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Thread: Jay I need your advice on lettering

  1. #1
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    Default Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I've been googling around a bit and can't find what I'm looking for. I want to carve a nameboard. Actually, her light boards. I think I want Times New Roman font. Black Eyed Susan in another lettering thread was a really nice font, close to Times New Roman but I'm not certain what font that was. I like the square straight lines with serifs. If it's not the most appropriate font, maybe you can suggest another one or two that may be more suitable for my purpose.
    I seem to remember doing some lettering in my draughting classes in high school and the letters were not always the same size. I think letters like O and U were just a little larger than say an e or a B while a J would hang below the line, even as a capital. Am I wrong in my memory? How do I figure out how much larger to make certain letters, which letters to make larger (or smaller?) and how do I know how much to position them off straight line with the rest of the words? Not to mention how closely to space them so they look evenly spaced of course. The boat will be called EUNOIA so there's an O and a U and I think they need to be slightly larger than the size used for the remaining letters. Please steer me straight on this.
    This whole lettering business truly is a skilled art form. My hat is off to you sir.
    Cheers,
    Daniel
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Until Jay comes along, you will find "The Bible" an inspiring read:



    The Speedball Textbook has been in print since 1915 and is now in its 22nd edition. Used copies are easy to find for less than ten bucks. It's an unassuming little paperback, but it really contains a wealth of information and should be just what you are looking for.

    https://www.amazon.com/Speedball-Tex.../dp/096315320X

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    The Speed Ball book is very good as it gives examples of various font styles as well as the pen strokes needed to form the letters. If the Speed Ball book does not offer enough info for you, there are many other books that offer insight into the adventure of letter forms. My own favorite is this one that is offered by Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Just-Shaping-.../dp/1406878189 Albrecht Durer was a student of the Roman Letter form. He was also a sculptor and well respected artist during the age of the Renescance. You will find other books of alphabets at Amazon.com which can give inspiration. As to choosing sizes and fonts for your alphabet, that is up to the artist do decide. A method I have used is to tack up a sheet of news print on my easel and draw the copy with either a steel brush and tempera or a short square flat brush. The print will keep you aligned for level and you can practice on cheap paper till you like what you see. Then trace it onto vellum or shelf paper, place it reversed/backwards on a window and look at the balance of the spacing and shapes. That which is off balance will be very evident to you.
    I prefer Roman or modified Roman for carving. This is because the Roman alphabet is designed for carving in stone. In my humble opinion, Roman is the most beautiful of all the alphabets for carved letters.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Sailor,

    Spacing between the letters is worth considering.
    From experience (and education) I would advise on the generous side of distance between letters.
    Equal volume of space between letters is a good way to gauge it.
    It will be easier to read from a distance with generous spacing.

    Good luck.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I've never carved anything and am contemplating chip carving the name. Is that a suitable way to do it or is there a better way? I envision simply pasting a computer print out of the letters then carving them out.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    I've never carved anything and am contemplating chip carving the name. Is that a suitable way to do it or is there a better way? I envision simply pasting a computer print out of the letters then carving them out.
    Absolutely.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    If you choose to carve V incised Roman letters, Choose a 90 deg V gouge with wings of ample depth to reach to the face of the carving from the bottom of the groove. I carve all of the serifs in one direction first and then switch hands and direction to carve the ones that come from the other direction. This cuts a double ended wedge out of the copy where the two sides meet. Once all serifs are opened, I then carve the vertical ascenders and descenders that are straight.
    This cut ends in the valley of the serifs with a perfect three point junction. Next are the curved letters. The letters O and C are the ones that are a challenge to how well one can steer the V gouge which is driven by a small brass mallet. Practice in sugar pine first till you get the feel. If you have a bit of wobble, come back and clean it up without using the mallet. Note that the classic letters O, C and Q are perfect circles so you an use a circle template to make the shape.
    Moving the template latterly will create a perfect letter form. Moving it slightly up or down will creat a slant to the letters. If you go for modified Roman then use an oval template. Most of us who have been at it for a while will design an alphabet free hand but, it takes a long time to to acquire the knack. That dust on the knives is volcanic powder to absorb moisture and prevent rust. Al have one inch wings and one is short to allow easier following of the curves.
    The are two top tools that were made for me by a friend who is a blacksmith. The other was made when I was in Venice on a special job. It is my favorite.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 08-16-2017 at 10:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I imagine cleaning up the V grooves with a card scraper. Is that a bad idea? Poor form? Simply won't work? Or am I on the right track?
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Bad Idea! Make clean cuts. End gain will not come clean with a card scraper here, leaving a ragged edge. Once you get the hang of it all will come out clean. Maybe a bit of fine sanding. Read the grain and work with it not against Using other caving tools such as sweeps, curved gouges, and fish tail straights which, can correct wavy cuts.
    One other tip is: once I have traced the copy onto the board that will be carved, I paint the letters with grey tempera. This allows me to do a final corrections and create better flow to the copy.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 08-16-2017 at 10:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Computer => carving surface . . . . .
    After obtaining a full size printout of the text/graphic to be carved, I tape it in place and use a sharp something (hatpin, icepick, etc) and poke along the the outline which leaves a nice easy to follow line of tiny dots.
    Anytime I have to make an template where the letters need to be cut out so as to trace or spray the pattern I find it VERY DIFFICULT to (a) smoothly make the many long and sometimes delicate cuts, (b) keep the resulting flimsy lace doily from distorting as I position it and (c) to keep the little narrow bits laying down properly and keeping them in position to trace/spray . . . . . . When I do have to do that lace doily thing, I usually stick it down with re-posiionable spray adhesive . . . . but I hate it, Soooo challenging and fiddly . . . . BUT=> to print , tape and poke is a piece of cake and the carving is then fun/easy.
    Admittedly this approach does remove a huge amount of the creative art and craft on the front end of the process, but it leaves some craft on the back end.

