Thursday, 11 October 2012

Plaques for work

My school has got links with a range of different schools from around the world. I was asked by my Head Teacher if I could make some wooden plaques to celebrate them visiting our school.

My first stage was  to make a template that would allow me to have my school name, logo and year on it. This allow me to work out the correct size of the plaque.

After discussions with my Head Teacher I decided that I was going to make the plaques of Oak as it is seen as a very 'British' wood. I chose to use American White Oak which I bought from Morgan Timber.

The oak that I bought was just narrow enough to fit through my thicknesser!!!

 My first step was to cut the board into blank size pieces so that I could work out what I was working with. One of my main reasons for doing this is because where I have got my thicknesser located it doesn't easily allow me to put large boards through it. I need to sort this really! But as I don't plane that long boards that often its one of those jobs I will do at some point.

 I then planed each of the boards to smooth the sides of them. In hindsite I should have got them planed at the wood yard. This would have saved me so much time!!

My next stage was to make an oval template. This allowed me to use a bush in my router to cut out the oval part of the logo. This allowed me to accurately route out the different plaques.

Next I routered out the plaque. This allowed me to test the different cutters and the depths that I would need to cut to. This was an important step as it told me a lot about the finished products!

After I had routered out the detail I used black and gold  enamel paint in the different parts of the plaque. I also tried out different stains and waxes. This allowed me to get a feel for what the plaques were going to look like.

After making the test plaque I moved on to the 5 proper plaques. My  first job was to spend a couple of hours sanding the wood back and totally smooth! After doing this I plan to make a sanding box that sucks the dust away in my workshop. I also want to add an air filter to clean the air!

I then routered out all of the five plaques. I then painted in the detail on the plaques. I changed the paint on these ones to Acrylic paint and used silver instead of the gold. I used this because when I made the test one the gold did not stand out enough.

Filling the letters and the tree with the paint was probably the most tedious part of this project! This seemed to take ages! The advantage of using the acrylic paint was that I could go over the top of the plaque and then clean it up by using the electric sander.

By this point my workshop was looking a mess!!! Oh to get it clean!

 After some more sanding the plaques were looking good (if I do say so myself!). My big issue now was having to stain the oak!! I really like the colour of the oak and did not really want to darken the plaques. But everyone I spoke to thought oak was a dark colour, so dark they went.

I was really pleased with the finished product. This product taught me a lot about using a router to route out detailed images. I quite fancy using this technique to make a plaque for the front of my house.