freehand router work

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Blog entry by Monte Pittman posted 04-02-2013 03:04 AM 3218 reads 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

To go with the poker table is a custom bar. Engraved on the front. Thought I would share my misery with you.

To start;

I print it out and cut it out one letter at a time and spray with Marsh ink

Hopefully it looks like the picture when you’re done. Then I use the Bosch Colt compact router with a 1/8” bit to cut the outline.

Then I switch to a 1/4” bit to clean out the letters.

Then I get to play graffiti artist and spray ink in the letters. Now is where the patience is required. It’s tempting to sand it offin a hurry. Don’t do it. Give it plenty of time to dry so you don’t have sawdust sticking to wet ink. Before I sandi spray it with shellac.

For the finished product, check out tomorrow’s post. :-)

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

16 comments so far

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 2076 days

#1 posted 04-02-2013 03:07 AM

Here is a MUCH easier way to get that font on the workpiece!

I freehanded some lettering once with a router. Notice you have never seen my post of it! I butchered mine. Good job on yours!

-- Jay -

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 04-02-2013 03:17 AM

Looking good so far Monte….Anxious to see the finished sign…

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#3 posted 04-02-2013 03:24 AM

I started with the Milescraft letter templates. I quickly decided that it was nice, but limited. I am sure that there are easier ways to do it, for now this is mine. Ever trying to learn.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 04-02-2013 04:29 AM

Should I hold my breath?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2004 days

#5 posted 04-02-2013 10:33 AM

So far, so good. You doing bar stools to go with the set?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#6 posted 04-02-2013 10:35 AM

No stools. They said they had their own.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 04-02-2013 12:04 PM

Just another idea on using the laser print transfer:

Laser prints are really toner printers and the toner is a wax based material colored in a number of colors.

Design your label in either B&W or color, make it a mirror image as demonstrated by Jay and take it to your favorite copy center if you have no laser printer. Color laser prints are more expensive, but can be very pretty, indeed.

Because the toner is basically a heat activated material it will also transfer by heat, not just by solvent. Place the toner print face down on a very smooth surface and iron it with a household iron. The design will transfer nicely. If you want to stay with the transferred imprint spray it lightly with a clear finish.
If you wish to rout the design, make it just an outline image.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#8 posted 04-02-2013 12:12 PM

I will definitely try that. I like both ideas for ink jet and laser printers.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3076 days

#9 posted 04-02-2013 01:18 PM

Looks like you’re just having way too much fun for one person, Monte! :-}

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2688 days

#10 posted 04-03-2013 02:03 AM

Monte- This is my favorite of everything you have posted!!! Waaaay cool!!!

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

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3149 days

#11 posted 04-04-2013 02:30 PM

Pretty cool.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View helluvawreck's profile


31071 posts in 2864 days

#12 posted 04-04-2013 04:14 PM

Another thing that you might want to try, Monte, is sandblasting. You can get sandblasting mat material that sticks to the wood and use a knife to cut through the mat material to make your letter templates. We use to make hundreds of country plaques this way. The sand just bounces off the mat material and doesn’t cut the wood.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3932 days

#13 posted 04-04-2013 04:38 PM

Monte, The Laser Printing is how I am doing my game boards. It works great. Let me know if you have any questions about it, I keep tweeking it everytime I do it.
Nice looking job on the bar with that and the Poker table in that room it is quite a place to hang out I am sure.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2510 days

#14 posted 04-18-2013 09:56 AM

Nice demo Monte and congrats on making the Lumber Jocks monthly emag.

I viewed Jay’s video on labeling projects with signature, (as for as signing your work) though I think I have even a much simpler and easier method to signing projects, my method is using a wood burner and signing the bottom of all my projects, I’m not saying this would work for what Monte is doing though.

Colwood, wood burner much faster then the printing method and works great also no need in coming back over with a spray lacquer, simply purchase from a local hobby store very small stencils of the size and font you are looking for pencil them onto the project and burn, myself I’m pretty good and freehand so I just freehand burn my signature.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View trolleyman's profile


5 posts in 1894 days

#15 posted 04-18-2013 06:42 PM

I had to repair a big sign for the Seashore Trolley Museum by replacing the board with the word SEASHORE in a slanted, script font.

I used a plotter to print the word full size and then traced the outline of each letter onto the board using graphite paper. Freehand routing did the rest.

The key for me was slow, smooth movement of the router and tons of light illuminating the surface of the board. And since I had to bury my head close to the router to see the outline, good hearing protection was an absolute must.

My letters were about 8” tall so I could use a bowl shapped bit to give me rounded sides and flat bottoms for all the letters which had no sharp tails or serifs. Stencils are great for some things but you cannot get that many fonts and sizes without going broke.

If only I had one of those new shop-bots! Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

-- Paul, MA - Experience is what you get just after you needed it!

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