A Commissioned Piece – Part 1

So other than family or close friends that I assumed would want me to build things for them, I was pretty shocked when a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I would make a sign for his wife’s restaurant. I haven’t done anything like what they were asking and I was a little nervous if I could do it justice. What they were looking for is a sign to show off their menu in the window. I was given a piece that they asked me to incorporate which I think is a mirror from an old bedroom dresser.


I decided to keep the base of it and will be stripping the paint back to natural wood. With the top missing I needed to replicate the same circular shape out of some new wood. This would be the base of the sign. From here I purchased some roasted birch and needed to joint and plane the rough lumber. It definitely works like cedar when its planed in the sense that it kind of pits the wood a bit but the final product looked really rustic  and a bit of roughness to it actually looks really nice.


This was the first time I’ve also had to do a big panel glue up and I’m glad I did it on this because i’m building a walnut coffee table soon and will need to do essentially the same thing. The top glued up fairly well and I used biscuits to keep the whole thing aligned. If I would’ve done it without I think I’d be out tomorrow getting some more wood to start over.


The next step is to use my router “compass” to get a perfect circle as the base for the sign. I just built this jig recently and haven’t used it yet so i’m probably going to spend 3 hours just to get it right before I am again running out and buying new wood because I screwed up.


Using the circle jig was actually a bit easier than I thought and produced some pretty nice results. I took the router in small shallow passes (about 5 total) to route through 3/4″ material. It left a nice edge that should require just a bit of sanding and there was almost no tearout on the edge of the sign. What small bits are torn out will be fixed up by a small rounded profile on the edge.



And here is what the overall sign will end up starting from. I have a lot of sanding ahead of me now. First order of business will be to sand down and strip all the white paint from the base. We’ve decided to use a milk paint to give the base a more antique white look. Whether we are going to do the relieved edges is still up in the air.



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