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How do I make raised letters & numbers…

October 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Router Tips

This is a question for Bob and Rick…

I want to make some signs and want to raise my letters instead of sinking them in the wood.  Do you have a video that explains this process.  I have all the letters and numbers, etc.  I purchased a letter and number set, which are OK  but now I would like to raise the letters and numbers.  Any thoughts on this matter.

Chilliwack Canada



Sorry no video but this is a simple pattern problem. How about buying regular house numbers. Here is a link to some samples explaining regular house numbers.

Things you will need:

Sign material, house numbers in desired font, border sticks, double-stick tape, sub-base for the router and the required guide bushings.

Operational Steps:

Step 1: Using the desired material for the sign you need to mount your raised letters on the sign material attaching the numbers with either nails or double-stick tape.

Step 2: Measure the thickness of the letters and the sign. With this information cut pieces of material to the width of the combined thickness. These are the support pieces that are fastened around the outside edges of the sign material.

Step 3: Using a guide busing and sub-base to rout around the house numbered patterns. Cut the material around the house number then remove all the outside material up to the support pieces around the sign. That’s it you will then have raised numbers instead of sunken in numbers.

Router Tip about guides and patterns:

You can change the size of the house numbers and border around the sign by changing the diameter of the guide bushing.

Guide and router bit combination example:

1/4 inch bit in a 1/2″ guide will make the sign numbers 1/4 bigger that the original pattern. If you want a border around your sign larger than 1/4″ increase the guide diameter to a larger size for routing the outside border.

Please note comments about the sign border:

If you don’t want a border around the edges you need to make the sign larger and once finished cut off the routed border. The router bit can only get as close to the outside edge as the room left between the guide and router bit.

Again if anyone has something to add to this procedure please comment in this post…


3 Responses to “How do I make raised letters & numbers…”

  1. Bill on October 31st, 2009 2:13 pm

    What I do is go to Michaels and purchase their wooden Letters/Numbers (various sizes) as my Templates, Then follow Rick/Bob’s explaination. Initially this is somewhat expensive (you don’t have to buy all the letters/numbers at once though), but when you have all the numbers and letters (you only need one of each) your all set.

  2. Paul on November 1st, 2009 9:28 am

    Using a Rockler number 33136 template bit allows the bit to create an exact size relieved image of your pattern, as loong as the pattern is thick enough. The wood letters from Michaels should be thick enough.

  3. Robert Hopkins on November 1st, 2009 12:16 pm

    Hi Burt,

    You can do your letters as suggested by the previous replies, I have used the method described by Bob and Rick and they work just fine. But other methods are available. Sears used to sell a kit for your router that could be used for signs.It was not templates, but a device you connected to your router and them used a pointing device to follow the letters on paper. It also worked OK.

    But the best, and leas expensive method was one I seen demonstrated by Mr. Ray Kinman at a sign making class in an Orlando Woodworking Show. Mr. Kinman is a professional carver and showed us examples of his work for Disney and several other companies. Mr. Kinman sold a VCR tape at the show, which I purchased. He also gave us a small kit designed for his Raised Letter method. The name on his VCR tape is:
    Woodcarving Without fear! How to Carve Beautiful Wood Signs for the Non-Artist.

    Most of the difficult work was done with a router (without a template) and the final work was done with a few wood chisels.I believe he also sells a tape on using the wood chisels. I don’t have his e-mail or web site, but if he is still in business, you should be able to find him on the internet. One final comment of Mr Kinman’s method that I liked was his view on making and correcting a mistake.

    There is also an excellent bokk called “Carving Signs” by Greg Krockta and Roger Schroeder”

    Good luck on your project.