Sign With Palm and Dremel Routering




Introduction: Sign With Palm and Dremel Routering

How to use both a Bosch Palm Router and Dremel tool for routing to make a wood sign.

This project was inspired by JimmyHack at LumberJocks who does some awesome scroll saw work. Be sure to check out his work.

In my Dremel Router Instructable, I ventured into using router skills for the first time in 30+ years. While the Dremel is a versatile tool, you will be very limited in what you can do as far as router projects. Knowing this, I purchased a Bosch Colt 1hp Palm Router to enable me to do more, but still use the Dremel for fine and detail work.

Just another chance to expand my woodworking skills.

This Instructable is dedicated to all the Ohio University Alumni and all those incoming Freshen planning to attend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

This sign will be a gift for a nephew who will be soon attending my Alma Mater. I recommend this easy project for others who gift their projects.


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

As mentioned in my Dremel Router project I have used the Dremel for cutting, grinding, and polishing. This will be my second use with router techniques. This will be the FIRST time I use the Bosch Colt.


  • Bosch Colt 1hp Palm Router
  • Dremel Rotary Tool (I used an older 400 XPR model with variable speed)
  • Dremel Multi-Purpose Cutting Guide.
  • 1/4 inch straight router bit (Bosch Router)
  • 1/8 inch straight router bit (Dremel Router)
  • Burr bits (Dremel Router)
  • Electric Sheet SanderPencil
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Paint Brush


  • Wood (I used a 10x17x2 piece of repurposed lumber)
  • Carbon Transfer PaperDesign
  • Masking Tape
  • Clear Tape
  • Sandpaper 60, 150, and 220 grit
  • Spray Paint
  • Clear Coat
  • Acrylic Craft Paint

Step 2: Over Sized Image Design Prep

In my last project I printed a design that fit on a regular 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of printer paper. This time my design was over sized so I needed to print on multiple sheets of paper.

  1. With Photoshop or other image editing software enlarge your image to desired dimensions.
  2. Save file as a PDF.
  3. Open PDF in Adobe PDF reader.
  4. In print mode choose Poster in Paper Size & Handling.
  5. Print pages
  6. Trim overlap sections with scissors
  7. Tape together.

I am sharing my printable file as well as an even larger design share to me by JimmyHack.

Step 3: Transfer Design

  1. Place your wood on a firm work area.
  2. Tape your carbon transfer paper with carbon facing your work surface of the wood.
  3. Tape your design on top of the carbon paper.
  4. With a pencil trace your design and transfer to wood.
  5. After you are certain you have traced all lines, remove design and carbon paper.

Use a Sharpie Marker to retrace the design. This will help identify all the wood you will be removing with the router bit. Without clearly marked router lines your eyes may begin to play tricks on you by trying to focus on only pencil lines. You can see from the images that the carbon trace is very faint, especially on this weathered wood.

Additionally, when the wood starts flying it is hard to see your lines period. Everything sharpie will be routed and removed.

Step 4: Bosch Colt Router and Bit

This was literally the first time I used this brand new router. While I probably should have practiced on some scrap wood I figured it was just a larger and more powerful version of the Dremel tool. Essentially it is. So, for those of you thinking about upgrading from Dremel to Bosch Colt... Go For It!

I will say that I loved working with this tool. For a first-timer this was just FUN! The router and bit worked its way easily through the wood. The router was not overpowering and was very easy to manage.

I used this router to carve out the lettering since it was such a large space using a 1/4 inch straight bit. I may have been able to use a 1/2 inch straight bit, but since this was my first time I figured it would be easier to manage the smaller diameter bit. It worked its way through the wood like a warm knife through butter.


Since I was working on a piece of wood that is 1 1/2 inches thick I thought I would go deep with the lettering to 1/2 inch. And, the extra depth would allow the Bobcat to be at a different level in the wood.

After just a few moments I realized this might be too much wood to be removing at one time with risk involved. I readjusted the depth to 1/4 inch depth and did all the lettering at this depth. After finishing the first pass, I readjusted to 1/2 inch depth to get that extra 1/4 inch.

The Easy Part is Over!

Step 5: Dremel Router

Since most of the Bobcat design is line work ranging in thickness from 1/4 inch and smaller I changed over to my Dremel Router setup using the Multi Purpose cutting guide and 1/8 inch straight bit. While the tool has plenty of power the bits really do get a workout. I used 2 bits to cut through this design. The first bit really started to struggle about 75% through the Bobcat work. Cutting depth was about 3/16 inch.

Step 6: Whisker Detail and Burring

Even with a 1/8 inch straight bit, some of the line work was too fine to use the bit. I finished up the fine lines, specifically the whiskers, with a few different burring bits. The burring bits were also used to clean up some edges throughout the project piece.

Step 7: Spray Paint

I used black in my design, but you can choose the spray paint color of your choice to cover all your router work. I then let dry to touch before moving to next step.

Step 8: Paint Lettering

Use an acrylic craft paint to paint lettering.

I decided to paint the lettering to give a little POP to the design.

Step 9: Sand Project

Now comes the fun part!

Sand the surface with your electric sander using 60 grit, 150 grit, and finally 220 grit.Since the routed area is recessed, the sander never touches that paint and leaves it in the recessed areas.

Step 10: Clear Coat

Use your favorite clear coat to protect your project. I applied about 5 thin coats.

Step 11: Final Notes

If you have been thinking about getting into sign routing and trying to make a decision on a router, I highly recommend the Bosch Colt. It really is an easy tool to use and works well. As a newbie I found no problems and really enjoyed the woodworking.

Don't forget about that rotary tool as well.

Hats off to all the OU Bobcats and aspiring Bobcats! This Instructable is for YOU!

And again, thanks to JimmyHack for sharing his design he used in his scroll saw work.


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    5 years ago

    Very Nice! Glad to have provided the pattern. Looks great!


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks for the compliment! Would love to see HOW you do what you do. Your final product is awesome. Many would benefit from an Instructable or two from you. You are a true craftsman.


    5 years ago

    Great looking sign. With so many CNC machines out there, it's great to see someone still doing this by hand. You got a vote from me


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks! maybe some day a cnc will be here. For now I prefer to use my hands. hmmm.. makes you think what people thought about the electric router when it was the "new" tool.


    5 years ago

    Thanks for the post! From one OU alum to another!
    OU Oh Yeah!


    Reply 5 years ago

    Today is our day. #OUrDAY


    5 years ago

    Nice project. And you learned that you have to take little cuts first then go deeper. I have made signs like this before and it was enjoyable. Bravo sir bravo


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks! Looking forward to more signs and wall art. Please vote for the Newbie!