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What kind of wood for routing signs

This is a discussion on What kind of wood for routing signs within the Sign Making forums, part of the General Routing category; What kind of wood is the best to work with for a beginning sign maker? ...


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Old 07-31-2007, 11:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What kind of wood for routing signs
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What kind of wood is the best to work with for a beginning sign maker? I need to figure out what wood I can use that isn't gonna give a bunch of grief & is pretty commonly available @ a local Lowe's or Home Depot. I will be using a template for recessed routing on boards approx 5' long.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As a rule pine will be the cheapest, but the best choice would be cedar. Fewer knots, a soft wood that routs easily, still low in cost. It doesn't get much better than that.
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanx for the suggestionon the type of wood. Also ~~ when i route recessed letters what is a good way to sand & smooth the recess. I have tried it manually w/ sandpaper but that will take forever. There has to be a better way - different bit? any tool for smoothing out the recess? Any suggestions? thanx
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am guessing you are making free hand letters and not using a lettering jig? Your best bet would be to do your clean out with a dish cutting bit if possible. They make these in a 5/8" diameter and they will provide a clean level surface.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanx for the response Mike. I am using a lettering jig to do recessed letter and seem to get some "burring" when going against the grain. I have found it very time consuming to try to smooth these out by hand with sandpaper. any suggestions?
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To deburr the bottom of routed in letters or the edges of raised letters use a 100 to 120 grit diamond bit in a Dremel.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Pine is prone to leaving hairy burrs. Western red cedar and redwood are usually good choices but the wide grain, second growth is harder to carve freehand than old growth and is also prone to burrs but not as bad as pine. Old growth, with tight grain is harder to find and expensive. I try to stay away from old growth because I don't want to contribute to the logging of the last few remaining old growth forests. I used to use old growth redwood extensively for freehand signs. It's a dream to route.
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Old 10-07-2009, 03:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One technique I have used to get rid of the hairy burrss when routing recessed letters into pine was to run it through a planer afterwards set for a very shallow cut. In my case I wanted the recessed letters painted a single color with the surface wood left natural (clear finish), so I used spraypaint to cover the letter area after routing, without concern for getting pain on the top. Then, when I ran the sign through my planer it got rid of the burrs and paint on the top in one stroke, leaving only the letters (including sidewalls) nicely painted. A spray-coat of poly over the finished product and it was ready to weather the Alaskan winter.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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From what I'm gathering from my research, redwood is really pricey.
I'd be curious to know the bd ft cost of redwood? I plan on starting out with approximately 2 x 3 foot signs.

I read that less costly wood that are good for signs is red cedar and cypress?

I'll be doing the first few sigs non-gratis and hope to avoid a 2nd mortgage when buying wood.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timberwolf21 View Post
From what I'm gathering from my research, redwood is really pricey.
I'd be curious to know the bd ft cost of redwood? I plan on starting out with approximately 2 x 3 foot signs.

I read that less costly wood that are good for signs is red cedar and cypress?

I'll be doing the first few sigs non-gratis and hope to avoid a 2nd mortgage when buying wood.
For sign making, watch the big box adds for 1x6x6 cedar fence boards; sometimes they are a lot less than 1" thick, but that's ok too.
I recently prices some redwood 2x4's, beautiful stuff, but $3.12 a FOOT.
Not much left at my local lumber yard; they said when its gone they probably won't be able to get any more. I remember in the '70's they used to get it by the RR car !! In those days at the local fairs the sign makers had a boatload of 1x6 and 1x8 etc. making signs while you wait !! I've put a little away for carving special trinkets for very special friends. Get it while you can, its like the price of gas, not coming down in your lifetime.
Happy sawdusting !
S
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