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Hi, I'm making a jewelry/music box for my daughter. I was planning on making a template to rout our her initial into the top of the box, but wanted to use the font in her wedding invitations. I was going to make a template out of 1/4" hardboard, but in trying to lay it out I don't think it will work, too much play. There is no way I could do it freehand. Any suggestions or how to make a template? Maybe 3 templates for the different sections of the letter?
Help! I'm stuck.
Thanks !!!
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make a few practice runs "free-hand" on similar material and you will have a personally engraved initial. (and yes, you CAN do it). What kind of router do you have ?
 

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Welcome to the forum, Belowe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's what I was planning on doing, but when drawing out the template it looks like in the areas where the lines are close together there will be no guide for the bushing to run along.
make a few practice runs "free-hand" on similar material and you will have a personally engraved initial. (and yes, you CAN do it). What kind of router do you have ?
It's a Porter Cable plunge.
 

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Hi, I'm making a jewelry/music box for my daughter. I was planning on making a template to rout our her initial into the top of the box, but wanted to use the font in her wedding invitations. I was going to make a template out of 1/4" hardboard, but in trying to lay it out I don't think it will work, too much play. There is no way I could do it freehand. Any suggestions or how to make a template? Maybe 3 templates for the different sections of the letter?
Help! I'm stuck.
Thanks !!! View attachment 400837
Welcome Belowe,

Have you considered a much smaller hand held palm router? Bosch Pony with VS is much easier to use free hand then such a big router on a small surface. My other suggestion is to get someone with laser and give them the signature and have them laser you out a template that you can follow for a guide. You can use a micro guide bushing and bit and get what you need? Not sure how small they are available but I'm sure someone can add to that?
 
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What is the font used in the wedding invitations? What size bit and what size collar do you want to use?
 

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Hi, I agree you can do it freehand. We used to have a member here who had a small sign business who did hers freehand. Practice and a small, manageable router is what's required. She used some sort of oil to transfer a reversed printout of the lettering, then used a compact plunge router to limit the depth of cut. You want a double handled plunge base that will limit your depth to just a few mm. You must move it steadily, and you need to practice, practice, practice.

An alternative would be to carve it using a scoop shaped carving tool. It's a one off item, so again, practice using the same material.

I happen to have a Veritas router plane that has an inlay kit. You would scribe the letter shape you transferred to the wood. It has a double blade scribe tool. Then you could use a narrow plane blade to hollow out the lettering. It would give you a flat bottom letter. If you masked the wood, then scribed it, you could paint the letter in, or lay in gold or silver leaf using a smooth stick to rub it into place. Here's a picture of the plane and inlay kit. You could do something similar using an exacto knife to scribe the lettering.

Third picture is of the Veritas miniature router plane, cheaper, but equally precise. The key is that your scribe cuts must be as close as you can to the depth of the plane's cutter, otherwise you'll get tearout. The Veritas mini comes with a 1/8th inch cutter, the knockoff I found was half the price, but only had 1/4 inch wide cutter. Too wide for lettering.

Lots of ways to skin this cat, Welcome to the world of "Honey, I need another tool to do this."

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It's very likely I'm missing something obvious, but if you can play with the font on your computer, I'd try printing a boldface (fat) version of the character, which hopefully would be wide enough to fit a guide bushing. Otherwise, you'd need to carefully draw a bushing-wide character by hand. Paste the character onto a piece of 1/4" hardboard, and use a scroll or coping saw to cut around the outline to create your template. Alternatively, forego the router, and use a wood carving v gouge to make the cuts by hand. Whatever, I'd practice diligently on scrap wood before committing to that beautiful top. Looking forward to seeing the final product. Good luck!
 

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I just checked the Veritas miniature router plane, which is made for inlay. Inlay requires cutting a flat bottomed groove precisely the depth of the thickness of the letter. The mini plane has a 1/8th wide cutter and will do exactly what you want to do. You just need to use an exacto knife to cut the outside edges of the font, then use the plane to delicately clear out the the letter. I think the idea of using a full size router for this one off project is not going to work out well without lots of practice runs. I think hand cutting is by far your best bet, and the mini plane is just $43 here:https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/sho...4-veritas-miniature-router-plane?item=05P8201.

Lie-Nielsen also
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makes a simpler and really easy to use mini router plane, which is about $95. The plane is more rigid than the Veritas. Small Router Plane - Open Throat

Here's a video that may be helpful.
 

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Hi, I'm making a jewelry/music box for my daughter. I was planning on making a template to rout our her initial into the top of the box, but wanted to use the font in her wedding invitations. I was going to make a template out of 1/4" hardboard, but in trying to lay it out I don't think it will work, too much play. There is no way I could do it freehand. Any suggestions or how to make a template? Maybe 3 templates for the different sections of the letter?
Help! I'm stuck.
Thanks !!! View attachment 400837
Mr. Harrysin has a pdf with a job exactly than yours. He uses a skie set with a trimmer router to make very delicate letters on boxes tops.
 

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By far the easiest solution is to find someone with a laser cutter. That way you can go directly from your WORD font to the laser cutter. Where I live, our local library has a laser cutter for free use. In addition, there are several Makerspaces nearby that have laser cutters. You can also contact your local woodworkers club and find someone that might let you use their machine.
 

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I've been thinking that a 3-D printer could be useful for this kind of thing. If you have a friend with one you could try making a square template with this letter as a hole in the middle. It doesn't need to be solid plastic; with ribbing ("infill") it could be reinforced to resist distortion as you move a Dremel or other small tool around inside the letter shape.
 

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It's a Porter Cable plunge.
Just a suggestion. If it is for a jewellery box the Porter Cable router would seem to me a little too large for the task. Have you considered e.g. a Dremel with it own small router attachment. I have a very large family of grandchildren and great grand children that I am always making something for. this is the reason I use the Dremel for very small tasks. The Dremel or similar tools you will find a very useful for many tasks that are awkward for the lager tools. Hope this may help.
 
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