Stamp Hoder for Signing Projects
When receiving my work as gifts, family members often ask me to sign the pieces. I know other woodworkers sign their work by carving their initials, using a vibrating engraver or a wood-burning tool. But I decided to use steel letter stamps that I had in the shop. These 1⁄4-in.-square stamps are widely available at online tool and crafts retailers.
The problem is keeping each letter stamp aligned and spaced properly. My solution is this simple holding block made from layers of 1⁄4-in.-thick Baltic-birch plywood. I glued the layers together, leaving a 1⁄4-in.-wide slot for the stamps to slip through. To accommodate the nine letters of my first and last names, with a space in between, I made the slot 21⁄2 in. long. Size yours as needed. Also, if your plywood is a little thinner than 1⁄4 in., you might need to plane solid wood for the center pieces instead.
Since you can strike only one stamp at a time, I recommend making shorter spacers from 1⁄4-in.-square steel stock. Hardwood would also work. I chamfered the ends of the spacers so that they drop easily into place. To use the block effectively, clamp it to the project so the letters stay aligned. Experiment with how much striking force is needed to make an impression. For most woods, a couple of light taps is enough.
Greg Bruck, Bedford, OH
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