I wanted to make some custom signs as gifts this year.   In this instructable we will touch on using VCarve as a lettering solution for signs, making a jig to simplify locating and holding the signboard, and making inexpensive wood look better.


- VCarve Pro software
- Shopbot CNC router tool
- paint or stain, dark color
- hardwood plank - I like maple, but poplar works well also
- some scrap wood for the jig

Note that access to TechShop or a well stocked Hackerspace makes this project easier.   I used the Shopbot and VCarve program at TechShop San Jose. 

Step 1: Prepare the Sign Blank

I had some nice maple hardwood, which I cut to size and used the jointer to clean up the rough edges.

For my first attempt, I used some Rustoleum stain, "Kona" color, which is a rich dark brown.  Leaving the stain on for 10-15 minutes makes for a nice color.  For later signs, I used some IKEA black paint I found in their furniture section.  See the Outtakes section for why I switched to paint.

Make sure to get the edges as well as the top surface, as the edges will likely be visible.  I did not bother to paint the back, as I assumed it would be mounted to a wall. 
<p>Thank you for the out-takes! As a new learner myself, it is helpful to see that mistakes happen, and usually when I am not paying attention or in a hurry. Thank you for this Instructables!</p>

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