Routing a Sign #3: Finishing the sign

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Blog entry by ~Julie~ posted 09-27-2012 11:05 PM 2344 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Routing the Horizontal and Vertical Parts Part 3 of Routing a Sign series no next part

I’ve finished the horizontal and vertical portions of the letters and now move on to the straight angled parts. This would include both sides of the V, as well as the A and the leg of the R. These are basically done the same way, by clamping a scrap piece of wood at the offset distance away from the letter being routed. I had to brace underneath my scrap piece to clamp it securely.

The router then rides again along the side of the clamped piece.

Now… the hard part! For the remaining curved parts of the letters, such as the top of the R’s, the B, the bottom of the U and the C and of course the very curvy “&”. You really need to hold tight on the router and try to keep within the drawn lines. As I said in Part 2, it’s not perfect and it helps to practise a bit first! Here are the finished letters:

First I take off the support wood underneath and trim the wood to size. I then give the board a good sanding which can help remove some of the fine bits you sometimes get around the edge of the routed out letters. It also removes any pencil or carbon markings and any small scratches that the router may make while moving across the wood.

I fill the letters with black craft paint, using a fine brush, carefully. Some people spray their whole board and then either sand or plane off the black on the flat parts. I have not had success trying this, perhaps I need a different paint for that?

I did a second coat of black in the letters and checked for places where it wasn’t solid enough. With wood grain, the paint can sometimes soak in in places and leave small gaps in other places.

Once the black paint has dried, I use an exterior wood finish that soaks into the wood. I used “Deftoil” by Deft which is supposed to “Protect Exterior Woods from the Harmful Effects of Rain and Sun.” This product is brushed on liberally and then left for 30 minutes to penetrate into the wood. You then apply a second coat and wipe after another 20 minutes.

Here’s the finished sign:

Please ask if you have any questions, this is meant to help others try out routing a sign so let me know if you make one.

-- ~Julie~

11 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3530 days

#1 posted 09-28-2012 12:18 AM

The Sign came out looking Great Julie, thanks for sharing the process!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2652 days

#2 posted 09-28-2012 12:46 AM

You’ve a very steady hand. You a brain surgeon on the side? Nice work/play!

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3265 days

#3 posted 09-28-2012 01:13 AM

Next time you route a sign, laminated 1/8” thick wood like maple on a 3/4” thick piece of walnut or cherry and you won’t have to paint it.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#4 posted 09-28-2012 01:58 AM

Good blog. I learned a lot here. And your sign turned out great. I like Hal’s suggestion a lot. What a great site this is!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View aselmike's profile


10 posts in 2234 days

#5 posted 09-28-2012 02:01 AM

I like your HF router! I just bought one myself.
Great job!

-- Life is Good

View hjt's profile


850 posts in 3166 days

#6 posted 09-28-2012 02:47 AM

I second that, GFADVIN – this is indeed a great site.

Nice project, kid. you do such nice work. Each time I read your blogs I tell myself… “one day I”m going to ride up to Canada, and work with you for a day or two and learn a bunch. You are one inspiring wood-gal!

-- Harold

View MrHart's profile


46 posts in 2311 days

#7 posted 09-28-2012 02:52 AM

Thanks for taking the time to do this maam, I have a sign to make for x-mas.

-- MrHart

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3062 days

#8 posted 09-28-2012 07:14 PM

Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

Harold – I may have to visit YOU (as a trip to Florida would be great!), although our leaves are changing now and quite beautiful

Next project coming up… making interior pine doors for the workshop.
Haunched mortise and tenon anyone?

Stay tuned!

-- ~Julie~

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3188 days

#9 posted 10-01-2012 03:47 PM

Nicely done Julie. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

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

View hjt's profile


850 posts in 3166 days

#10 posted 10-02-2012 04:16 AM

Pam and I would welcome a visit form you and your hubby.

-- Harold

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3062 days

#11 posted 10-02-2012 12:13 PM

Thanks Harold, very kind of you and Pam!

-- ~Julie~

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