This will be my 3rd sign in about 1 week (after this one and this one), so I think I’m done for a while. My daughter was next and she asked for a sign that captured all of her major fandoms. After much discussion, we agreed on the theme of “What I learned by being a nerd”, even though I’m not fond of the term ‘nerd’. Total project time was about 5 hours – getting faster each time.
I started with a design in InkScape where I used logos/symbols from each video game and downloaded fonts that were representative of each video game.
Things I learned by being a nerd [Lord of the Rings] Speak friend and enter (in elvish) [Shadowhunters] There is a world hidden within our own [Captain America] You get killed... walk it off! [DareDevil] It's not how you hit the mat, it's how you get up [Jurassic Park] Hold on to your butts! [Dr. Who] Don't Blink
Internet searches helped me find sources of free, downloadable True Type Fonts for Shadowhunters, Captain America, DareDevil, Jurassic Park and Dr. Who. I also found an image of the LOTR phrase written in elvish, rather than attempt to recreate it with a font. While the DareDevil font looks great, I was unable to use it because of the very thin lines used, so I switched to “Engravers MT” because it has nice serifs that matched the logo. I imported the logos/symbols into Inkscape and used the “Trace Bitmap” feature to convert them into paths. I saved the Inkscape file in .SVG format, and imported it into Easel.
I used the Cherry wood from my last project and sliced the 10″ x 12″ board I needed. I clamped it down into the X-Carve and began carving. Total carve time was 2.5 hours. This time, I was smart and waiting to route the edges until after the carving. I also sanded the face before carving since sanding afterward is risky due to the snagging that can happen with the lips of the carving.
I fussed a lot with the design in Inkscape and Easel before carving and re-imported the .SVG file many times. I was concerned about some of the fonts and images. I did a few test carves and made some manual adjustments. It took quite a bit of time to make the Jurassic Park logo look good. It also took some time to manually space out the letters for the Jurassic Park font.
I video taped the carve process, then sped it up x32 so it could be viewed in just over 4 minutes.
After the carving, I sanded down the surfaces and used my Riffler files to clean up the insides of the carved letters. I then used 3 different sandpaper grits, then wet/dry and did another round of sanding. Finally, I put on 2 coats of Formbys Tung Oil Finish. Here is the finished result.
While the X-Carve did it’s best, there were issues with chipping on the first row of the DareDevil phrase, especially with the “T” character. To make it look better, i took the painstaking process of whittling tiny pieces of wood, and using wood glue to place them inside the carved area to better define the letter shapes. The tops of the “W”, the bottoms of the “M”, the inside of the “A”, and lines in between the I and T all had to be manually done. I did the same for the Jurassic Park font – inside of the “D”, “R” and “B”. The result is much more readable. Although the wood glue is really good when dry, I was extra careful when applying the oil to these areas to ensure they did not get knocked out.
Finally, I used a knife to make small marks for teeth of the dinosaur skull and marks around the “Eye of Sauron” symbol to make it look fiery.