Woodworking Talk banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My youngest daughter gets married in a month. She has asked me to make a wooden letter "H" to be painted white so the wedding guests can sign their names on it, and she will hang it on the wall in her new home. I'm not a wood worker and I can't decide what material I should use to make the letter. Ordinary plywood has voids in the edges, I'm told furniture grade plywood would not. I have also thought of using MDF fiber board. It wouldn't warp, seems smooth and ready to paint. Can the edges of it be routed smoothly? Which would be stronger for putting eye screws into the edge for hanging?
The "H" will be two feet wide and three feet high so if I use 1/2" material it will be a little heavy.
She thinks she will have to use both sides in order to have room for everyone to sign, and she will flip it over from time to time. That's why I don't want to use plywood that's only smooth on one side. I can get by with 1/2 sheet so price isn't a factor. I just want to make it so it will not warp and will look nice when painted.
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,850 Posts
You might consider birch plywood.
However, MDF is unlikely to warp when "hung" in service.
MDF is hard on router bits even if you can ignore the sparks.
A little filling, a little sanding, should make it paint-ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Even furniture grade ply has voids just fill them and sand it smooth. You could also tape the edges but thats not necessary for a painted project.
 

·
crosseyed & dyslexic
Joined
·
589 Posts
You gave an overall dimension of the letter, but how wide is the actual letter? Maybe 4-5"? The 1/2" mdf would be a good choice, becacuse it doess paint up nicely BUT the edges do have to be sealed or the paint just gets sucked up.
Also I if you are planning on using some sort of eye bolt I would make sure to use something that gives you plenty of thread length.

Or you might consider using some of the light weight sign board
materials that are out there. Here is one example.

http://products.johnsonplastic.com/viewitems/sign-materials/ultra-foam-boards?

Might be worth a visit to a local sign shop and talk with someone there. Good luck!
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,625 Posts
make an "H" from 3 pieces

Use 2 verticals and 1 horizontal, I'd use Poplar as suggested. You can use half laps for the joints by removing 1/2 the material from each piece that laps over the other.



This will require either a tablesaw, radial saw, sliding miter saw OR a handsaw... :eek: some sharp chisels and a marking square. This will be easier than trying to saw out an "H" from a large sheet and get the edges nice and smooth and no filler required. You can hang it from the tops of the "H" but use a pilot drill and some nice long eyebolts OR drill 2 holes and use loops of wire.

Just get the width Poplar you want the letter to be...say 3" or 4" wide and cut the pieces to length. The verticals should be longer than the horizontal of course. :smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,647 Posts
The problem I have with the idea of using MDF is the H is going to be a keepsake and eventually someday it will get wet and will quickly swell up and look bad. I think you would be better off using solid wood and either dowel it together or use half-lap joints like woodenthing has illustrated. Regardless of the material you use you should paint the back side of it too in order to make it more stable. I believe soft maple would be more stable than poplar. I have had some warpage issues with poplar. Pine would work but you would need to be sure to seal the knots with a dewaxed shellac before painting it.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top