This is how I made a small hand carved wood sign from katsura (Japanese Judas tree wood).
Katsura is a popular wood used for relief carving in Japan.
(Click on the [i] at the top left of photos to see an enlarged version.)
- One 11 x 22 cm piece of Japanese Judas wood (2 cm thick)
Cedar, cypress, and bass wood are also good for carving. Make sure you select wood that has no knots.
- Handheld jig saw
- Router (Dremel tool with router attachment in this case)
- Assorted chisels
- Sandpaper (180, 400, 800 grit)
- Black enamel paint ("1 Shot" is best, but any exterior type will do)
- Clear varnish
- Small brush for varnish
Step 1: Design the layout of the sign
The next step was to design the sign layout on the computer. I use CorelDraw, but any graphics program, or word processor such as MS Word for example will do. Make sure you leave enough white space between the lettering and the edge of the sign.
Cursive or script fonts can be harder to carve, and I happen to like Copperplate which was used on this sign. Fonts with serifs (the little "feet") can be hard to carve, but the serifs in the Copperplate are quite small. The size of this sign is 11 x 22 cm.
Before transferring the design, I first prepared the surface of the wood by sanding, starting with 180, 400, then finishing with 800 grit for a smooth finish. Wrap the sandpaper around a small block of wood, or use a small electric sander for an even finish.