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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I got 3 pictures that look like they are going to show up as attachments. They are a double sided sign, I made for a friend of mine's wife who started her own newpaper. They are not done yet, in these pictures, but the majority of the heavy routing is completed. The borders have to be straighted out and squared up yet and then the sign had to be glued togther and a frame made to wrap around the whole bussiness . I wanted to put these up so you can see what I was talking about, by routing freehand. I used that tracing method I mentioned in an earlier post, to get the image on the wood and then just routed away what I did not want. The letters and the image of the eagle stand about a 1/4 inch up from the backround of the sign. It took a couple of hours to do each side, and I used a 1/4 inch ball nosed solid carbide bit to do the routing near the letters and image and then switched to a larger flat bottomed bit of maybe a 1/2 inch or so diameter so it would clear a larger area, faster.
The last picture is of 2 name plates I made for my barber and his apprentice, It was done using the same method as "the Eagle" sign.
As I said, when you use your router freehand,,, there are no limits to the designs or images you can put on a sign, unlike being tied to a template and have to always make that shape letters.

Well, here goes,,, hope the attachments make the trip.
 

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Terry very nice job on your signs did you do the lettering free handed or did you use a template to trace the letters. Now I have an idea didn't know you could a smaller version router for doing the lettering. I always thought you used it just for trimmg.
 

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Great work, Terry.
I was just going to post a question about getting a new router that I can use to make signs like that. I have a big Hitachi M12V that is too bulky, I think, for free hand type of work. So, need that second router. Can you (and everyone else) please tell me what you use, what to look for in a smaller router that I can use to route signs??
Thanks,
~Julie~
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hahahaha,,, sadly, the ol'vette could use a bit of routing,, but I have not had time to get to it, Randy. It was just the closest thing to the house that I saw to lean the signs against to take the pictures ,,, so it got used.

Glenn, I got the image on the wood by using carbon paper under a sign that my buddy had made at a sign shop, out of vinyl, that you would stick on the side of your truck or wall or what ever. I just laid it on top of the wood slab and put carbon paper under the vinyl sign and outlined the letters and eagle with a pencil. If you look closely at the picture,, you can see the outlines made by the pencil, on the blue letters of the vinyl. So when you take up the vinyl and carbon paper,, you have the outline in dark lines on the wood,,,, and the rest is easy,,,, just rout out what you do not want,,,
I made a blanket chest for a christmas present last year,, and I routed out the scripted letter H on the front side of it. I used the other method of using an Opaque Projector to shoot the image of the "H" on the front pannel of the chest, When you get it to the right size you want, by moving the projector closer or farther away from the chest,, just outline the image you are projecting on the pannel, with a pencil, When you turn off the projector,, you are left with an outline of what ever you were projecting on that pannel. It works fantastic..
And with those small routers,,, they are so easy to hold and contrlol with that larger base plate with the dowels at the edges, you will be amazed at just how much they will actually do. Also, the dowels at the edges,, keep your fingers a LONG way from the cutters, so not much chance of an accident between your fingers and the router bits. And like I said,, if you buy them from Harbor Freight,,, they are so doggone cheap,,, I just buy several of them and just leave the different profile bits in them so I do not have to change them ,, just pick up a different router and carry on with the sign.. But they are noisy little buggers,, so ear muffs are a good idea.
 

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Visteonguy said:
Hahahaha,,, sadly, the ol'vette could use a bit of routing,, but I have not had time to get to it, Randy. It was just the closest thing to the house that I saw to lean the signs against to take the pictures ,,, so it got used.

Glenn, I got the image on the wood by using carbon paper under a sign that my buddy had made at a sign shop, out of vinyl, that you would stick on the side of your truck or wall or what ever. I just laid it on top of the wood slab and put carbon paper under the vinyl sign and outlined the letters and eagle with a pencil. If you look closely at the picture,, you can see the outlines made by the pencil, on the blue letters of the vinyl. So when you take up the vinyl and carbon paper,, you have the outline in dark lines on the wood,,,, and the rest is easy,,,, just rout out what you do not want,,,
I made a blanket chest for a christmas present last year,, and I routed out the scripted letter H on the front side of it. I used the other method of using an Opaque Projector to shoot the image of the "H" on the front pannel of the chest, When you get it to the right size you want, by moving the projector closer or farther away from the chest,, just outline the image you are projecting on the pannel, with a pencil, When you turn off the projector,, you are left with an outline of what ever you were projecting on that pannel. It works fantastic..
And with those small routers,,, they are so easy to hold and contrlol with that larger base plate with the dowels at the edges, you will be amazed at just how much they will actually do. Also, the dowels at the edges,, keep your fingers a LONG way from the cutters, so not much chance of an accident between your fingers and the router bits. And like I said,, if you buy them from Harbor Freight,,, they are so doggone cheap,,, I just buy several of them and just leave the different profile bits in them so I do not have to change them ,, just pick up a different router and carry on with the sign.. But they are noisy little buggers,, so ear muffs are a good idea.


Great Work Sir and no offence meant on the vet. It makes a great back drop for the signs.

