I recently made a custom Harley Davidson sign with my friend Shane: https://www.facebook.com/hammertimewoodworks/
I made a video showing the process if you would like to watch:
- Red Wood
- Grey Primer Spray Paint
- Black Spray Paint
- Vinyl Cutter
- Band saw
- Orbital Sander
Step 1: Cut a Circle
We started with a 30" x 30" glued up panel of Red Wood. Using a trammel for the router set 15" away from the centre point we carved a 1/4" groove. This gave us a guide to cut at the band saw. Staying inside the groove we cut the circle out.
Using a couple of flush trim bits in the router we cleaned up the edge of the circle. The bearing rides against the original groove we carved using the trammel.
Step 2: Apply Stencil
Shane has a vinyl cutter so that what we used to create the stencil. You could of course use any method you have available. I would usually use self adhesive paper and print on it.
With the stencil applied we decided to make life easier for ourselves and sprayed grey primer to reverse the stencil. With the vinyl removed we could clearly see our marks. The vinyl may have peeled up while routing so this was a better choice.
Step 3: Carve the Design
Using a palm router we carved the design. We used a profile bit that we got from here: http://www.makeawoodsign.com/shop/index.php?route=...
The profile bit was used for all the detailed areas. Around and in between the letters, around the skull design and also the outer edges. To remove the bulk we used a 60 degree v groove bit. Just using a random pattern and being careful not to touch the detailed areas we removed the bulk. We carved around 1/4" deep but a little deeper if possible would be better. Using a brush we removed any sharp pieces and loose saw dust. The brush works really well in all the hills and valleys that we carved away.
The edge of the sign got a scalloped edge. We did that with a bearing guided shamfer bit. Edging it into the the side and then repeating it all along the edge. Each plunge meets up to the next one. Take your time and its quite easy to do by eye.
Step 4: Spray, Sand, Spray
We fitted a french cleat to the back as a method for hanging the sign later.
With that done we could spray the back, side and face of the piece black. We only want paint in the areas we carved away and along the edge. It took a couple of coats to fully cover the areas we wanted and then we left it to fully dry.
Then it was time to sand. Keeping the sander flat we removed the black paint from the areas we hadn't carved. The design is revealed.
We used lacquer as a finish for this piece. Its being kept indoors so lacquer was a good choice.
I really hope you liked this project and I hope you have been inspired to give it a go for yourselves.