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Safety First Sign

Safety First Sign

Teach your kids vauable woodworking skills and, importantly, safety in the workplace by making a afety firstsign.


Date: Feb 25, 2011


1. The template we'll use for the sign is a 12-in.-diameter general purpose saw blade. Glue up some scrap lumber to create a blank that's slightly larger than your blade. A close-grained hardwood such as maple, poplar or birch will be easier to paint, but really any scrap will work for this project. Trace the blade's outline onto the blank, and cut it to shape with a scroll saw.

2. Sand the faces of your sign up through the grits to 180, then file or sand away any scroll saw blade marks in the tooth areas. After sanding, ease the sharp edges around the top and bottom faces with a chamfering bit with a trim router.

3. Apply a coat of aerosol lacquer or shellac to the "show" face of your sign. This will serve as a sealer to make it easier to clean up the lettering areas while painting them. When the sealer dries, trim your letter template to fit the sign, and mount it with spray adhesive. We positioned the baseline of the word "Safety" 5 in. down from the top of the blade and centered it left and right.

4. Install a 1/8-in. spiral or straight bit in your trim router, and set the cutting depth to 1/16 in. Start the tool, and slowly plunge the bit down into the middle of the first letter with the edge of the base held firmly against the template. Remove the waste carefully, working up to the layout lines. Route all of the letters.

5. Next, install a 1/2-in.-diameter forstner bit in a drill press, and bore the two peg holes 1/2 in. deep at the marked locations on the template. After drilling, you're finished with the paper template. You can remove it easily by soaking the paper with mineral spirits, waiting a minute or two and then peeling it off. Wipe away any residual spray adhesive with more mineral spirits.

6. Refine the letter shapes as needed and remove any ragged wood fibers with a sharp craft or utility knife. Choose a bright water-based craft paint for your letters, and paint them in with a small brush. A damp paper towel will make it easy to wipe away any extra paint from the edges of the letters.

7. When the letters dry, consider how you'll hang your safety sign in the shop. You could just drive a couple of long brad nails through the face and into a wall stud (it is a shop project, after all!). Or, for a less conspicuous approach, a couple of routed keyhole slots with screws will also work nicely.

8. Glue some pegs into your sign to hang items.

9. Add a few more light coats of finish to seal in the letter paint and to protect the pegs. Once the finish cures, you're ready to hang your new sign. Locate it in a prominent place so putting on your safety gear will always be the first order of the day when working with power tools.

10. Finally, a place to stow your safety gearnd a good reminder to use it.

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