"Production" lettering

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Forum topic by JoeMurphy posted 10-02-2013 04:11 PM 1393 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 2075 days

10-02-2013 04:11 PM

I am building a bunch of toy swords for a school fundraiser. I have a custom taper jig and a jig for the drill press that lets me knock out more than 20 of these in an hour.

These are for Catholic school and I wanted to letter them to look like this;

I am wondering about a good way to do this quickly, neatly and consistently. Hand lettering will be too time consuming and stenciling will be messy. Any ideas would be appreciated….

10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 10-02-2013 04:29 PM

Seems like you could use heat transfer paper and do a reverse on the printing so when you iron it on it will be facing the right way.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View greatview's profile


133 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 10-02-2013 04:32 PM

If you’ve got an ink jet printer get some iron on T-shirt paper. Print the lettering on the transfer paper and iron away. Look on Google and you’ll see this used on wood. You’ll have to reverse print but that’s not difficult. Again, check Google. The paper is available from many sources Staples, Amazon, even Walmart.

-- Tom, New London, NH

View TheDane's profile


5550 posts in 3864 days

#3 posted 10-02-2013 04:33 PM

I have printed stuff in reverse on a laser printer, put the printed side face down on the wood, then used lacquer thinner or acetone to transfer the toner. This will not work with an ink jet, but if you have a laser you should be good to go. Avoid the temptation to soak the paper.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11064 posts in 3630 days

#4 posted 10-02-2013 04:35 PM

Joe, there are several methods to transfer lettering and other designs to wood. Most involve printing the lettering out backwards by printing the original on clear plastic sheeting and then copying it upside down, resulting in a transfer ready sheet. There are differing methods depending on whether your copier is ink jet or laser.
A search on Youtube will get you a bunch of videos of either process.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View DS's profile


3033 posts in 2622 days

#5 posted 10-02-2013 04:38 PM

The fastest, easiest way I can think of is to hire a cnc laser engraver to engrave these letters onto the swords. It should be relatively inexpensive to run.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View JoeMurphy's profile


22 posts in 2075 days

#6 posted 10-02-2013 04:49 PM

Thanks all. The t-shirt transfers sound prefect. I would love to do the laser engraving but these need to be inexpensive to make as I am donating the labor and material and making dozens of them. Gerry, I have tried the method you describe to mask for solvent etching brass and it needed a good deal of touch up work where the toner did not transfer. I wounder if it works better on wood because it is porous and more textured. It would be worth a shot on a scrap any way since yours is by far the cheapest method.

View cjacplay's profile


4 posts in 1938 days

#7 posted 10-02-2013 05:27 PM

have them cut in good quality vinyl and just apply it lasts a long time

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2581 days

#8 posted 10-02-2013 06:13 PM

Screenprinting them would be fast but you’d first need the ability to screenprint.

-- Rick M,

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2275 days

#9 posted 10-02-2013 09:35 PM

A stencil is not a bad way to go. have a stencil cut and use a rubber inking roller to roll the ink onto the surface. quite like the silk screening but without the silk screen and instead of squeegeeing the ink you roll it on.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3123 days

#10 posted 10-03-2013 01:05 AM

I would do this with a decoupage method. Print out the lettering on tissue paper (taped to printer paper) put down a coat of lacquer and when it is dry lay on the printed tissue paper and brush on lacquer thinner. Add a few coats of lacquer and the tissue paper virtually disappears leaving the lettering (or image). I have done this a lot. Here is a photo of one example:

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

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