I think I want to make a sign. - Router Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Default I think I want to make a sign.

And, no I am not interested in making one painted, carved, or routed; if so I would not have posted. Instead I am interested in making a sign with burnt letters. Not with a wood burning tool, wouldn't have posed if that were so either.

What I want to do is burn the letters in with a small torch. Been googling on homemsde stencils suitable for this, with little luck. Results are either using a wood burning tool, which I ruled out immediately; or custom aluminum stencils. One user of the aluminum stencil reported that it immediately warped, didn't say how much he was out. as a result. One Instructable did use duct tape, but the results were not quite what I am after, but may try it if I can't find a more satisfactory way.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Use...orch-to-make-/

I'm not looking to make multiples signs, so not looking to spend much on this. Possibly 3 signs, at the most, but more likely just one, so a one-time use stencil is what I am looking for. Google has let me down so far, so figured I'd check in with the horde before I started exspeerminting.

Has anyone here done this before? Successfully? If so, how did you make your stencil? And just how well did it work? Or am I planning on treading on unexplored territory?

I have 24 fonts to go thru and choose which I want on a sign, so in no major rush.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
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Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.

Last edited by JOAT; 10-02-2018 at 02:01 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 02:40 AM
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having just looked at that instructable..... good grief! there must be 4 days work on that. Not to mention a 1000 dollars worth of equipment. And it looks just the same as a dremel burr groove filled with black paint.

Oh, thats my suggestion by the way.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
having just looked at that instructable..... good grief! there must be 4 days work on that. Not to mention a 1000 dollars worth of equipment. And it looks just the same as a dremel burr groove filled with black paint.

Oh, thats my suggestion by the way.
I'm sure there is a simple solution (read free or little cost), but seems like no one is even considering that. I am certain I can come up with a workable solution. I am also certain it will be more than the $5-10 range, so don't want to do a lot of experimenting if I can help it, but gonna do a lot of homework before that happens. And I don't much care for the Instructable end result.

Hmm, just hit me. Paint the open spaces of a stencil with something flammable, like tar, set that on fire and let it burn down. Think that would be a last ditch effort, and definately an outdoor thing.
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"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.

Last edited by JOAT; 10-02-2018 at 04:08 AM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 09:43 AM
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Couldn't you print-out the sign, transfer the image to the wood using carbon paper then go around the outline with a sharp pointed flame then use a larger flame between the outlines instead of a router.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 10:26 AM
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Sounds like a lot of trouble to me.

You might try aluminum tape. Burnish it down then cut the letters out and lightly torch the bare wood with a small torch. I say lightly meaning try to keep from heating the tape too much until the letters are burned. Also your painting with flammable material might work as long as it does not soak in and bleed. They might also work together. The size of the lettering might also have a lot to do with results, I think larger would be easier.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 11:41 AM
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+1 for the aluminum tape and a pinpoint flame. I'd keep a small water sprayer on hand and make quick, gradual passes instead of holding the flame in one spot til it burns. Kind of the slow toaster approach.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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I think I have it figured out. It hit me last night, car exhaust manifold spray paint. Good for 1300 degrees F to 2000 F. A hair under $10 a can, available at auto parts stores, and comes in clear also.

I figure cover the wood with duct tape (I've got duct tape), or painters tape (don't got), print out my stencil and lightly glue to the tape, to keep it from shifting. Then a coat or three of clear exhaust paint. Cut out the letters. Then use a small butane torch, rather than a propane torch - should be a lot more control with the small torch. Swiping the edges multiple times should work, then can concentrate on burning the centers of the letters. When done, peel the tape, and the rest should come off with no problem. If the duct tape doesn't remove well, can retest with painter tape. Depending on how well the tape comes off, may, or may not hit it lightly with a sander, or sandpaper. When I get it all down pat, finish will likely be several coats of thinned Titebond II.

This paint comes in black, which would mean extra work laying out the design on it. Aluminum, which should work, by tracing the stencil on it using carbon paper. And clear, which should be easiest, and fastest, to work with. Don't know if more colors are available nor not, likely, but once I found it comes in clear, stopped looking. Now need to decide which font to use - only have 24 to decide from.

Forgot to mention, the fonts I am considering are a bit complex and ornate, which is why I need a stencil. I want all the lines nice and clean. Otherwise I would just lay on the design on the wood, and freehand it, using a small butane torch; which should look good, but not quite the look I want - but, will try the freehand approach first, the fine tip flame may just work out. I already have a butane torch - and can't find it, so will be buying one of those. Depending on how the trial of this goes, may have some small pieces of thin metal to hold along the layout lines, to get the clean edges I want.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.

Last edited by JOAT; 10-02-2018 at 02:30 PM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 05:51 PM
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I for one will enjoy seeing the results.

Just thinking a bit more, would it be possible to use clay to coat the areas you don't want to burn? Use it thinned and add multiple layers. And I wonder if the letters will easily chip out, even with a finish over them. It is, after all, a weak, damaged layer on surface of the wood.

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