    I have the luxury of a fair amount of computer hardware & software but for those that don't a sign shop will often do the graphic and then print you a couple of copies fairly reasonably on a large format printer/plotter. Some software will allow you to print LARGE items on small letter sized printers in a way that lets you tape the sheets togeather to create the full sized item. It's fun to draw your text and make it do tricks on the screen, curve it, try different fonts, etc and then translate it to the physical world.
    Last edited by George Ray; 08-16-2017 at 04:50 PM.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Sailor, if you're at all lazy like me, you may want to consider doing what I did.
    I hand routered the 7" stencilled letters with a cone shaped bit and it turned out remarkably well.
    Finished it up with a mallet and chisel.
    Doing it power-tool free will look, and feel, much better however.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Sailor - you can use whatever method that is comfortable within your skill set.
    When I first started serious carving, I made a vinyl mask, applied that to the wood,
    and used a "V" carbide bit in a router like Tom suggests..... the trick is to not let the
    router follow the design completely - meaning, when you get to a narrow section,
    lift the router appropriately to provide the shallow and narrow cuts - then, follow up
    with the hand tools of your choice to finish it up. if you let the router follow the design
    completely, you will end up with something like you buy at the flea market - which you do not want.
    hand gouges and chip carving knives will give you beautiful carved graphics that will reflect the brilliance
    of the gold like crazy. My favorite font for carving is "Georgia Bold".

    Last edited by John-1948; 08-17-2017 at 09:28 AM.


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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    This one took just about two hours to carve. Leaf took longer than that!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I love your work Jay. I don't want to route it out. I want to carve it by hand. I want that authentic "imperfect" feel to it. I think I might make the name boards an mount them to the light boxes rather than carve the name into the light boxes since I can redo the board and not mess up the work on the light box. We'll see where I go with this. Having never carved anything, I may totally SUCK at it and have someone else do it. Or I might surprise myself. We'll see. Thanks for all the advice guys.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    As I mentioned before, practice on white pine first to get used to the tools. V gouges can be purchased from most of the wood working supply houses. Woodcrafters has a good supply of carving chisels. Get the biggest 90 deg. vee tool they can supply for you. If they make a long and a short buy both. The short will work for carving round letters. Seversal sizes of #3 and #5 sweep gouges plus a couple to straights and a pair Rt&L skew straights should cover the job for you. It does take time to get the feel of the work. So practice a lot before going for the finished product! Also, the control of the tool is more in the wrist, arm and shoulders than in the fingers. This is just as it is in sign painting!
    Good Luck
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    OK, now you're scaring me off Jay.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I didn't mean to scare you off! I started carving with no one to guide me. I learned by making my own mistakes! I should mention, that those chisels ,above, are basically, intended for carving linoleum printing block work. Such blocks are used for block printing and the linoleum is simple to carve as it is soft and has no grain. So, the tools are intended to be pushed rather than struck. I would imagine that those handles would be easy to split if hit with a carving mallet, maul or hammer! You are better off getting individual tools for your work. My primary tool is the 90deg. Vee gouge which you have already seen above. I can actually do an entire job using only that tool. But, you first have to become used to working with it! That is why I recommend working in sugar pine first! I mentioned the secondary tools only as an aid for correcting mistakes. Jump in and go for it!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Incidentally, equal spacing is not necessarily the way to go, at all. The Speedball book has several examples of spacing.
    Gerard>
    Everett, WA

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I guess I need to have a look at the speedball book. I'll line up a V gouge and start on some hardware store 2x lumber. Plenty of that lying around. Thanks for all your help guys.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Just one more thing to drive you nuts... Note a very important difference between the linoleum block printing chisels pictured above and Jay's picture of his chisels. The sort of carving you are talking about here will require a carver's mallet, as in Jay's picture, to strike (actually "tap") the butt end of the chisel. Any chisel that is intended to be struck should properly have a socketed handle, or, in smaller sizes, a collared shaft. Notice on Jay's chisels, which are smaller carving chisels without handles in sockets, that there is a collar welded to the shafts which buts up against the ferruled necks of the wooden handles. This collar prevents the tang from being driven up into the handle and eventually splitting it when the butt of the chisel is struck. Many cheap (and often Asian-manufactured) "sets" of "carving chisels" will omit this essential feature. As always, it's mo-betta to pay the extra price for the best tools you can possibly afford. The most expensive tool is always the most economical in the end. (As for cost, the same goes for the quality of tool steel in the chisels. Keeping a razor sharp edge on a carving tool is even more important than on a plane iron. Be sure to acquire sharpening "slip stones" in the required shapes when you buy your carving chisels. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...es&FORM=HDRSC2)

    (In Woodcraft's defense, they do describe the pictured linoleum block-cutting chisels as "a beginner's carving set, suitable for hand or light mallet use.")

