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Here's Your Sign - William's Wood Shop

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Project by William posted 05-11-2012 11:56 PM 2289 views 1 time favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have wanted for some time now to make some wooden sign, starting with a sign for my shop.
I checked into the router template methods, like the Milescraft Sign Pro, but none of them offered letters that I felt were large enough for outside signs that are meant to be seen from the street.
I built a pantograph with the intention of making templates to create signs. The pantograph works great, but as I started trying to gather everything I needed to make the templates for them, I came to the realization that, holy crap, that’s a lot of templates if you want various letter size and styles.
So I sat down online doing some reading up on how other’s create these large signs successfully. For the most part, what I learned was that most people at least claimed to draw out their letters and route them freehand. I thought there was no way. Now, I at the time was thinking of my large Ridgid two horse router that I have felt numerous times what happens with that kind of size and power if you hit a knot or grain change while not using a guide or template. So I really couldn’t see how doing these sign freehand could work safely.
Then I decided to back up to square one and reconsider something that had not occured to me. The large two horse router is meant to have that kind of torque and power. However, the palm router that I’d gotten for the pantograph was meant to be used in your hands smoothly. Maybe it would run smoothly enough to do these signs by hand. What did I have to lose?

This is the router I used to cut the sign in the photos above. As long as you make sure to keep a grip on it at all times, it cuts plenty smoothly enough to cut freehand. The only issues I ran into was chip control. Before I got through the first letter I shut the router off, pointed a fan on me to keep some of the chips blowing away from me, and put on an apron and respirator. This little one horse palm router is capable of throwing some chips.

Here’s the bits I have tried so far.
The bottom one is a solid carbide eighth inch straight bit. It cuts the wood like a knife through hot butter, but gets clogged up pretty easy.
The top bit is an upward spiral bit. It cuts great, not as good as the carbide straight bit, but it keeps the chips flying up out of the cuts instead of clogging things up. Also I noticed the spiral bit does not burns as easy as the other one when stopping quickly to change directions.
I still want to experiment with some other bits, but for now, I think the upward spiral bit is the best I have for sign making.

If any of you have a palm router and have thought of making some signs. Draw out some letters and give it a try. It’s much easier than you may think it is.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/





39 comments so far

View eddie's profile

eddie

7325 posts in 1271 days


#1 posted 05-12-2012 12:04 AM

William the sign looks great, sounds like the present those kids gave you was right on time .to solve that priblem

WILLIAMS WOOD SHOP

got a good sound to it .great job my friend

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7015 posts in 1961 days


#2 posted 05-12-2012 12:05 AM

ok william, give me a break here, you might be able to draw out letters like that, which i must say look pretty darn good, but me…draw letters that look that good…....hahaha….....ill let you draw the letters and ship them to me…lol…....you did a fantastic job here, great sign, now watch all the business come flooding in, you will be taking the sign back down….serious…..folks see your work and you will be flooded…....grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2587 posts in 1675 days


#3 posted 05-12-2012 12:10 AM

Nice looking sign! Needs some curleycues around the edges! ;-)

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View patron's profile

patron

13034 posts in 1998 days


#4 posted 05-12-2012 12:15 AM

great first william

and you are right about the templates
small is about all you get
and in one style

with this
the sky is open

great sign

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1499 days


#5 posted 05-12-2012 12:16 AM

Thank you all very much.

As for drawing the letter, I forgot to mention. I did not draw those freehand. I downloaded a font off the internet. Then I enlarged it till the letters were six inches tall, the size I wanted. I printed off the whole alphabet (in case I want to use them again). I then used carbon paper to trace them onto the wood.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View JL7's profile

JL7

7204 posts in 1622 days


#6 posted 05-12-2012 12:20 AM

Very cool William…..gotta try this one…...

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7015 posts in 1961 days


#7 posted 05-12-2012 12:27 AM

well you still did a great job, it takes a bit to sit there and rout all that out, ive done it many times, really hard on my back to sit there and do it, thats why i dont do more inlay work, but man you nailed it i think,,,

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10889 posts in 1347 days


#8 posted 05-12-2012 12:35 AM

Great job on the sign. I had no idea that you could freehand that accurately. Now, I need a trim router. Maybe I could trade some boxes for one!

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

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1499 days


#9 posted 05-12-2012 12:44 AM

Thank you JL7. Give it a try. I thought it would be hard, but it isn’t. It is time consuming.

Grizz,
You mentioned it being hard on your back. That is actually the reason I done this sign yesterday. I was down in my back. I made my wood over sized so I could screw it down right on the edge of my high work table. Then I sat in my wheel chair and done the routing. I was able to sit comfortably enough. If anyone else does it this way though, be sure to wear those safety glasses. This put that spinning bit withint inches of my face at times.

gfadvm,
I had no idea I could cut lines free hand that straight either, but with the right palm router, it’s as easy as drawing with an overized pencil.
You can see in the photos that I used a Ridgid palm router. I tried the Bosch Colt for just this purpose in testing and wound up carrying it back and getting another Ridgid. There were several problems with the Colt that would have made it completely unacceptable for this operation. I’m not trying to put the Colt down. It just wouldn’t have worked for me.
I really like this Ridgid model. It is one horsepower. It’s lightweight. Once you lock down the base, it stays put. It has a clear base plate so you can see what you’re doing. The LED light also helps the visibility. I really like it. It was on sale at Home Depot a couple of weeks ago for $89.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1497 days


#10 posted 05-12-2012 01:44 AM

Holy Cow that is a hum dinger of a sign. William great job. As I told you earlier today and Grizz has said it to. It will bring the wood work in. You need to get a plan together.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10889 posts in 1347 days


#11 posted 05-12-2012 01:58 AM

Thanks William. I have narrowed my choiced to a DeWalt or a Ridgid. I like my other Ridgid tools and shop vac but it appears the DeWalt has gotten better reviews here. Anyone tried both???

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

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1499 days


#12 posted 05-12-2012 01:58 AM

As I told you on the text message machine thing-a-ma-jig, I don’t know, but I can hope. I take that as a compliment though, so thank you very much.

The letters are six inch. The sign is eight inches tall and five foot nine long.
Sorry, I forgot to give the measurements before.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1497 days


#13 posted 05-12-2012 02:27 AM

Ahhh its as big as your head;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1499 days


#14 posted 05-12-2012 02:36 AM

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)

DIYaholic

13575 posts in 1332 days


#15 posted 05-12-2012 03:19 AM

William,
The sign looks great! However, you made one HUGE mistake, you spelled “RANDY’S” totally wrong!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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