Dirty Little Secrets with Sign Making... - Router Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Default Dirty Little Secrets with Sign Making...

Just for the heck of it, I thought it would be interesting to list our DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS with Sign Making. Here's our list (after 3 years experience):

1. Price...we are lucky to get $20 for a 6"x20" sign around here. It's an economic thing and most people are careful with their spending in our area of the country.

2. The Overarm Pin Router turned out NOT to be the machine for sign making. It was too difficult to get straight lines while holding onto the lumber. Plunging the bit with the foot pedal is great but we can do a better job with a hand held palm router. We will probably use the OPR for hogging out the background instead of trying to do the delicate lettering.

3. Using Marsh spray cans for painting the letters black works great. However, we've gummed up so many sheets of sandpaper trying to get the over-spray off the surface of the sign. We now use Acrylic paint and a brush to detail the black inside each letter cavity. Less sanding.

4. If you are not careful, the black color will bleed when trying to hand rub a poly coat or oil coat into your finished wood sign.

5. Then there are those router bits. Straight, V and round nose all have their place in sign making. However, figuring that out has been a process.

6. Which wood? Around here, people don't have an appreciation for exotic wood and won't pay for it. So...we use Pine. Plain ole crappy #2 pine and cutting around the knots.

7. Templates: We make ours and that has to be figured out too. After deciding on some shape to make into a template, it must be cut and finished before using it as your master template. We have learned much from this process. (Templates for the board shape, not letters.)

8. We can take any shape and font from Adobe Illustrator and print it out then iron it onto wood (we use laser printers). However, can you cut out those shapes and fonts? Some fonts lend themselves to sign making while others are not going to work well. We find ourselves using ARIAL ROUNDED BOLD mostly for inset letters and some fat font for outset lettering. Also, proper spacing between letters is a process that we had to learn the hard way.

9. Make $40k Making Signs? IMHO, that could be done with 3 or 4 employees making signs with a few distributors to sell for you.

Finally...We have made many things in our wood shop that were easier. Even nice wood cabinets were more straight forward and less taxing. IMHO, sign making has details throughout the process that can be challenging. In short, we have been humbled by the entire scenario of making a simple wood sign.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 10:57 AM
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#3 Try using wrought iron flat black spray paint it worls well. Then instead of wasting sandpaper use a Stanley Surform finishing tool with a fine blade to clean off the excess paint.
#5 Use whatever bit that suits you. In my shop the lettering determines the bit I use.
#6 Most signs used outdoors are made oc Cedar.
#7 Templates??? I never use them for signs.

That's just my .02 worth.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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John, thanks for the idea using razer blades to scrape off the excess paint. It worked well today. Had not thought of that...easy fix.

Can you explain further your comment that the lettering determines the bit you use?
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 01:50 PM
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Well, if I'm doing Old Englisg I use a V bit set shallow. If I'm doing Modern I use a 1/8" straight bit set about 1/8" deep. For script I use a round bit. And so on.

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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 04:50 PM
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I just got into this sign carving, and opened up a whole can opf worms for me. I made a post in another segiment of this subject, on what I have learned so far & worked for me. But would wonder where in all of the segiments could I ask for a answer into this subject? Seems to be rather segimented, running in all kinds of directions ~~~~Hand Sign carving.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by argoknot View Post
Well, if I'm doing Old Englisg I use a V bit set shallow. If I'm doing Modern I use a 1/8" straight bit set about 1/8" deep. For script I use a round bit. And so on.
John, thanks. However, are you doing INSET lettering with those bits? What bits are you using for OUTSET lettering?

( Also, I found out why I was gumming up the sandpaper...Not letting the ink dry properly!)
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I just got into this sign carving, and opened up a whole can opf worms for me. I made a post in another segiment of this subject, on what I have learned so far & worked for me. But would wonder where in all of the segiments could I ask for a answer into this subject? Seems to be rather segimented, running in all kinds of directions ~~~~Hand Sign carving.
Yes, there are two SIGN MAKING sub forums which can be confusing. One is for the CNC Routing bunch. The other is here, under General Routing. We had to figure that out too. The real confusion can come from a GOOGLE SEARCH, which can direct your query to one of the two sign making sub forums. (Does that make sense?)

Maybe the forum administrators could look at confusion and combine the two. However, I can see why they have them separated into two...one for CNC and the other for GENERAL.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 06:17 AM
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I use the V and round for inset and sometimes a small straight bit. On the raised lettering I use only straight bits. I also wanted to mention that I use mostly Cedar for my signs.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Live it to it's fullest.

Making sawdust by the sea in Massachusetts
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 02:38 PM
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Hi guy's thanks for taking the time for your returns,
I had made a rather lengthy post over somewhere here as to how I arrived ,after destroying several cedar practice boards (GURRRRR), at making inset lettering on to an arch. This system also took in answering several post that some had . with some kind'a of guide & the importance of letter spacing,,,,,,anyway this system that I worked out ,worked great for me.

Ok here is a couple of problems that plague me not, persistently !!!!!
When I am using a down cut 1/8" bit to carve out a inset figure, then in painting the inset there is a tearing of the minute fibers on the very top part at the very edges (both sides) of this figure. That when a paint/ink is applied it naturally also sinks into these minute torn edges. I might say these torn edges run the length of the cut/s. Now trying to sand down using a belt or a random orbit sanders to a level where they disappear does not enhance that signs appearance any, and in fact ruin's it !!!! So has any one had to deal with something similar ????

Have you veterans here found that ink is a better removable coloring that say a latex paint, even givin the paint more that a day to dry. I am ruining sand belts at a very fast pace ? As seen on the web's video's, several show applying a even coat clear across the board including the fancy cut edging.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 05:05 PM
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I was not very prescise in making my question.

The sign makers on line, paint there whole board from one end to another. thus also covering the inset letters more concise than trying to paint the inside of the "V" one letter at a time.

I let my paint dry for 24 hours, still I went threw the belt,,,,zoom !!!

Have you had the same problem as in my first paragraph above ??
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