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Friday, May 11, 2012

Here's Your Sign

I have wanted for some time now to make some wooden signs, 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 occurred 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?
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.

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