What tool do I use to cut letters out of wood?
This is a question that gets asked ever so often by a newbie signmaker.
When it comes to cutting out letters, accuracy, precision and smooth cuts take priority. Let us quickly take you through the best machine to cut wood letters -
Table Of Contents
- Top 5 Machine To Cut Wood Letters
- Three Question You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying a Machine For Cutting Wood Letters -
- Types Of Wood Best For Sign Making And Lettering
- How Do You Cut Letters Out Of Wood?
- How About Ordering Premade Letters?
Top 5 Machine To Cut Wood Letters
1. CNC Router: The Perfect Machines for Cutting Letters Out Of Wood
Advantages of using a CNC router in cutting wood letters:
- Perfect for different dimensions and shape
- Can easily cut through thick woods with square edges
- Reduces waste from cutting out wood letters
- Can produce several hundreds of letters in the same way
- Recommended for large scale production of wood letters.
Drawbacks of using a CNC router in cutting wood letters:
- Hold down can be an issue with tall letters made of light materials.
- It can be labor-intensive compared to the laser cutter option.
The Best CNC Router For Sign Making: Bobs CNC E4 router
CNC routers are one of the best and modern ways of cutting wood letters with high precision and detail. The Bobs CNC is an excellent place to start if you are looking to invest in one of the several in the market. It will leave you with no regrets.
To begin with, it has a large working table. This makes it easy for you to work with large sheets of wood at once. It also has an unbelievable torque of 75 oz. This makes it suitable for cutting through woods of different sizes and thicknesses.
As earlier highlighted, the Bobs CNC E4 is the best place to start for a DIYer or hobbyist who is doing little to medium volume of work.
However, if you are a professional who will need to cut these letters on a large scale, you might have to invest more. The CNC Piranha is an ideal choice if you fall into this category.
How To Cut Letters Out Of Wood With CNC Router?
2. Laser Cutter: Precise And Clean Cuts Compared To CNC Router
Advantages of using a laser cutter in cutting wood letters -
- You do not have to bother about hold down
- Can makes cuts with high precision
- It makes clean cuts.
Drawbacks of using a laser cutter in cutting wood letters -
- Less likely to cut through very dense or thick materials
- Since it operates by heat rather than friction, it is more likely to burn wood edges.
The Best Laser Cutter For Sign Making: Ten High 40W Co2
Without a doubt, this is the best laser cutter for wood and an ideal cutter for cutting wood letters. It can also be used to make engravings on other materials asides wood, including glass, fabric, and leather.
It engraves using CO2 laser technology with its beastly 40W of power.
A flamer retardant and temperature control system are also some of its other attractive features. This system readily adjusts the temperature between temperatures 0 and 45 degrees.
It comes packed with a USB cable, exhaust fan, pipe for circulation, power cord, water, and air pump, and a manual to guide you.
Although it works at high speeds, it is relatively quiet and has excellent suction power.
Anti-corrosion and anti-oxidation properties after treatment are some of the other characteristics that make it a darling to many DIYers and woodwork professionals.
Cutting Wood Letters With A Laser Cutter
3. Router - The Inexpensive Option
Advantages of using a router in cutting wood letters
- Can cut sharp, perfect edges in letters
- Perfect repeatability
- Easy to use
- It produces little waste during cutting.
Drawbacks of using a router in cutting wood letters
- Guide bush easily gets loose during mass production.
The Best Router For Sign Making: Dewalt DW611PK
This highly versatile router comes with both fixed and plunge bases. The plunge base makes it the ideal tool for use by both woodwork enthusiasts and professionals in cutting out wood letters.
It ensures precise depth cutting when carving letters from very thick woods. The router comes with a steel sliding bar that can be adjusted when making cuts.
It is this system that makes it produce very precise cuts, a much-needed characteristic when cutting out letters and other signs. It is a perfect blend of both power and variety.
It also has a variable speed setting that can be easily adjusted.
You can alternate between these speed settings by turning the variable speed dial and locking in on what best suits your job.
Making A Sign With Router:
4. Waterjet cutter
What is water jet cutting?
Water jet cutting uses ultra-high-pressure water streams to separate or cut through pieces of material. It is a versatile method of cutting that can be used to cut through almost any type of material.
The precise cutting process makes use of only abrasive agents or treated water to apply pressure to materials.
Based on this, it can be divided into abrasive water jet and water jet cutting. Its applications go far and beyond cutting out letters from wood. It includes cutting roof sheets and bumper materials for vehicles.
Advantages of a water jet cutter
- Reduces waste
- It is very fast in cutting through wood
- High pressure boosts accuracy in making fine cuts
- It does not heat materials or burn edges like a laser cutter/engraver.
Disadvantages of a water jet cutter
- Wets wood and can make the workspace messy
Best Jigsaw For Sign Making: Bosch Jig Saw
The build quality of the Bosch Jigsaw JS470E is one of the biggest perks of the machine. Its handle is designed to give a strong grip.
