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Thread: Plywood and inlay sign

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Massachusetts
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    Question Plywood and inlay sign

    This is more of a woodworking question, I thought sign makers could help. I am making a large sign for someone who wants it made of plywood but have cherry letters inlayed partially into the plywood so they are raised a 1/4" above the face of the plywood. I've done inlay before but not with the combination of hardwood into plywood. My question is will this work with seasonal wood movement from the hardwood letters inlayed into the plywood? This sign will be placed outdoors but in a sheltered area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Diamond Lake, WA
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    My thoughts on this is not to mix hardwood and plywood. Like you indicated, seasonal movement of the hardwood is going to cause problems. When it shrinks you will see gaps, when it expands it could pop right out of the plywood. Gluing it won't work as you are attempting to stop what can't be stopped.

    Another option might be to laminate cherry veneer to something like MDO, Medex or another outdoor savvy material and inlay that material into the plywood base. This should be ok as long as it's well sealed and is maintained yearly.

    Just some thoughts from a woodworker, not necessarily a sign maker.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  3. #3
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    indoors or out would be the big question. I would not worry about gaps with movement I doubt you would see them unless you are right in front of it since the wood is proud. silicone would be good so the wood can move.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the two other approaches. knight, interesting idea with the silicone.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2012
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    Texas
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    If it will be 1/4" proud, is there any reason it needs to be inlaid? what about just attaching it with dowels on the bottom side or even stepping the visible part of the inlay a little wider than the pocket itself so it doesn't show any gaps later on. Just thinking outside the box.

  6. #6
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    yes I use shallow inlay just for letter placement as it makes it easy to make sure letters are in in the right place. but I also use a pen in my machine and draw inside the line then you place the letters and make sure no line is showing. this is the fastest method. I like the pocket best but it opens up the face and takes quite a bit more time.

  7. #7
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    We do large country letterboxes this way and after a couple of years you can get about 1/16 shinkage on the letters. On our latest ones we tried putting a shoulder on the inlay. This looks exactly the same as Steves method with the pen but of course it does take more time. Is it a freebie or pay job?
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    What I do is cut a template out of card board for placement. I just cut the template inside the line with a little offset.

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