How to Make Router Wood Signs

Updated February 21, 2017

Crafting a personalised wooden sign for your home or business is great fun. With an electric router and a selection of attractive bits, you can create a professional-looking sign without much trouble. These signs can be used as advertising, address marking or home decor.

Start with a piece of scrap paper and a pencil when crafting a wooden sign with a router. Use a ruler to draw one or two straight, horizontal lines across the page where you intend the words or numbers to go. Also find the centre of the paper vertically and mark that with a line. Determine the central letter or number in what you wish to write and put it on the centre line. Fill in the characters on either side, making sure they are evenly spaced. You now have a basic template for your router wood signs.

Cut a piece of good-quality wooden board to the dimensions you want your router sign to be. A 1-inch-thick board is ideal for making wooden signs. Choose the router bit to use for the outside edge of the sign. A roundover bit will make a smooth, rounded edge. An ogee router bit will make a fancier, S-curve edging. There are many types of router bits to choose from that will make various edge designs on your board.

Attach your desired edging router bit to your electric router and plug it in. Clamp the wooden board to a work table so it does not shift when you are using the router. Position the machine on one straight edge of the board and turn the router on. Work slowly and smoothly around the entire wooden board, making sure the router is positioned correctly to take off the same amount of wood on all sides. Turn the router off before setting it aside.

Lay a piece of carbon paper over the wooden board, and then put the paper pattern for your sign on top of that. Carefully trace around the letters or numbers you have written with a hard-pointed object. The wrong end of a pen or even a pencil is ideal for using the carbon paper transfer method effectively. If desired, use letter or number stencils to get a neater look.

Clamp the wooden sign back to the table securely. Change the bit in the router to a small size cove bit or a straight tip. Both of these will create a small depression in the wooden sign. Turn the router back on and begin to trace the letters or numbers you have transcribed on the wooden sign. Work slowly and carefully, turning off the router before lifting it from the wooden board. This will help prevent damage to letter edges.

Remove the wooden router sign board from the clamps and dust it off. Use a fine- or medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the edges. Be careful not to affect the shape of the carved edge with excessive sanding. Once the sign is smooth, you can stain or paint it according to your personal tastes. Signs intended for outdoor use should be sealed against weather damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden board
  • Router with bits
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Picture hooks with hardware
  • Clamps
  • Carbon paper
  • Scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
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