How to Cut Wooden Letters

Written by shae hazelton
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Cutting wood letters can be challenging. The intricate shapes of different letters are difficult to replicate, but this activity provides an opportunity to advance woodworking skills. When the task is accomplished, the letters can be used for decorative signs and other projects that help display your skills. As with any woodworking project, you need to use caution and good sense when you cut the wood. One mistake could result in a very serious injury.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stencil
  • Wood
  • Pencil
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Drill
  • Scroll saw
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • 120-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Purchase a stencil that is the correct letter font and text size you desire. Purchase a plastic stencil if possible because it is sturdier than paper-based stencils.

  2. 2

    Center the stencil over the top of a wood square (the square must be large enough to accommodate the stencil letter and two inches thick). Grasp a pencil in your primary writing hand and brace the stencil to the wood using the other. Lightly draw the letter onto the square of wood, keeping the pencil line against the walls of the stencil.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole through the empty area inside letters such as "P" and "R." This gives the blade of the saw an entry point on the inside of the letter.

  4. 4

    Set the block of wood on the table of a scroll saw. Unfasten the blade of the scroll saw and move the block of wood under the vacant area the saw leaves. Poke the blade through the drill-hole (if you have one) and refasten the saw in place.

  5. 5

    Start the scroll saw and feed the wood into the moving blade. Stop moving the wood when you reach the pencil outline. Drag the wood, guiding the saw along the stencil line until you finish cutting the inside section of the letter.

  6. 6

    Unfasten the scroll saw blade and pull the piece of wood away. Pop out the section letter and refasten the blade in the chuck of the scroll saw. Place the block of wood near the saw so the outer edge of the block sits near the blade.

  7. 7

    Start the saw and feed the wood into the moving saw blade slowly. Cut through the wood until you reach the edge of the letter outline. Rotate the block if necessary and push the wood to run the blade along the letter outline until you reach the original cut.

  8. 8

    Turn off the saw and pull the wood off the blade. Grasp the edges of the wood and pop the wooden letter out of the block using your thumbs.

  9. 9

    Sand the rough edges of the letter using 60-grit sandpaper. This will smooth out the boxy edges left by the saw. Once the edges are smoother, sand the letter using 120-grit sandpaper to create a silky smooth texture around the edges of the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear safety goggles and protective gloves anytime you operate the saw.
  • Keep your hands clear of the saw blade at all times.
  • Tie your hair back if it reaches past your shoulders so that it does not catch in the saw blade.

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