Making A Giant 10′ Wooden Sign

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In this video I’m going to show you how I made this custom 10’x10’ sign on my CNC machine. If you can’t tell, I’m so excited by how it turned out! I know it’s huge but I wanted bold, clear, and beautiful so everybody driving by on the main road would catch notice. Let me show you how I did it. 

First off, I know most people aren’t going to need such a large sign, but the techniques can be applied to any size sign! I started off the project by importing my shop’s logo into Vcarve, which is the program I use for my CNC work. Then I cut out all the letters.

I knew these letters would be left flat and untextured so there was nothing special about cutting them out except for arranging them to make the most of my material. It was hilarious to me how large the letters were coming out.

I set the letters aside and started on the background which I wanted to do something special for. I really wanted some sort of texture on the background so the giant sign wouldn’t just be super flat and it turns out there is a texture tool path in Vcarve that takes scoops out of the wood at “random” intervals.

I put quotes around random because you can actually set the length of stroke, the over lap, and depth of the passes. The look will also be affected by the bit used. It needs a round nose bit and I used the largest one I could find which is a 2” bit.

Then since my sign is so large I set the parameters to be very long. If you were doing a smaller sign, a smaller bit and stroke would be better suited. Doesn’t that look awesome? It feels really neat as well.  

Another really cool feature that I got to try for the first time is something called Tiling. This 10’ sign requires multiple sheets of plywood to cover the entire area and there is a setting in Vcarve where you can tell it the total area then break it into equal sections and create titles.

What’s amazing about this is the CNC will keep track of which board goes where and cut in a pattern on each one individually so that everything lines up from one board to the next once it’s all complete.

For my size sign, I had 6 equal boards to create the background. 

After, I spent a good bit of time giving all the letters, the giant axe, and the background 5 coats of paint to seal it up. Next I loaded everything up from my own shop and moved them to the new building to start installing. 

The previous owner had a large bay door on this side of the building then all his advertising signs around it. Well with my planned set up, a door here won’t be needed so I decided to get rid of it, reuse the door in a different wall where it will be needed, and turn the opening into a giant sign. First thing to do there was to frame up a wall to place the sign panels on. This was simple enough, just nailing a few studs to a top and bottom plate then standing it up and securing it. 

I’m talking about it pretty calming now, but this is such an exciting time for me that in real time there is a lot of happy dancing and happy squealing, for lack of a better term, going on. 

After securing the wooden frame to the metal frame of the building, next we sheathed it. In the past I’ve always used OSB however, this time we used Zipsystem which is a more upgraded alternative.

It has a protective layer the outside that elemates needing to use house wrap so that’s a plus. The panels are secured into place then a special tape is applied to all the seams and that’s that for that step. 

Now was to start adding the background panels but I wanted to do a few things first before just tossing them up there. One, I wanted to make sure I had them in the correct order so that the background carvings lined up perfectly. I also wanted to lay out indication marking on where each letter needed to be placed so that we wouldn’t have to mess with pulling two tapes while also holding up these giant letters. 

If you do a tiling job, I recommend marking each board as it comes off to save time on arranging things. Then for marks, we utilized SketchUp. With the program, Jake could pull a tape measure tool to get two different points of reference for each letter.

Then I could use two tapes on the background to make the marks. I’m using a paint pen here to make them easy to read. 

Ok now we’re ready for the install so lets start with the background. To make sure things turned out center, we started with the bottom center panel. First finding center on the opening then on the panel. We would counter sink then attach it using screws.

After the first one is placed, all the others are easy to set as we could just line up the carvings. Whew! Look at that! Ah, technology is so cool! 

Ok ok now the letters! We started with the top and worked our way down, but any order works and this part goes very quick since we already had the markings on where things needed to be placed. 

But wait there’s more! The sign looked great at this point, but the last thing to really send it over was to add a boarder. This was a bunch of straights and curves in the corners. And it’s incredible just how much of a difference the boarder gives the entire thing.

Man alive, I can’t believe how much I love it. I love the sign, the color, the texture, the size…. But also, I love the significants of what it means, too.

Naming the building and this new venture of mine, putting up that name to main road traffic and advertising that something new and exciting is coming….it just floods me with happiness and pride. 

If you missed the video where I go into detail on what The Wood Shed is, and what my plans for it are, then you can check out that video HERE.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date on public meet and greets at this new shop. And if you’re ever in central Texas then feel free to stop in and see this sign in person once it’s open : ) 

Do you have a bulk CNC production request? Email us here: [email protected]

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