How to Make a Custom Sign – Carving using a woodworking router

Learn how to make a custom wooden sign using a woodworking router without using a cnc machine.

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In looking for a supply of beeswax to make some food-safe finishes I met with a beekeeper who needed a custom sign made. We made a deal and I set to work on the sign.

I carved out material on a maple board using a woodworking router, filled the recess with paint, and then cleaned up the surface of the board. The project is fairly straightforward and would be an easy one for newer woodworkers.

The tools needed are a saw, a router, and a sander.

Materials needed are carbon paper to transfer the design onto wood, paint to fill the recesses, and any wood finish.

Tools and Materials

Bosch 1617EVS router :
Spiral Upcut Bit Set :
¼” Spiral Upcut Bit :
Router Bit Set w/ edging bits:

Dewalt DW745 Tablesaw :

Random Orbit Sander :

Carbon Paper :

For more info about this project –

20 Comments

  1. Looks good…

  2. +Wacky Wood Works Thanks for watching. I was very happy with the result.

    -Todd

  3. Bram the Wadesmill woodturner

    Hi Todd, Great job ! Thanks for sharing.Cheers  Bram

  4. Thanks Bram. It is a great way to make a sign if you ever need one.

    -Todd

  5. Willmore's World Of Wood

    Looks good Todd, I made my first sign video about 3 months ago. Keep up the good work.

    Also have a look at Dave Rhoten’s channel as he has made loads of signs.

  6. +Willmore’s World Thanks so much, your sign turned out great looking as well. Thanks for the head’s up on Dave’s channel. I’m sure I’ll have a couple more signs in my future.

    -Todd

  7. Hey Todd I like this method a lot! Going to have to use it. I just started making videos as well. I look forward to seeing more!

  8. +Make It Mazzeo The technique works really well. The only change I would make to the process would be to possibly apply a sanding sealer to fill the pores of the wood before routing. That would make it a little easier when sanding off the excess paint as it wouldn’t be quite as deep.

    Thanks for watching, I would like to see your signs when you are done. Send a photo if you make any.

    -Todd

  9. Awesome I’ll definitely keep that in mind and try it! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  10. Good looking sign and that’s a good amount of wax!

  11. +Kaged Creations Thanks – It was a fun project and I like the technique. And yes, that is a lot of wax! Thanks for watching.
    -Todd

  12. the beeswax link is not there

  13. +Csaba Farkas It took me longer than expected to actually get a chance to melt down the wax and make my finish. I melted it down into smaller blocks and then blended them with mineral oil. (4 parts mineral oil, 1 part wax)

    Linn has a couple fantastic videos at the Darbin Orvar channel in regards to melting beeswax for woodworking. Here is a good one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVOVT6yMK1s

    I’ll let you know when my wax video is done. Alternatively you’ll also see it if you subscribe. I’ve got 3 videos in the queue ahead of it at the moment.

    Thanks for watching and the comment.
    -Todd

  14. Hi Todd – save yourself a couple of steps – lay the paper out on your wood tape it all around with scotch tape. Then you can use a palm sander like a Dewalt 611 palm router. Use either a 45 deg V bit or a 90 deg V bit. Now that the paper is in place, just rout thru the paper. I make signs and do it this way and it works really fast. Burt BTW good job.

  15. +Burt G Thanks for the tips. I’ve got another sign build coming up soon. I was thinking of just using spray adhesive, but I might just try this method instead. What wood do you normally use?

    Thanks for watching.
    -Todd

  16. i meant to say use a dewalt palm router not sander

  17. Nice vid. Have you seen the YouTube channel “Dave Rhoten”? (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN_0Eik8rgJVLsSTqawYMFg)
    They have been making wood signs for (i think) over 40 yrs. They have a lot of GREAT tutorials and tips on what wood to use, what spray ink or primer to use (not paint) and they even sell they’re own sign making bits. I bought 3 (60deg,90deg and the “profile” bit) and they are amazing. They are a father/son team, really nice and wiling to answer any and all questions, if you have any after watching the hundreds of how-to vids.
    Anyway, that was a great swap, a sign for that bees wax. Nicely done!

  18. After I finished the sign project I found them and got a ton of tips! I have done one sign since then and it was a lot easier with more knowledge. Surprising how many ways there are to make signs. Thanks for watching!
    -Todd

  19. lovely video, i like your style!

  20. Hi Todd – sorry I didnt get back to you sooner. I used cedar fence boards and pine. I also used a dark gel stain leaving a fair amt of stain in the letters and then I seal all this with Helmsman Urethane High Gloss or Satin finish.

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