Welcome back……Many questions regarding what tools do I use to carve a routed wood sign. Complaints from craftsman regarding not being able to control the router while free hand carving are common. In my first attempts to free hand carve with my router, I discovered that a large router in the 1 1/2 to 2 horsepower range which most of us have seemed to be too heavy and bulky to control easily. I research my problem and found that some successful router carvers were using trim routers, typically 3/4 to 1 horsepower in a much small package. Those routers can often be used with one hand when doing trim work. My search for the best router to carve wood signs with, landed on the newly designed mini router from DeWalt. Model DWP611. This is a compact light weight router that sports a 1 1/2 horsepower motor and to cinch the deal for me….it has LED lighting that shines through the clear base. I love it.
Carving Cedar wood signs takes a high degree of control. This router does not have handles due to the nature of its original design use. I have seen other carvers epoxy handles to the side of this router but I felt that solution still didn’t give enough leverage. So….I designed a new acrylic base 1/4 inch thick over twice as wide as the original base. The acrylic material is available at most big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes. The material cuts easily with woodworking tools with a little sanding of the edges to finish it off. The handles that I designed for my big paws was made from closet poles about 1 3/8 inch in diameter. I now have a much wider handle setup that gives me the control I need when I am carving my Cedar Wood Signs. Give it a try….it’s worth the effort to get the control.
If you already have a trim router, you can create the same kind of base for it. Just take the existing base plate and copy the mounting and bit holes and your good to go.
In the next blog for “How do you do that?”..we are going to look at the router bits that I use for Carving Routed Wood Signs.