Making Wood Signs With a Router

You don't need a cnc to carve a sign. I carved this out using a handheld router. I painted the interior of the sign and sanded off the excess.

My friend wanted me to make a carved wooden sign for her place. The process was a lot easier this time around as it wasn't my first rodeo. I wanted to share some of the additional tricks that made this sign easier to put together.

The primary tools used for this project includes a router with plunge base and table mount, random orbit sander, and a tablesaw to trim down the board.

Let me know in the comments any sign making tips or tricks that you like.

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Tools Used:

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 :


  1. Looks good !
    I have to make something like that for my Workshop someday👍

  2. I’m thinking I might have to do a workshop one as well soon. Let me know if you do end up making one, I would love to see how it turns out.

  3. +Wood Frontier When I get around to making one I’ll probably gonna make a Video of it !

  4. Very nicely done sign.

  5. Great project and video! How did you package it to ship 2000 miles?

  6. Nice video Mr Frontier. Finally got around watching it. I like the sad trombone sound lol.

  7. Thanks for watching Mr. Fork. I think more people need to use that sound effect.

  8. Thanks for watching. The packaging is basically a foam insert on both sides and wrapped up. No need for a crate or large box.

  9. Thanks. =)

  10. Wait – you routed that FREE-HANDED? If I tried that, it would look like CRAP! Free-Handed?

  11. You made that looks so easy. Do you think using a trim router would have the same results?

  12. Thanks for the question Gerrit, someone on my other sign video commented that they use a smaller trim router for smaller patterns. I think it would work out fine when covering smaller areas and I would stick to softer wood types. One thing I like about the full size one is the weight. It has enough weight to it doesn’t move around on it’s own.

    I would recommend trying out a design on a smaller piece of scrap first. Let me know how it goes!


  13. The weight of the router itself helps to keep things steady. Give it a shot!

  14. Thanks Todd. I will try it out.

  15. great design. what was the clear oil you used? Danish oil? lovely finish

  16. That was a wipe on polyurethane finish. It dries rather quickly so you can add more coats sooner. You can use polyurethane thinned down 50% with mineral spirits for the same effect. Thanks for watching.

  17. you sir totally made my day with the carbon transfer paper tip, thanks a lot
    just runnin to the stationer’s shop and get millionaire hahaha

  18. Hello Wood Frontier, and thank you for your kind message on my channel. Great video you’ve made here, and what a great sign also. I like the way you explain your work and both the audio quality and the calm voice you’ve got. I guess it’s better to record the speech in post production :)… I might try that too… And i’ll leave out the 8 second guitar sample that I’ve looped in my video, which banned the sound of the entire 20 minute video 😀

  19. I want to ask how did you printed these letters that it fits in your wood. I have problem with that.. Can you please explain it to me..?

  20. I created the lyrics in a giant photoshop document and then printed off each segment. You could probably make a banner in Word and do the same thing. Another possible solution would be to use a projector and trace it directly on the wood.

  21. Wood Frontier yes I made a sign on Corel Xara, but o vonder would it print in the same size I need. But probably I will use projector 🙂 thank you very much 🙂

  22. Great tutorial video. What size font did you use?

  23. Know What Mom Knows

    Hey Todd, wow, I have NOT Seen anybody do this….the way YOU Did this…I liked your way allot. I have a hand held dremel….I am learning how to use it…..I can do similure things that you can, but I think that you had way more control…did you use a plunge router? I liked your transfer method with the carbon paper 🙂 From my Channel to YOUR Channel, I hope you have the Best Day EVER!!!! LIKED AND SHARED!!!

    Shelly Cole
    MOM 🙂

  24. Know What Mom Knows you can CLEARLY SEE he’s using a plunge router.

  25. Know What Mom Knows

    +J bear Thanks J bear….Where I live, we have many kinds of routers, but I personally do not own one ….I was guessing on what type I thought he had….Thanks for confirming my thought on the topic. Just starting out this last year myself in woodworking and I have much to learn. Thanks for your comment J bear!!

  26. The router that I am using (Bosch 1617) has both a fixed base and a plunge base. The majority of the time I am using the plunge router base going into material. The fixed base is used primarily for edging. I have the fixed base attached at the underside of a workbench for doing an edge profile (See 2:14 of the video). Swapping between bases is super simple with this router.

  27. Know What Mom Knows

    I super appreciate this information!! My Husband Does have a Fixed base router…connected to his table saw….and yes, someday we will buy a plunge router….I appreciate your time getting back to me I am trying to learn all of this, I have been in woodworking for a year already, and yet I have TONS More to learn….lol..that is OK…My interest is high in this craft. Thanks again!!! Have a Beautiful Day 😉

  28. do you think this would be feasible on a smaller scale using my dremel and it’s routing bit along with a router cover that keep it at the same level? or would I run into some unforseen issues

  29. Good question. You might be able to pull it off if you are using a softer wood and had a nice and slow feed rate. One of the issues you might run into is in regards to the diameter of the router bit shank. In a router you typically have a 1/2″ or a 1/4″ wide shank on the bit. Whenever possible it’s better to use the larger size. Off the top of my head, I believe the standard dremmel is 1/8″. I don’t know if the bit would be rigid enough for an entire sign. I just bought a dremmel router bit, so I’ll try it out and let you know.

  30. +Wood Frontier ok kool 😀 thanks for the feedback

  31. Fantastic woodwork bro! happy to be one of your followers.

  32. Great Job! Very creative. I’m new to routing but I am going to give this a try.

  33. Thanks, Appreciate it.

  34. Cool – Would love to see your results.

  35. Cool! Hey, try using poly on the sign before painting the letters It’ll sand off and you won’t need to mask it. I used to make hand carved signs for gifts and the lettering in relief was always painted in contrast to the rest of the sign. It was a pain to mask everything out and I’d always mess up somewhere and have some paint where I didn’t want it. A guy told me to lay a coat of poly in the letters and a couple inches outside around the lettering (general finishes gel poly is what I was handed along with this tip). Then, paint the letters and don’t worry about going outside the lines. Once the paint is dry, sand the sign and the poly will sand right off with the 120 or 150 grit sandpaper. There is an added benefit that since they poly will seal the wood, you will use less enamel since it won’t absorb into the wood pores, but just sit on top of the poly. This results in less enamel being used, and can save a bunch of money since my paint costs significantly more than the urethane!

  36. I use a light duty spray adhesive to attach the paper to the wood then just router out the sign and then tear off as much paper as you can and sand the rest away. The adhesive does not affect any stains or coatings you put on after. Saves a ton of time verses the carbon paper way!

  37. Background noise is irritating.

  38. Hey hi, what drill bit did you use or router bit? How did you do the the parts. Just bought me hand held router and I’m about to dabble with it 🙂

  39. Cool video thanks.

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