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Woodworking Letters: How to Carve Words into Wood

If you love DIY wood projects, you’re in the right place! Wood carving is one of those great hobbies that is not only enjoyable; it creates extremely satisfying great results. If you are thinking of getting started on wood carving and are considering which type of project to embark on, you may hit upon the idea of making a sign for your house or your shed. Woodworking letters into a sign seems like a worthy ambition but how do you ensure that your efforts pay off with great results? Keep reading to find out!

Getting Started with Woodworking Letters

First, you need some good quality woodworking tools. To create woodworking letters by hand, you need a good quality chisel and a dummy (a mallet specially designed for carving letters). Alternatively, you can use knives or gouges or whatever you feel comfortable with.

The second thing you need of course is your wood for the sign. However, if you are new to carving woodworking letters, you should not even touch this yet. Instead, practice your carving skills on scrap pieces of wood so that you get an understanding of how deep you need to carve, the angle, and how to create the best possible effect from the wood. You can pick up free wood scraps at a local hardware store.

Which Type of Wood Should I Use?

The type of wood you use will large depend upon how you want it to look. However, some woods are far easier to work with than others.

Basswood is a great wood for beginners. It is inexpensive and easy to use and because it has very little grain and is soft, is a good one to start with.

Butternut and Aspen are also similarly priced and are easy to carve. Although these woods are all technically hardwoods, they are on the softer end of the scale.

Oak is a beautiful wood, but it is fairly hard and may be difficult for the novice hand carver. Oak works fantastically well with power tools but unless you are already experienced with power tools and creating woodworking letters it is not the best choice to start with. 

Black Walnut is beautiful. It is also expensive and not that easy to work with.

Designing the Sign

Once you feel confident with your carving skills, you need to design your sign. You can do this via your computer’s Word program. Find the font that you want with the correct line spacing and print out the word in the correct size. If your printer cannot provide this for you, a trip to your local printing or copying store will provide what you need.

Using some spray glue, stick the lettering to your piece of wood so that you can follow the pattern with your chisel. Once you have outlined the design, you can remove the paper from the wood and go it alone.

Using a Router Instead

If you don’t want to carve by hand, why not use a wood router? There are numerous router attachments specifically designed for creating woodworking letters. You can use a router freehand or use a simple plan and results can be equally impressive. 

Is it is good as hand carved sign? Yes! Is it as fun to create? This comes down to personal preference but for our money, you can’t beat hand carving for satisfaction and enjoyment.