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Vertical letters for making signs

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Forum topic by nate22 posted 09-21-2020 05:40 PM 529 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nate22

499 posts in 3761 days


09-21-2020 05:40 PM

I am wondering if there is any company that makes vertical letters for sign making? I make signs that I use a router to make the words. Right now I make the words to we’re there horizontal but I want to start making them vertical but can’t find the templates that do vertical. Do any of you guys know if any company makes them. Thanks in advance for any help with it.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.


18 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#1 posted 09-21-2020 07:28 PM

Nate – it may be time to let go of the templates and go totally freehand.
granted – there is a learning curve. but with the right router and bits,
it can be done and look just as good as the ones using templates.
using the same species of wood with similar grain in the beginning can
keep the frustration level down quite a bit.

please expand on what you want to do vertical:
and maybe a sketch, drawing or photo of similar projects.
and also ~ what templates are you using now ?

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#2 posted 09-21-2020 09:55 PM

with a little digging, all I can see is the MILESCRAFT SIGNPRO KIT for about $80.
but, you are limited to about two sizes.
Infinity Tools says they have a video, but I couldn’t find it on their website.
from what I see of the Milescraft SignPro on YouTube, only the numbers can be routed vertical.
we would still like to know what you will be doing vertical and how often in what material.
knowing what template kit you are using now, you might be able to make a jig for the plastic templates
to hold them vertical with a couple of small screws. but this is pretty labor intensive and cumbersome
if you need to do a lot of vertical work on different size materials.
so – back to the learning of freehand routing !!

.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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nate22

499 posts in 3761 days


#3 posted 09-22-2020 10:18 AM

Thanks for the advice. Right now I am using the Milescraft sign kit which has worked well for me but I seen to we’re they only make the numbers to go vertical. Lot of or most of them I am making out of cedar because majority of the signs I make are for outside. Here is a picture of one that I routed out.

Instead of putting it horizontal I would like to put it going down (vertical) on the board. And then I will make a stake for it to be put outside or make it to where it can be hung up. I plan on making a lot of signs like this with different sayings so it’s not just a couple.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

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John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#4 posted 09-22-2020 11:47 AM

thanks for the update – you gotta watch those routed signs !!
I started out just like you. I had a Marlin 1:1 pantograph and was turning out
some pretty good work. albeit they all looked the same.
then, I developed my freehand skills and 15 years later, I had a fully staffed
sign shop with six employees.
but, luckily for me, I was in an area that wanted wood signs and I could deliver.
so if this is something you really want to perfect your skills in, you need to
get away from the templates and practice. you can make vertical sign patterns
on paper with your computer and printer ~ then freehand the routing.
many good videos on YouTube on how to do that.
practice practice practice and you will get there.
all the best,
John

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25346 posts in 3991 days


#5 posted 09-22-2020 12:44 PM

Hi Nate, John is right on hand carving signs. the sky it the limit horizontal or vertical. here is a video I watched many times and I’m about to get into into it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV8RFKwXuMc&t=17s

Then you’ll be free of templates and can make any font you can print!
Cheers, Jim

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

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John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#6 posted 09-22-2020 02:41 PM

Jim – I am still working on the modified router like the one shown in that video.
I had white porcelain drawer knobs on it but after a few minutes they became slippery
and I didn’t like the feel of them.
I got some rubber stoppers, epoxied a wood dowel in them to make a snug fit
and afixed them to the plexi base. much, much better to control !!!!!!!!!!
this afternoon, I will make a vertical sign to demonstrate how it works. (hopefully).
my hand routering is a little rusty now – but I think I can pull it off with this new router.

before – with the porcelain knobs:

after – with the rubber stopper handles

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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nate22

499 posts in 3761 days


#7 posted 09-22-2020 07:20 PM

Thanks John and Jim. I think that’s how I will do it. I did watch that video you attached Jim. It was helpful. My next question is for the bits what kind should I use? And can I use any kind of router? When I say any I mean like a plunge router or not a plunge router.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#8 posted 09-22-2020 08:53 PM

I started routing signs way before the CNC and plunge routers were popular.
so it is a personal choice of what you are comfortable with (and your budget).
and – just how far do you want to take your sign making “hobby”.
I made this quick sample this afternoon in soft white pine
I will make a project post maybe tomorrow as there are many photos of the process.
I used the spray glue of a paper pattern to the board, like all the videos on YouTube.
the type style is Comic Sans MS ~ just to demonstrate that you are not limited to any font.

this is the book that got me started in all this stuff.

although it is a vintage book, it offers some very good advice on router control,
design and fabrication of wood signs. there are many other books available for cheap – just google it.
it is available on Ebay for less than $5. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Making-Wood-Signs-by-Patrick-Spielman/193455212224?epid=994903&hash=item2d0ad446c0:g:iNcAAOSwadpZeHlm

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Skatergirl46's profile

Skatergirl46

21 posts in 1483 days


#9 posted 09-23-2020 12:51 AM

You can buy wood letters of different sizes at Michael’s craft store. Have you seen the videos on You tube by Dave Rhoten? He lays the letters on the wood and then sprays around them with black primer, then shakes the letters off of the wood and routs them out.

-- I'm happiest when I have wheels on my feet or sawdust in my hair.

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

359 posts in 2360 days


#10 posted 09-23-2020 11:36 AM

I assume that you are not using a CNC router to do these, yes?

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#11 posted 09-23-2020 12:08 PM

that is correct – the signs are being used by hand-held tools only – no CNC involved at all.
for me, I am “Old School” and would like to keep at least some kind of craftsmanship in
our culture before machines such as CNC and those plastic 3D printers just take over all together.

looking at your past posts, I see that you have a CNC and that is what you do.
but, for this thread, CNC is not even considered.. it is strictly by hand-held tools.

John

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

359 posts in 2360 days


#12 posted 09-23-2020 03:43 PM

I meant no offence. I asked only because the question is posed in the CNC forum.

Just an FYI, but I “do” much more than CNC. In fact, my recent acquisition of a hobby CNC was merely to augment my other work.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#13 posted 09-23-2020 04:39 PM

no offense taken:
just an odd question when all the talk in the thread is about hand-held routers
and templates used in hand-routed signs.
this is the beginning steps before “some” craftsmen move up to the CNC.
I am also a member of Router Forums where signs are made using both machine options.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3154 posts in 3830 days


#14 posted 09-23-2020 04:53 PM

I’m with John (though nowhere near the expertise his posts show him as having). Freehand is easy to pick up. Just go slow.

I found a bigger router is better. The weight of a 1-1/2 hp PC, Dewalt or what have you was far easier to control than a trim router.

I like John’s base design too. I extended mine, but his would make peeking at the cuts far easier.

On a side note, many of my signs were cut through types using my handheld jig saw.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2735 posts in 1049 days


#15 posted 09-23-2020 05:14 PM

once you get REALLY good at freehand work,
you can register yourself (woodworking company name preferred)
with local government facilities to make signs for State and National Parks.
larger signs are soooooooooo much easier to work with !!!! (with a 3hp router).
and the hand-router guy will get the big jobs because the CNC shop guys
say – - – ohhhhh I can’t make that, it won’t fit into my CNC machine.

and then, work on your hand carving and painting skills to make it all come together.
like – making carved redwood look like an old stone tablet.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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