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Libby from the SCA’s Hudson Valley Corps HQ was kind enough to promote my blog on their facebook page, but there was a slight problem…. I hadn’t updated in a month! How embarrassing! So I decided to toss up a quick post about a new skill I’ve learned recently- making routed signs! Hopefully anyone who clicked before this post was uploaded wasn’t scared away forever.

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Get ready, because this is going to get sawdusty.

The end goal is to make signs that last a long time (longer than just painting the words on a flat sign) and are aesthetically pleasing, like this:

Esopus Meadows front of sign

However, on this signpost you can see that a lot of the text is in different thicknesses, heights, and widths. This is because over the years, some of the signs have fallen, gotten damaged, or been stolen, and been replaced by different interns and employees with different router bits and levels of routing skill. I’ll admit that the tiny “poughkeepsie” was me back in January when I had no idea what I was doing! The Albany sign in its unfinished stage is behind me in the sawdust picture 🙂

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This was another project, where I was using a previously made sign (top) as a model, and an instruction sheet letting me know how the trail committee wanted things to look. I also used the same bits, but despite careful planning the wording on my sign ended up being wider than on the previous sign, and wider than I planned!

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Here are two signs I made at a workshop with the Hyde Park Trail Committee. They taught us how to lay out signs their way (left-justified) and the router bit they used for the large and small letters. I felt my routing skill growing even though it took all day to make those two signs!

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When I got back to the workshop I immediately laid out some signs for use in our parks. The circle is where the blaze will go.

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Some routed signs just get a clear coat to help them last longer, but some get painted, which is the hardest part for me. It takes me several cycles of painting in the words (above), sanding off excess, painting the background, touching up the words, then go figure I got the word color on the background again… but the result turns out looking pretty spiffy if I do say so myself (the signs on the cities signpost above are all painted.)

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Finally, there are the mistakes. I did two big things wrong with the above- trying to rout something that was already stained (which caused the darkened dots in each letter,) and trying to rout something that was too small to be clamped down to the table. At the second “L” it finally slipped out of my control, causing an extra line and me to give up in frustration. Still, if you don’t try you won’t succeed, and I’ve learned a lot from ruining pieces of wood and can now make a half-decent sign or ten! So now when you see a carved sign in a park, cabin or lodge, you know how it’s done and the amount of time and planning that goes into it!

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2 thoughts on “Route to Success!

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