The ergonomic design and handle placement ensure you can cut wood letters conveniently at virtually any angle you choose.
A tool-blade ejector also adds to its appeal. With the push of a button, you can have your blades out in no time.
Its powerful 7amp motor means there is only very little that this jigsaw cannot cut through. The motor is designed to produce enough power to carve out letters from woods of all thicknesses.
Like most others on the market, it comes with a pressure trigger. This trigger forces an increase or decrease in its speed, depending on the pressure applied to the trigger.
This makes the user progress seamlessly from slow speeds through intermediate and up to very high speeds, producing an elegant finish when carving out letters with very smooth curves like the letter ‘S.’
Perhaps, most importantly, it is very durable and can last out years of continuous use.
7. Scroll Saw
Best Scroll Saw For Cutting Wood Letters: Dewalt DW788
This scroll saw scores high on durability, motor power, stability, accuracy, and user-friendliness. Built from high-quality materials, this scroll saw screams durability, much like other products from Dewalt.
The scroll saw is usually hyped as one of the best tools as far as accuracy in cutting is concerned, and the Dewalt DW788 lives up to the billing.
With a dual-parallel link and attached ball bearings, vibrations are reduced to a bare minimum. Its superb maneuverability in cutting, large table, and streamlined cutting blade are some of the features that make it a wise choice for cutting wood letters.
Carving letters from wood as we know it needs a high level of accuracy, and this scroll saw meets this requirement with aplomb.
Added to its accuracy is its incredible stability. A solid cast iron table, an impressive dual parallel link system, and workbench affixing contributes to this envied stability.
Three Question You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying a Machine For Cutting Wood Letters -
1. How many signs will you make?
The scale of production is one important factor to take into consideration when purchasing machines for cutting letters. When it comes to cutting out letters or signs, there are so many options to pick from. This includes those listed above.
A router, for example, might be better suited for small scale jobs. This is because its guide bush often gets loose after long hours of use. However, a laser cutter/engraver like the Ten High 40W Co2 would do better in cutting several signs for long periods.
Because it has a temperature regulation system that prevents the machine from burning up the wood edges. So also, would a CNC router.
Finally, if you are making only a few signs, there’s no point going for very pricey machines like the CNC Piranha. The Bobs CNC E4 router is a more reasonable alternative with a lower price tag. Yet, it has awe-inspiring capabilities.
2. The size of the signboards or letters?
Consideration for the size of the signboards or letters you are making is as important as the number of signs you want to make.
You will need a bigger workspace for producing large signboards or letters than you would ordinarily need if you were making smaller signboards and letters.
Take, for example, when you are cutting large signboards. You would need machines with large working spaces. A good fit for this would be the Bobs CNC E4 router. The wood cutting machine has a wide working table, with sufficient space to accommodate large signs and wood letters.
3. What kind of wood will you use?
The kind of wood you are going to be cutting also determines to a large extent what type of machine is best for you.
Take, for example, a CNC router would do well in cutting hardwood while a water jet cutter would do poorly with that.
This is a very important factor to consider since there are different types of wood, including hardwood and softwood. In summary, a CNC router and scroll saws are recommended for cutting through hardwood.
At the same time, a laser cutter/engraver and water jet cutter are most suited for cutting through softwood and woods of medium thickness.
Types Of Wood Best For Sign Making And Lettering
This is a very important subject to discuss because of several concerns like warping, swelling, water intrusion, and glue breakdown.
Plywood seems like an obvious choice for cutting out letters.
However, there has been a huge compromise in plywood quality over the years. Even supposedly waterproof plywood fail when push comes to shove.
A marine-grade waterproof is, however, a recommended option. It can withstand harsh temperatures and other weather elements.
Another option that does well is MDF.
However, it must be sealed fully. In other words, all its edges and faces must be sealed entirely. Aluminum-faced composited boards are another great alternative.
But you must take out time to find out how to prime it properly prior to the application of paint.
How Do You Cut Letters Out Of Wood?
You can cut letters out of wood using any of the following - a router, jigsaw, water jet cutter, scroll saw, and laser cutter/engraver.
Although there are little differences when using any of the machines, some rules remain general.
To begin with, cut out a template from cardstock. Follow this up by tracing it out on a piece of wood using a pencil.
Afterward, cut out the entire outside of the letter using the saw. Follow this up by sanding the rough edges.
Finally, stain or paint the wood for a perfect finish.
How About Ordering Premade Letters?
This is another good option. You can order fabricated letters from companies with a high reputation. A grand example is Gemini.
Getting premade letters is, in the long run, cheaper relative to the labor involved in using a scroll saw.
Cutting letters and shapes out of wood can be a tough task if the right tools are not used. Several tools can make letter-cutting a reality. The right tool depends on factors like size, shape, and volume of production, as discussed earlier.