of my shop and my initials with the branding iron and I use the pen to burn the date. I was watching the late Sam Maloof one day on TV and he had some kind of heated pen and he was signing the bottom of a chair. It looked like it worked really well. If I hadnt saw the smoke coming off the wood, I would have thought it was a ink pen. It almost looked like the tip of a soldering gun. I would like to know what he was using.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3599 days

#15 posted 02-18-2010 12:44 AM

Made my own brand irons(Dowel & coat hanger heated with torch), I also use an alphabet punch set.
In a inconspicuous place, Under a table, inside a cabinet, etc.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4686 days

#16 posted 02-18-2010 12:50 AM

There’s always the bloody thumb print. :)

-- 温故知新

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4547 days

#17 posted 02-18-2010 12:51 AM

I have used a sharpie in the past, but got myself a branding iron.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3633 days

#18 posted 02-18-2010 12:56 AM

I have the Rockler branding iron, but I don’t like it. You have to rock it to get the entire message burnt in and if you don’t rock it just right (which is hard to do) you either under burn or over burn some part of the message. I wish I had got the one that works in a drill press.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 3999 days

#19 posted 02-18-2010 03:01 AM

I prefer to carve my initials in. I actually have paper templates , tape it in place, and score the outline through it.
then carve it in to about 1/8 inch depth. done right it looks sharp.
just always do a practice one first.
the finishing of a project is something to slow down and savor. not rush.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3680 days

#20 posted 02-18-2010 06:06 AM

here is a link to a custom branding iron site. a bit more expensive the Rockler but they do have more options.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View TJ65's profile


1381 posts in 3609 days

#21 posted 02-18-2010 10:40 AM

Thanks heaps guys, It looks as though the Sharpie has it but I might also look into getting a custom made stamp that I can use some day. Those branding irons are a little too expensive for me just for a hobbyist. Especially since I just forked out $2000 to have our cat at the vet and to make it worse they found nothing wrong with him!!

-- Theresa,

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3881 days

#22 posted 02-18-2010 01:30 PM

I just use a cheap woodburning tool I got for like $10 and do like Ellen. I also got a forstner bit that’s specially sized for pennies, from Rockler. Instead of burning in the date, I just glue a penny to the bottom and initial beside it. I’ve also seen where you can get custom logos and names on wooden discs or metal coins, but they are pretty expensive just for us hobbyists.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 4276 days

#23 posted 02-18-2010 02:33 PM

Waterslide decal. Looks professional, not hard to make.

Check out the blog:

-- Have a blessed day!

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3633 days

#24 posted 02-18-2010 03:25 PM

I use one of the torch-heated branding irons, but I saw a fellow woodworker use a technique I don’t believe is mentioned above. In many stores (art supplies, office supply, hobby stores, etc.) you can buy sheets of ‘transfer’ letters in numerous font styles and sizes. This is a ‘wax-paper’ type, letter-size (or a little larger) sheet on which there are alphabets of letters – usually black, although some colors are available. A single sheet costing a few dollars would make many ‘signatures’. Individual letters are transferred onto the surface by rubbing with a ball-pointed stylus. The woodworker who demonstrated this technique had transferred his name directly onto a wood project (I think after a coat of Poly had been applied) – then finished over it with other coats of Poly to protect it. Unfortunately, I’m don’t believe this wouldn’t work with an oil finish – but I mention it as a possibility if you would like to try it on a project with a Poly or other clear finish. If you do, be sure to do a test sample first to make sure the finish doesn’t damage the letters.

-- Dave O.

View DaveMiller's profile


8 posts in 4301 days

#25 posted 02-18-2010 04:05 PM

Peachtree has a full set of coin-sized forstner bits for $24.99. Rockler has them on sale individually for $12.99 each.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4805 days

#26 posted 02-18-2010 04:30 PM

I usually leave a little blood somewhere. Rubs right in makes the wood shine like new. Course too much, like when you lose a finger you’ll have enough for the whole project, just save it in a jar and use bloxygen so it doesn’t congeal. Just kiddin.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Gotwood1962's profile


30 posts in 3578 days

#27 posted 02-19-2010 06:09 AM

I usually use a dremel tool with the small ball nose cutter. With the tool on high its just like using a pen.

-- Gotwood1962, If sawdust were valuable... I'd be a millionaire

View DonJ's profile


251 posts in 4086 days

#28 posted 02-20-2010 03:34 AM

I use the Sharpie as well; however, I sign the bottom of the piece before the final coat is put on. The final coat protects it a little more (perhaps).

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

View MarkBWV's profile


7 posts in 3586 days

#29 posted 02-20-2010 11:00 PM

What about no signature, letting your work itself be the signature. We had a full time pottery studio for a while and customers use to always bawk that the work was not signed. I would always reply, my name is all over that piece.


View russv's profile


262 posts in 3728 days

#30 posted 02-20-2010 11:45 PM

so could someone else claim it as theirs. as cold as it sounds, it happens. that’s why some who pay, want to know for sure.

you can glue a specially designed business card and put several layers of poly or shellac over it.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View MarkBWV's profile


7 posts in 3586 days

#31 posted 02-21-2010 12:01 AM

I guess its kind of an esoteric thing. If someone wants to steal it whats it matter? Its still yours. I dont want to start a tiff, but the signature is there for pretty petty reasons. One is to stroke the buyer in that it lets them feel they are buying something a little less commercial and more artsy or hand crafted. The other is ownership/ego stroke for the maker.

