After watching Aimee Inouye chisel away at the gorgeous bench she was working on last week, I was inspired to give woodworking a try. The first thing I discovered is that the type of wood you use matters. Wood comes in varying hardness and grains. If you’re a beginner looking for the perfect substrate, I’d suggest basswood or butternut. You can find blocks and panels at your local craft store or even larger hardware stores. Now as they say, practice makes perfect. So grab a few scrap blocks to practice with before you attempt the project at hand.
You’ll need a pencil, wood, a chisel set, and a rubber mallet. Take a look at the steps below. I’m drawn to a more handmade aesthetic, so I made my chisel marks pronounced and jagged to give it a personal touch. If that’s not your taste, be a bit tidier with your lines.
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of the basics, you can move on to the real thing. It’s always good to have a plan, so start off with a template of how you’d like the sign to look. Use that template to create a shallowly traced guide into the wood. Once you have your pattern, make deeper cuts. You may want to go over a the letters a few times to make the incisions thicker and deeper into the surface. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s the nature of handmade arts.