Letter Carving Basics
A long-time sign maker shares his carving techniques in a demonstration making the letter 'R'
In this video, McDermott demonstrates carving letters in wood, starting with the letter ‘R.” This complex letter covers almost all of the techniques required to carve any other letter in the alphabet. For more tips on carving, read McDermott’s companion article from Fine Woodworking magazine.
T.J. McDermott has made a long career carving commercial signs. A long-time resident of outlet-mecca Freeport, Maine, McDermott’s work is evident everywhere you look. He produced many of the signs that hang above retail outlets and town landmarks in the area. His straightforward letter-carving technique uses only two chisels, but it can transform a piece of furniture or other article into a personalized heirloom. In his introduction to letter carving, McDermott gives advice on choosing a typeface, learning to trust your eye, tips for good layout, transferring a layout from paper to wood, developing a methodical carving rhythm, and keeping your mind and your chisels sharp as you work.
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