Many makers over the years have opted not, and in fact often times refused, to sign their work. I personally dont sign my work and never have. I would much rather strive to get to a point where people say “that looks like a MarkBWV piece”. Usually, low and behold, it will be.

There will always be imitators, thieves, and those who learn through copying. Its like the old line chef’s often use,... A good chef will always give away the recipe, because just putting the ingredients together doesn’t make the dish.


View SST's profile


790 posts in 4754 days

#32 posted 02-21-2010 12:49 AM

I use a forstner bit to drill a shallow hole 1 1/4” to inset a brass medallion that I had lettered w/
Handcrafted for & and then my name at the bottom. The whole thing including the lettering was about $9 from a local Awards & trophy store. It’s kind of visible on my last project on the side of the lower cabinet.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Ed's profile


19 posts in 3671 days

#33 posted 02-21-2010 02:06 AM

I make small labels on my computer using a word processor. I print them on parchment paper, coat them with shellac, then glue them to the project using CA glue.

The sharpie sounds alot easier and would allow you to write your signature! I just returned a branding iron, because it doesn’t give you many characters and I couldn’t quite master the technique.


-- Ed

View douglbe's profile


372 posts in 4520 days

#34 posted 02-21-2010 02:29 AM

My vote is on the Sharpie, I use initials and year. Depending on who the piece is for, I sometimes sign my name.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3727 days

#35 posted 02-21-2010 02:55 AM

I just orderd a rubber stamp, I will get a branding iron one of these days but with my current budget I still want to be able to apply my companys logo to a project, hopefully the rubber stamp will be good enough for now.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3728 days

#36 posted 02-21-2010 05:13 PM

no tiff intended, but i do it because that is what the client wants. clients feel better, like autographing a book. if they care, so should i. sounds like ego when a client asks it to be signed and the artist won’t. i think that leaves the opinion he (or she) must think he is so good (his work) he doesn’t have to give out his signature. how does the little boy feel when the ball player refuses to sign his own fly ball? anyway, to, signing your work is about the customer, refusing to sign seems to me to be about the artist.

a painter signs his paintings with his paint brushes. i sign all my unique items with a woodburning tool (tools of the trade) (signature and date) and the items that i mass produce, i just brand or stick a business card somewhere. a rubber stamp is a good idea. i kind of got away from my branding iron. it doesn’t work as well as i thought it wood (would lol).

so did daniel boone sign his log cabins with his axe, or did they have sharpies back then? lol
does anyone remeber the junk brothers program>, they had special medalions made up for all their projects.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View TJ65's profile


1381 posts in 3609 days

#37 posted 02-22-2010 10:25 AM

I agree with you russv, as I am proud that I have produced someting whether it be a painting, paper crafts or wood work that I think is good enough to show my name. If it’s not good the project probably goes on the scrap heap or I have to put up with it. – Then I don’t want to see my name on it at all, as it’s just a reminder just how bad I did it.

Well the reason I started this thread was so I could give a box to a neighbour with some sort ofmark on it to say that I actually did make it for him out of the wood that he gave me. I decided to use the sharpie (we just have a permanent ink marker with a fine tip) and just have a fancy letter ‘T’ (that I went searching on the net for) with a couple of flowers and the date. It took a bit of practice perfecting it but I think it comes up pretty well.

-- Theresa,

View MarkBWV's profile


7 posts in 3586 days

#38 posted 02-23-2010 01:59 AM

TJ, Russ,
I dont want to sound like I am poo poo’ing anyone who signs their work. While I understand Russ’ point fully that NOT signing your work could easily be seen as snotty, I think i look at it from a different perspective.

While I know many high falootin (sp), well educated artists over the years have refused to sign their work trying to show a false sense of modesty, I think the intent is still the same. When we made pottery I would often say that I wanted my pots to die a good death. In the sink, on the floor, out on the front porch having coffee. That is to say that even though my work was highly decorative its main focus was function. As makers we have no say as to how the work lives its life, on a shelf, or in use, but none the less it is still part of the making process.

I guess I have just always looked at it as a way of de-elevating work so to speak. Most people who pay, what they feel to be, a lot of money (compared to Wal-Mart) for a hand crafted piece tend to treat it as something precious. For my work this has be contrary to why the item was made.

Of course in todays world, everything is signed. Someone would be aghast to find a vehicle driving down the road without the makers name and logo all over it. Everything is signed, swiffers, lemon pledge, on and on. This also keys into what I was saying about worrying about someone stealing it and passing it off as theirs. Today, at least in the US (know TJ is from down under), we focus on ownership down to the gene level. Its getting a bit ridiculous.

Personally, I have always felt like the chef’s statement I mentioned. Go a head and steal the recipe, in fact, I will give it to you. Because I have already moved on to the next dish. The thief is always chasing the innovator. Its like music, I can easily play a song after the hard work has been done. The notes and chords are simple. This is because the song writer did the hard work. No matter how many times play a song, I will never be the song writer. There are of course all the copyright issues with songs but I guess it just speaks to my point a bit.


View bob101's profile


335 posts in 4009 days

#39 posted 02-23-2010 06:11 PM

a sharpy and a branding iron from lee valley (160.00)

-- rob, ont,canada

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3680 days

#40 posted 02-24-2010 07:16 AM

I forget about getting something for this yrs shows before this post. i’m glad you posted this thread TJ65. i got the flame brand from the link I posted. seems he used to advertise on here. $50 for a standard flame. cheaper then Rockler or Woodcraft. His electric are a bit more then the stores.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

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