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Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson


Signing Your Work - The cheap and easy way



A recent discussion on the OldTools list caused me to write this little tutorial on how I sign my work.

There are many ways to sign your work and this is my way. It is cheap and easy, and very effective, because it contains my actual signature, not just a mark of some sort.

To start with you need a vibratory engraving tool, something like the one in the picture.  I bought this one at an estate sale for only $4.

The tip is usually a piece of 1/8Ē diameter carbide, and that tip is usually too dull for this purpose. I remove the tip, chuck it into a drill motor, then hold it against the wheel of my bench grinder to sharpen it. Then put it back into the tool.

Now I brace my hand and sign my name in whatever size seems appropriate. I find that a light touch works best. All you want to do is impress your name into the wood, and if you try to cut in deeply you wonít be able to keep the tool moving.

In the next picture you can see my name and the date, but they are too faint to be easily seen.

The next step is paint.

I didnít have a small brush readily available so I used a spray can, which I would never do on a finished piece. Before the paint dries you need to wipe it all off.

One other thing: You have to do this after you have completed the finish on your piece. I was in a hurry to get this article done and I used a piece of scrap which had no finish on it. I could not get all the paint off.

The beauty of this marking method is that you can use any color you like to contrast with the wood. And, this method is easy and cheap. VERY Galootish!

James D. Thompson
May, 2008

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