Routing a Sign - Part 1 - Setting up the design

I make a lot of hand painted signs, but now and then I do a routed sign.  They take much longer to complete, but they are just as creative and fun.

Someone who saw me at a craft show contacted me to make her a routed sign, so I photographed the process.

The finished sign looks like this:

Now I'll explain how the process goes

Valerie wanted a basic sign to hang outside that was 18" long.  I chose cedar because of it's ability to last outdoors and I cut a piece of 1" thick cedar from a deck board.  I left it a few inches longer than the finished sign would be to allow me to have extra room for routing (you'll see this later)

I chose to use a basic, straight font without serifs.  This font is Calibri and I blew up the size on my computer so that the letters would fit on the 18" board and then printed it out on my printer.

I taped the paper together, taped it onto the board and put carbon paper under the letters:

Then I traced the outline of the letters with a pencil and the carbon paper transfers that onto the wood quite clearly:

Here are all the letters finished and ready for routing:

For routing, the board has to remain solidly in place otherwise the torque of the router can move the wood.  Often I clamp down the wood to a worktable but usually the clamps are in the way of the router and have to be moved.  This time I screwed a scrap piece of wood to the bottom of the sign.  The screws are in the waste area at each end of the sign (remember I left it long for this reason) and the sign will be trimmed after the routing is finished, removing the screw holes.

After turning the side right side up, I put it on my husband's work table which has an opening that can be adjusted by turning the knobs on the front. (Please don't look too closely at the table, it's not pretty, but it serves a purpose)  The table closes in on the scrap wood I put on the back and this way the sign is firmly on the table without any clamps in the way.

Now we are ready to route out the letters, so tomorrow I will post on setting up the router and starting the routing.  Please see Part 2 for that information.

Sharing at the following blog parties:
Beyond the Picket Fence                            My Repurposed Life
Brambleberry Cottage                                Homespun Happenings
aka design                                                  Jennifer Rizzo
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