|The finished sign, Spelling corrected.|
This is a quote from Tony Konovaloff's book "Chisel, Mallet, Plane, and Saw" and it's become one of the defining mantras of my shop time. It keeps me from getting lost.
I use a technique for signs that I dislike because it feels like drawing a portrait by laying a piece of tracing paper over a photograph. I've never liked that style of doing things. It just doesn't feel honest to me. Until I found Peter Follansbee and the 17th C. style of carving I wanted to learn how, but I just couldn't get over the concept of gluing a piece of paper to a block of wood, then carving through the paper. I get how it works to get the work done, and I'm not judging those who do that, but it's not the way I want to work.
My letter carving technique is not ideal for me, but here it is.
|The original "flawed" sign, ready to carve with it's carbon paper imprint.|
I use my computer and a word processing program. (Carvetech anyone?) I type in the words I want to carve and play with the fonts until I find one that seems fitting. Then I print them out in a couple of BIG sizes. This time I printed them at 125, 150, and 200 pt. Longer words print off on multiple lines but that's immaterial because I cut them from the paper and arrange them on the board over a sheet of carbon paper, (sometimes called transfer paper.) I print the multiple sizes so I can decide what will fit best on the stock I select.
A while back I bought a smaller set of five carving chisels on eBay, they are fine, detail chisels that really don't see much use, but they work perfect for lettering.
I use two from the set, a small gouge and a swept "V" chisel.
I carve the letters first with the gouge then I go back into them with the "V" chisel and add a line that helps define them and make them easier to read. I will say carving letters is an excellent practice in paying attention to the grain of the stock and the direction of your cuts.
After I carve the letters I take a couple passes with a smoothing plane to remove the left over transfer marks from the board and move forward with any outlining and designs
Ratione et Passionis