How Do I Do That Vol 3

Hello again from dougswoodsigns.com….Now that you have a router picked out to do your free hand carving, it’s time to look at the router bits I use to create the various fonts and art work that I use on my custom wooden signs. I have been surprised to find that some carvers only use one or two bits. A local carver told me once that all his work is done with a straight cut bit. His work is nice, for sure. What caught my attention was the limited amount of variation that could be produced with only one router bit carving a handcrafted wood sign.
When I first started carving, another carver suggested that I start with four router bits. A 60 degree 3 flute bit for incised lettering (cut inmate the wood), a 90 degree 3 flute bit for background clean out, a 15 degree 2 flute (the tip is modified by hand) for outlining raised letters and a chamfering bit for dressing edges in either straight cuts or scalloping.

Later on we discovered that using an eleven degree profile bit with a sharp point gave us the subtle fine lines to enhance art work of our custom wooden signs.. We added straight bits in 3/16 and 1/8 to clean out the bottom letters that were not large enough for texturing. Texturing is done with the 90 degree bit. We also added a key hole bit for creating slots on the back of the routed wood signs to facilitate hanging.

Notice that all these router bits are 1/4 inch shaft and except for the chamfer bit, none of the cutters are wider than the 1/4 inch shaft. This makes it easier to see your work as you are carving. All these router bits come from a few different manufacturers. If you are interested in getting that information, contact me at doug @dougswoodsigns.com or through the website.

Probably the most important thing I can say about carving custom made wood signs, if you don’t keep the router bits sharp, your success at carving a great cedar sign will be hampered. We use a pocket version of a diamond sharping stone. I sharpen by honing the router bits about every 20-30 minutes of carving. If your bits aren’t sharp, they tend to tear at the wood rather than slicing it.

In future postings, I will show how easy it is to keep your bits sharp.