Also thanks for the tips and Ideals you have given me and others. I was wondering how I was going to do my sign routing now I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dont worry, Randy,, I took it with the sense of humor it was ment,,,
Try making a simple sign like that and you will be ready to take on the world then in making signs,,, It is Sooooooooo easy once you finnish your first sign you'll have all the confidence ya will ever need then.
I took a few classes at work in the art of wood carving,,, we used Fordom tools,, ( where the electric motor hangs on a stand and the power is transmitted through a cable to the hand peice) It was a fish carving class and I never done that before,,,, once the instructor showed us the secrets to carving,,,, we each amazed ourself with what we produced,,,, the first fish I did was a rain bow trout,,, then we did a blue gill,, and the last one I did was a perch,,, all the fish came out better then I believed I could ever do,,, but you could see the improvments with each fish... I was carrying the last one to the car after the class was over and walked by a guy in the hall way,,,,, he took a look at the fish and was only about 2 feet away from it,,, and ask me,,, " Where did ya catch it"? and he ment it !!! hahahah He would not believe it was a peice of wood !!
I told you this story just to say that I think if you utilized that craft also in these wood signs,,,,, you would make some signs that would not be believed,,,,, like that one I made with the eagle off to the side,,,, if you took the time to carve in the feathers and details of the eyes and beak all in relief...
I bet once you displayed them ,,, you could actually make a good living off those signs,,
 

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Well Terry it's all your fault. Had to find one of them little routers. Yes I found and bought one today. Grizzly's only plunge router had to explain to the loml that it was on sale that will make 6 router's I own now. Thanks good job I'm going to enjoy it. Now she already requesting signs and I don't even have it yet. Has me doing signs that say mine. :D :D :D :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hahahaha,,,,,atta boy Glenn... as long as ya are producin for the little lady,,, she will probalby go along with the new tools,,, just show her how much you are savin by making it your self....

show me your sign when ya get er done,,,
 

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ROFLMAO Terry.

I have always said the only thing I could draw was flies. Now I want to make signs. LOL :D ;)

I had to take a closer look at the large signs to see that you were gluing your boards. It threw me for a minute.

I had bought a Sign Crafter and had problems with it so it went back for a refund and I was trying to figure out what to do next Now that you have posted your pics it has given me a whole new direction to go into. Is your base for the trim router home made? You may have already been asked this question or I missed it. Again thanks for sharing. :D I think HF may get a visit from me I have 4 signs to make now.
 

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Randy I think that is the problem with them sign crafters and other sign templates I had problems because the base and router's were to heavy and the base to bulky. I'm thinking a smaller router will work with them. I also like the way Terry's came out I made a sign just using chisels it's not bad but I would probably get a better sign using Terry's method. I'm going to try it won't be the first piece of wood I threw out.
 

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Glenmore said:
Randy I think that is the problem with them sign crafters and other sign templates I had problems because the base and router's were to heavy and the base to bulky. I'm thinking a smaller router will work with them. I also like the way Terry's came out I made a sign just using chisels it's not bad but I would probably get a better sign using Terry's method. I'm going to try it won't be the first piece of wood I threw out.

LOL Glenmore I have plenty of Scrap I can either glue up and use or for a nice fire this winter. (The wife wants to help me clean up my scrap pile and I told her no thank you I would not have anything left. It drive her crazy when she comes out to the Garage. I have plenty of miscut pieces that I have reused and now that I have the Pallets broke down I can trial for nothing.


Julie I am going to go back on my dislikes and give HF a try on a trim Router Or even a Router. I talked to a friend mine yesterday who buys their Chicago tools and abuses them terribily. He says they are cheap and takes what he gives them. But when he buys them he knows that it is a cheap tool. I asked him if he lives at HF and his wife said just about.

My mom bought a RotoZip she wants me to take and use, so I am going to try it out as soon as I can make a trip to Texas and pick it up.

Do not get me wrong when I can afford a good trim Router I am buying one.
 

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Julie said:
Great work, Terry.
I was just going to post a question about getting a new router that I can use to make signs like that. I have a big Hitachi M12V that is too bulky, I think, for free hand type of work. So, need that second router. Can you (and everyone else) please tell me what you use, what to look for in a smaller router that I can use to route signs??
Thanks,
~Julie~
Hi Julie,

We had some postings on trim routers a while back, see if this gets you going:
www.routerforums.com/showthread.php?t=1104

