Design: 2 hours We created the design for the double-faced sign in CorelDraw then created the files for the router using Enroute software. The design had to be approved by the camp’s review board, which always adds a little more time.
Cut letters and rout faces: 11 hours It took about an hour and a half to router-cut two sets of letters: Living from 1 ½-in. 15-lb. HDU board and Waters from 1-in. HDU board. It took about four hours to rout each face from 1 1/2-in. HDU board. We routed a pocket in the letters on the sign panel to accept the letters.
The letters fit perfectly into the pockets. We created the woodgrain texture in the background using Dan Sawatzky’s Texture Magic - Woodgrain patterns.
The secondary copy in the panel at the top of the sign was incise carved on the CNC router.
Paint letters and faces: 12 hours After priming with Jay Cooke’s Sign Primer, we finished with multiple coats of Sherwin Williams All Surface latex enamel paint. The letters were sprayed, the faces were brushed and the bird graphic was hand painted.
Mount letters: 45 minutes Mounting the letters was just a matter of applying Loctite PL polyurethane construction adhesive to the pocket and pressing the letter in place. We did this once the faces were installed on the posts.
Install posts and faces: 5 hours We set the 6-by-6-in. posts in concrete and let them set overnight. Then we installed the top ornament, which we had fabricated and painted in the shop using Timberlok screws. All seams and joints were caulked before painting. Finally, the faces were installed using deck screws. Acrylic latex caulk hid the screw heads.

What’s it cost to produce this 3-by-6-ft. monument?

Applied letters add dimension and the woodgrain background adds texture

By Chris Lovelady

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017

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HDU board: $973
Pressure treated lumber: $75
Paint and misc.: $85
Hardware, concrete mix: $55
  Total materials: $1188

Design/sales: 2 hours
Cut letters/panels: 11 hours
Paint letters/panels: 12 hours
Installation: 6 hours
  Total time: 30 hours
We donated this sign to a Christian summer camp in North Carolina. Our kids have been a part of it for years— first as campers, then later as counselors. Debi and I have always valued their program, and this sign was a way to give back and say thank you.

The CNC router is relatively new to our shop, and I wanted a job that would stretch us to try new things a bit. On this sign we used the router to cut out components, cut individual prismatic letters and cut the pockets to accept them, and to simulate a woodgrain background.

Cutting the letters out and applying them to the routed panel is a great way to add even more dimension to a 3D sign. Routing a pocket in the face makes installing the letters easy, too. The pieces of the trellis on the top were cut from pressure treated wood on the router.

The woodgrain texture is a file from Dan Sawatzky’s Texture Magic – Woodgrain collection. It includes several variations, so I used a few different textures to create the look of multiple planks that had been laminated to make the panel. The fonts are Tidewater Script and Ross 1929 Roman from

The faces were primed with Jay Cooke’s Sign Primer and finished with Sherwin Williams All Surface latex enamel paint. I’ve also been using Benjamin Moore DTM Acrylic Enamel on a lot of my work. It can be used over wood, PVC, HDU and aluminum without any primer. The mounting is finished with Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Stain. It’s thinner than acrylic paint and it soaks into the pressure treated wood very well.

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