I do have some bowls in process to share before long, but some photos from a couple recent lettering projects first. I find myself adapting my tools and techniques according to the wood and the size and style of the lettering. I learn something from every new opportunity.
The top photo shows part of a large butternut board that will be framed in walnut by a cabinet maker for a sizeable display case for an electric train collection. Actually, there will be two display cases as you can see from the two full-view photos below. I was provided with some general guidelines such as including the logos/symbols and what the text should say. Beyond that, I was given the freedom to explore.
The boards were 50″ x 7″. To allow for the frame, the letters ended up at about 4 inches high. So this was not a lap-and-penknife project. The L logo represents Lionel.
The Steelmark logo goes back long before the Pittsburgh Steelers adapted and adopted it.
After much thought and sketching in various sizes, eventually it’s on to the board. I can really burn through an eraser, but time spent in this stage is important for a project like this. Got to calm that itchy carving finger.
I should mention that before the drawing took place, I put a final surface on the face of the board with a finely-set hand plane. I could have sanded the surface, but it’s nice to avoid the grit that remains embedded in the wood, waiting to dull the edges of carving tools.
It’s convenient to have access to the board from either side. My workbench is attached to the wall, so I gave myself full access by holding the board cantilevered beyond the workbench, held firmly with holdfasts. You can also see in the photo the main tools used. A couple v-tools on the right to excavate much of the bulk, and a couple knives. The larger knife to the top left is reground from a Garrett Wade marking knife I’ve had around for years. The three successive shots in the slideshow below show me using it to pare a side of the stem of the letter T.
In some areas, gouges are a help. A penknife blade is still handy, even in letters this large for tidying….
and for tighter curves like these numbers.
Similar techniques were used for this sign done a few weeks ago, except the overall style is a little more loose and the surface of the board was textured with a gouge before carving the lettering. The photo is a little blurry on the left side, but you can see the texture more clearly on the right. This is my second go with the same William Morris quote. The first one is here.
Next post should be some spoons with much smaller lettering.