How to make wooden signs with a router

Written by caprice castano
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How to make wooden signs with a router
Creating signs with a router involves simply carving the letters or designs into the wood. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Crafting your own personalised wood signs is not something that only professionals can do. In fact, with just a router and a piece of wood, you can craft wood signs for yourself or your friends, or even get really involved and sell them at craft shows. Address signs, humorous signs or nameplates and the like are easily made once you get the feel for using a router to carve letters and numbers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Letter or design template
  • Carbon paper (optional)
  • Safety glasses
  • Router
  • V-groove router bit
  • Grip pad

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  1. 1

    Transfer the letters and sign pattern to your wood. You can draw them freehand or use a template you have printed or purchased, which you can transfer to the wood by tracing over it after placing carbon paper beneath.

  2. 2

    Set your router bit depth. Use a minimal depth, eye the bit and reveal just the tip of the bit below the router plate. It will cut deeper than you think, and you don't want to go through the wood. Try it on a piece of scrap wood and adjust the bit until you get it to the depth you want.

  3. 3

    Place the wood on the grip pad. This will hold the wood in place without clamps while you work, but will still allow you to lift and move the wood easily when you need to adjust it during your work.

  4. 4

    Set the router at the beginning of the first letter. Move in a forward motion, never backward. Push the router slowly and evenly through the wood, tracing the lines with the bit.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice on scrap wood so you get the feel and flow of the router and bit before you begin on your sign. Try different tips once you are proficient --- you can make different types of letters and patterns using speciality tips.
  • Wear safety glasses when working with the router and wood.
  • Turn the router on before you make contact with the wood --- do not set the bit on the wood and then start the router.

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