Idea for sign/plaque stock

This is probably in the wrong place and I hope one of the moderators will move it where it belongs. This also may be something that is old hat to more experieced people but I thought I would throw it out there in case it may help someone.

My Shapeoko will be here sometime tomorrow so I will be able to actually start doing something with it (like put it together) rather than theorizing. One thing tha is giving me a problem is that the local lumber yard only carries construction type material. No cabinet grade plywood to be had, no MDF and no hardwood anything. My nearest big box store is 70 miles away and the nearest place where hardwood in any quantity is to be found is 120 miles. Given that, I’ve been trying to look through my scrap bit to see what I could use for either sign or plaque blanks. At least for learning purposes, I don’t want to go out and buy a lot of wood to play with. I’d rather use what I have on hand until I get more experienced with the machine.

Well, one thing that I have a lot of is some cut-offs from cedar fencing since I replaced a lot of fencng around the house last summer. I thought that maybe I could use that if it would clean up reasonabbly. I took a look and most of it was cupped/bowed/twisted to the point that it couldn’t be used alone but I have a small jointer and a lunchbox thickness planer so what do Ihave to lose. I jointed the edges of a couple of pieces and flattened it through the planer until it was reasonably flat then laminated it onto a piece of scrap plywood. After a couple of more passes through the planer and a bit of trimming off non-square edges and snipe, the result is below:

Not bad for something that started life as scrap and, at least, usable to learn on. As a side note, if any of you keep small animals, flattening these on the planer produced enough cedar shavings to keep your animal in bedding for quite a while.

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The pitch in it is going to gum up your bits fairly quickly, so be ready with a recipe (you can find them online) for cleaning blades and bits.

But otherwise, carry on.

I’ve had pretty good luck using Simple Green for pitch removal, enough so that I keep a container of it around the shop along with an old toothbrush just for that purpose. Thanks for the heads up, though.

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Nice bit of wood!

On the subject of using wood shavings — while cedar is the traditional choice / safe, many wood species can be dangerous to animals, so please, if doing this, be careful to not mix in anything which might do a creature harm.

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