Cutting lettering into a bowl or spoon can be daunting. You’ve already invested a lot of time and effort into a project and it could all go down the tubes with one slip of the knife during the lettering. Even if all goes as planned, what if the design doesn’t look like you thought it would? Grab some flatwood and dig in.
Small flat boards and scraps are an ideal platform for working on your lettering designs and techniques. This is low risk; if things aren’t working out, you don’t have to scrap a bowl or other project, just grab another hunk of wood. A relatively soft cooperative wood like basswood is ideal for the situation.
These boards aren’t just for practice. They can be fun projects in their own right. I enjoy making little name signs and things like that. The “Stephen” sign above was carved in butternut.
The photo at the top of this post is a 6 1/2″ x 10″ sign freshly carved to take with me to Plymouth tomorrow. I’ll use it as an example for my lettering workshop and then it will be raffled off in the Greenwood Fest fundraising raffle. I just planed the surface of a basswood board, then painted it with some thinned artist’s oil paints. After the paint dried, I sketched on the letters and cut them with my pen knife. The two photos below show two of the most common grips I use with the knife.
When I have a choice, I prefer to work with light coming from my left, but the light filtering through the pines in Plymouth will suit me fine.