    I'll also mention that, although I don't consider myself an accomplished carver, I've used and became quite attached to a friend's metal-headed carving mallet (as Jay has pictured above.) I returned it, of course, but added making one to my ever-lengthening "projects list." The advantage of the metal-headed mallet is that it concentrates the blows, is easy to hold, and provides excellent control. There are three ways these are commonly held, depending upon the comfort of the user and the nature of the cut being made:







    While making one is probably obvious to anyone who has a metal-working lathe, here's a practicum on the "fancy" one in the pictures above: http://metrogradegoods.com/metro-mad...t/#lightbox/3/
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 08-19-2017 at 08:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    No metal working lathe in my shop. I'll have to make due. Debrouillard as they say in French.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Bob, V the gouge tools I posted here have a thin leather washer between the tang flange and the butt of the wooden handle. All three were custom made for me as V gouges with one inch wings are not normally available.
    Jay
    Woodcraft has a good variety of Swiss made tools. I believe their biggest V gouge is 3/4" on the wings which should be plenty deep for his light screens.
    I think that tool sells for about $100.00.
    The small brass mallet is from Lee Valley.
    http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/pag...=1,41504,43688
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I'm not sure on light screen sizes yet. Suitable for a 60 foot schooner, mounted in the fore rigging. I figure letters would be in the 6-8 inch tall range. EUNOIA won't take half the waterline length so they will probably come in somewhere around 10-12 inches tall and 3-4 feet long once the letters are on with space left over for the sidelights. I'm just guessing at this point and may be off but I'll have to do some visualization to figure out what I want there.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    That information can be found in Chapman, Coast Guard Regs on lights section. Technically they are supposed to be painted black and have no lettering on them. But, I don't think I have ever seen black light screens on boats smaller than an oiler!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    Incidentally, equal spacing is not necessarily the way to go, at all. The Speedball book has several examples of spacing.
    That is correct.
    It's more about the volume of space between the letters.
    Reference the book and use more space than you think necessary.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Most carving tools cut better of they are sharpened with a flat bevel just as a chisel or plane blade. This is true even if the tool is a curved gouge. However, with a Vee gouge, I am prone to having just a bit of belly in the bevel to allow the tool to be depth adjusted to the cut by raising or lowering the handle. This allows for either a heavy or a light cut. Another tip is that, I prefer octagon faceted handles as they have less tendency too roll off the bench and afford a better grip.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Times Roman ,Times,New times have been around since 1670 and are still used today.
    Do not space letters equally. Space them visually so the look equally spaced. Not measured.
    Many fonts have a larger "O" so that it will visually look the same height as letters on each side of it.
    I love the smell of fresh cut plywood in the morning.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Dueling Threads Alert!!!
    Love this thread about carving, and really pay attention to Jay's experience here.

    That being said, the thread about HMS Victory's font painted on the stern, it is saying that Times New Roman did not exist when the ship was built! And that the font used was historically in-accurate.

    Can't wait for more information here from the two threads...they are both fascinating.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Where's Victory's font thread? Could you put a link up?
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Sorry, isn't think to add that.
    It is in the "Misc Boat Related" same as this thread.
    Titled: "The font on Nelson's Victory has been changed"
    Evidently during an earlier restoration the name was painted with a font that was not invented when the vessel was built.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Of course, it's the thread immediately above this one. I would miss the obvious of course. Thanks.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Well, we haven't been properly introduced, so discretion lead me to just name the title of the other thread.

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    I'm Daniel. Hi Paul. Now we're introduced. Feel free to slag, berate or provide kudos to me as you see fit.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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    Default Re: Jay I need your advice on lettering

    Speaking of modified Roman Font here is copy that I made up using several font styles. I cast fifty of these bronze placards from a lost wax pattern I created. The Treasure Hunt was a buried treasure chest full of Pusser's Rum and the bronze placards. We held it at the Isthmus of Catalina Island and after several hours of following a treasure map, and the unearthing of the chest, we served up a BBQ'd baby back rib dinner with all the trimmings. This was a re-creation of the old pre WWII Voyager's YC. Treasure Hunt. A grand "Jamboree" time was had by all! Nearly forty boats took part in this beach bash. There were a lot of hangovers the next day!
    Jaybird
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-05-2017 at 03:08 PM.

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