The Making of a Wooden Leatherman Sign

What better way to show your dedication and love for a brand than to make a unique sign to hang up in your shop!The tutorial below will explain how you can create signs for the brands you love.

Materials/Supplies Needed

  • 1/2" thick Plywood
  • Super Glue
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Spray Paint
  • Shellac
  • Polyurethane
  • Sandpaper (150 and 220 grit)
  • Printed Template of the Design

Tools Used

  • Scroll Saw or Jig Saw
  • Bandsaw (Optional)
  • Computer with design software

Step 1—Create the Cutting Template

For this project, Leatherman supplied a file containing their logo. Using Adobe Illustrator, I created a template that was 24" wide. A simple template can also be created using free vector software such as Inkscape. The template that I created consists of the outer border and the logo itself.

Once designed, this template needs to be printed. Using a normal 8.5"x11" printer, print the template across multiple pages. Be sure to print two copies. One will be for the logo cutouts and the other will be used to create the background layer.

Step 2—Cut the Template out and Glue it to the Plywood

Using a pair of scissors, cut out the logo pieces and background layer from the two separate printouts. Be sure to leave some white space outside of the border. The extra space outside of the line will aid in the cutting process.

Using spray adhesive, spray the 1/2" thick plywood where you want to glue the template. Lay the template out on the wood and be sure to smooth the paper out. This will ensure that the template will stay on the wood as the pieces are being cut out.

Step 3—Cut out the Wooden Pieces

This step requires the use of a saw. I used a bandsaw and scroll saw to cut out these pieces. This step only requires the use of either a scroll saw or jigsaw. The inside of the letters “A" and “R" require cutting out as well as parts of the background layer. This can only be done using a scroll saw or jigsaw.

While cutting, do not try to follow the line exactly, instead cut just outside of the line. Doing this will help to achieve a better finish in the end.

Be sure to use safety glasses and use caution while operating the saw.

Step 4—Sand the Individual Pieces

After the individual pieces have been cut, they need to be sanded to have a smoother finish—just sand to the template lines. For this, you can use with a power sander or hand sand with sandpaper. Using either method, sand each piece until you reach the lines from the template. This will help you make sure the pieces look correct.

Step 5—Paint and Assemble

There are multiple stages in the painting process.

  1. Spray the wooden pieces with Shellac. This will help seal the wood to help the paint better adhere to the project.
  2. Paint the individual pieces with the desired colors
  3. Once the first coat of paint is dry, sand each of the pieces lightly with 220 grit or 320 grit sandpaper.
  4. Continue painting the pieces for the desired paint look
  5. Spray with Polyurethane to protect it

After the pieces are painted, the sign is ready to assemble. This sign was assembled by eye, meaning that I placed the pieces where they looked correct. Using a yard stick, align the letters on the background layer so they’re even at the bottom. Use super glue and glue each piece of the logo to the background layer. Allow the glue to dry and you’re done!

Step 6—Rock the Awesome Sign in the Shop!

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