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Hi there,

Newbie to the forum and amateur woodworker. I have a project on my hands to do a 'Doors of Durin' archway and I'm looking for a little help on it. The design is attached, as well as a picture of the doorway, above which it will be placed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 23.42 October 21.jpg

This is to be fixed to a wall, it's almost 2 metres in diameter and 1m in height. Ignore the stars and crown in the design, just the arch. It will clear the lamp above the door. If you know the Doors of Durin, I'm not doing the side columns, it can't be too expensive or lengthy a job.

At the moment, I was thinking of doing the arch and letters separately; the arch out of 12 or 18mm marine ply or similar sheet material with a raised trim top and bottom, and the letters out of another sheet and glued/doweled onto the front.

It's the letters that are the headache. I'd like some contrast between the letters and background. I have a router and jigsaw which should get me through the cutting; I'd rather not do a relief carving of the letters with the router from a solid piece btw, I'm just picturing a world of problems with keeping the same depth for the background.

So I'm thinking one option might be to cut the letters from a sheet of MDF; it'll give a clean edge, I can paint and glue on the front face easily.
Another option else would be to use some other type of wood, just not an edge-glued sheet and not pine - it won't be able to handle delicate letters and will end up breaking/snapping on me.

Q: For this other type of wood, would hardwood be suitable to cut letter out of? Will it break? What kind of wood should I use?

Q: How would you approach this? Does this sound like a decent plan?

Thanks in advance.
 

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you will need the patience of Job....

If you are planing on either carving out the letters like a relief or cutting them out and applying them to a substrate you will need a lifetime of patience. This would be a perfect job for either a CNC carver or a graphic applique. Now this is just my opinion, and I would love to be proven wrong. It's nothing I would even attempt to do by hand and I've had a few Graphic Design classes at a University Graduate program.


None of the "verticals" on the letters are vertical, but fan out radially from a center point, not that easy to do and keep them correctly oriented. A computer program could easily create them to be milled on a CNC. :yes:
 

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Thanks woodnthings, and love the purist attitude to the verticals. I think a CNC job is out of my budget, but I can give myself more time to do it by hand. I hope you're not right, I've done a similar project like this out of MDF and it hasn't driven me mental. Yet.
My plan would be to print out the image on paper, cut and mark and then rout/jigsaw/drill my way through. So I don't mind the odd vertical out of shape, the image itself looks like it's meant to be handwritten.
I'll let you know if I pack it in :icon_smile:
 

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Thanks woodnthings, and love the purist attitude to the verticals. I think a CNC job is out of my budget, but I can give myself more time to do it by hand. I hope you're not right, I've done a similar project like this out of MDF and it hasn't driven me mental. Yet.
My plan would be to print out the image on paper, cut and mark and then rout/jigsaw/drill my way through. So I don't mind the odd vertical out of shape, the image itself looks like it's meant to be handwritten.
I'll let you know if I pack it in :icon_smile:
Might want to consider a scroll saw for the letters. They range in price from HF @ $100 to an Excaliber at $1000.
 

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Looks nice, how did you do it? Did you cut out individual letters? How? Or did you Paint them? Or Something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I used three panels for the arch, doweled together and then supported at the back with overlapping panels. Letters were cut out using a router V-bit and then stained
 

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Trying to upload photos but not getting much luck...

The legend of the story goes that the letters only lit up in moonlight so I tried replicating this by embedding reflective glass beads into the last coat of stain. It worked really well too, until I put a layer of varnish on top.

And the trim is just moulding stuck around the edge, glued and screwed. Curls were pieces in themselves attached to the rear, couldn't do all 7 on each side because of the triangle over the door.

And the pillars were solid pieces - all of this is edgeglued pine from the local DIY - with panels either glued on top or behind to give a rounded effect.
 
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