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Randy, the base I made for the trim routers,,, is just a scrap peice of plexiglass,,, I have a couple of sizes mounted to a couple of small routers.... of course... if ya make larger base plates.. then you can make larger signs,,, its all about how far you can span with the router, still being supported on all sides or at least most sides so it will not tip and gouge into the sign,, which does tend to tick ya off then,, I would not make it any smaller then maybe 9 inches square... and if ya can go larger,, its better,,,
I use a solid carbide 2 flute, ball nose, end mill for the routing close to the letters or image,, and switch to a flat bottom router bit of maybe 3/8's diameter and some times even a 1/2 inch diameter flat bottom bit to clear larger areas that are NOT near the letters or images.. but you have to be careful when you start to use larger diameter bits because they start to get a bit grabby so you have to be on your guard to not let the router get away from you and rip into wood you DO NOT want to remove.
I use ball nose end mills because they have a nice spiral to the flutes and they slice out the wood maybe a bit easier then the straight flutes of regular router bits .. You can find web sites that deal in metal cutting end mills and I think you can buy them quite cheaply compaired to Router bits,,,, especially if you go with just high speed steal mills instead of solid carbide. I have not had to buy these end mills ( 1/4 inch ) ,, because I ,,, ah have a supplier of them,,, hehehe that we will not talk about here,,, hahahah
But I have bought 1/2 inch ball nosed end mills that are a full 1/2 inch diameter the full lenght, and I have stuck them in my larger routers that will accept half inch shank bits.. and they work fine. And they are NOT carbide.... just high speed steel,, and I think I only paid about something like $4 or so each for them,,, new ... but they are made in china or some where... compair them to 1/2 inch shank core box bits,, ( I think they are called,,,in router lingo )... and you have saved quite a bit.
The only draw back to using ball nosed bits are that you are cutting a radius groove,,, so you end up with a lot of going back over and over trying to knock down all the little peaks you are leaving on the bottom of the sign. Thats why I switch to the flat bottom bits because they cut a Flat bottom,,, just make sure its set to EXACTLY the same depth of cut as the ball nose was cutting and they do a great job cleaning up the bottom of the sign.
Harbor Freight is gonna sell some trim routers now I can see that,,, hahahah

I have been taking some air brush classes at work and the instructor recomended buying a 2 stage air brush,,, he told the students that you can buy a particular air brush at a hobby shop down the road,,, a few of them ran out and got the thing at the hobby shop... I looked in the HF.catalog and low and behold,,, there it was,,, same exact one the hobby shop was selling,,
only thing that was different was they paid the hobby shop a shade over a hundred bucks for theirs,, and my credit card was charged,, $42 for mine,,, From HF. As you can tell,,, I love the place...
 

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You can save a lot of money by purchasing solid cabide end mills instead of straight bits. If they can plunge into and cut a straight sided flat bottomed groove in aluminum they will work fine in the hardest of wood. I have used them for many years and have not had any resharpened.

regards

jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One thing that just popped into my mellon,, and it could come in handy for anyone that is going to do the freehand routing,,, Even if you do have a laps of concentration and let the router bite into wood you did not want to remove,, don't be upset too much, because they can be fixed easily,, I will repost this picture so you can see where to look for my repair, I was happily routing away and all of a sudden I realised I took off some wood I did not mean to remove,,, I was half way done with the sign and was sick,,, thought I would either have to toss the sign and start over from scratch, or convince her to change her name. Then I thought oh well,,, got nothing to loose anyway ,,, so I just changed to the flat bottom bit and cleared away half of the letter,,, maybe I should have done the whole letter, but I was not thinking that fast,,, as usual. Anyway all I did was glue another peice of wood on the newly flatened area of the sign and redrew my letter and then routed the wood away again,,,,, it worked beautiful,, except I did not take the time to find a peice of wood with the same shade of wood,,,, but so far nobody has noticed,

But if you look on the bottom sign, and look at the middle of her name, you can see the front side of the letter A is slightly different color,. That is the patch I glued in. If the sign had been painted instead of stained,,, you would never have known about it.

So you see,,, even if you Do screw up,,, you can usually fix it with no problems,, so try it,,, its easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Opps,, I guess ya can only post a picture once per thread,, so I guess if you want to see the patch,, you will have to go back to the first page and look at the bottom of the #1 post,,, sorry.
 

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Terry, nice work on the signs. Especially for freehand. I noticed from your pictures you used pull dowels for handles on your router plate. I wouldn't have thought to use them. I figured you must be a tradesman, so I checked your profile. I know what you mean by your supplier. I also had on, but now am retired. Thanks for all the information on how you do yours, might try one myself. Keep up the good work.

Dave
the "Doctor"
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Dave, Yes those pull dowels work nice but most people would not know what your are talking about and would not have access to them anyway,,, but they were readilyl available and already tapped so they were beggin to be used.
But I would not be afraid to just use wood peices in their place. Congradulations on your retirement,,, I still got about 10 years to go,, but was lucky enough to snag a voluntary lay off for most of this summer :D

I told em I will come back after next week is over,,, being lucky enough to get all this time off gave me a good jump on this room redo I am in the middle of now... biggest wood working project I have done yet,,,.. Any way good luck with your signage,,, you'll have a ball doing it.
 

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Free hand routing

After reading Terry's posts on ball nose end mills & flat bottom bits I started looking at a book in my shop KBC tools & machinery(www.kbctools.com). Talk about choices. At least Terry narrowed it down on what to use/buy. Before I ordered or checked Harbor Freight, I wondered.
Has anyone ever used the dremel with its router attachment for free hand lettering? Dremel does have many high speed cutting bits.
EPC
 
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