How to Save Ink When Printing Large Fonts for Signs, etc.

I make a lot of signs and I’ve seen many bloggers that do the same.

However, some of you are printing out your letters and numbers in full solid black ink.  Did you know that if they are large letters you can just print out the outline?  Usually that is all you need anyway.

I use the carbon paper transfer technique where I print the words on my home printer and then put a piece of carbon paper between the printed words and the wood.  I show it more detailed here in this blog post

And that post shows my fonts printed as solid filled in letters.  This was a few years ago before I discovered that there was a way to just print the outlines.

Now I print just the outlines so they look more like this:



Okay, here’s the steps:

·       Open your word program (I use Microsoft Word Starter 2010 which came free with my computer, other programs may be different, but most should have this option for outlining.)
·       Go to the Home Tab if you are not already there
·       Type your word or words in the font you prefer and enlarge to the size you want. (I find with small or thin fonts I don’t worry about the letter being filled in because it won’t save much or any ink anyway.)
·       Highlight the text you want to outline.
·       While still at that Home Tab, look for the small “Font” heading under where you have chosen your font and also under the place where you select Bold, Italic and Underline, etc. Click on the tiny arrow to the right of where it says “Font” and to the left of where it says “Paragraph” 
·       You should be in a box with two tabs, Font and Advanced.  You should be in the Font tab, if not, select that.
·       At the bottom click on “Text Effects” 
·       This will take you to another box and the first thing should be “Text Fill,” for this application (outlining) select “No Fill”
·       Do not Close yet, pick the next heading down on the left which is “Text Outline” and select “Solid Outline” and then choose Black or what you prefer for the colour.  I leave the Transparency at “0 %”
·       Click Close to get out of that box and then OK to get out of the first Font box.

Your letters should then show as outlined!

At this point you can still highlight them and change them or make them bigger or smaller by using the original Font name and size box.

 I hope that this has helped some of you, it certainly has saved me a lot of ink over the past couple of years. Thanks to Deb of Lake Girl Paints for encouraging me to write this and helping me to test it out.

Sharing at these blogs:
Cedar Hill Ranch’s The Scoop

More about wood movement

This post is an attempt to further explain wood movement and how it relates to furniture building.

While I’m not an expert by any means, I do know some basics of wood movement.

Most of you will have seen, or have in your own homes, cupboard doors, or even interior doors that are made of solid wood.  In many cases, these doors will have a panel in the middle of a frame.  Have you ever wondered why and how it is built?

In most cases, if the the middle part (the panel) is solid wood it is not firmly attached to the outer frame, it’s known as floating.  This enables the wood to expand and contract with changes in household humidity. The frame, made with stiles and rails, has grooves in it that the panel sits inside without being glued in.

When the humidity changes (and it will unless you have a precise heating/cooling/humidifier system in your house that can keep the humidity constant no matter what the conditions are outside) the panel will move inside the frame and the door will not crack.

Perhaps you have, or have seen an antique with a cracked door or drawer bottom?  This is usually caused by wood that is expanding and contracting, and is trapped between other pieces of wood.

Now, if the panel is plywood, then you will not have any changes in size and it can be glued in the frame without worries.

One of my readers asked if table tops was one of the biggest issues in wood movement.  It is one of them, but any where that wood is trapped and cannot expand and contract, it will be a problem.  This could occur in the bottom of a drawer, which is often why plywood is used there. It could occur on a headboard, the sides of a bedside table, the back of a cupboard, anywhere really where wood is trapped.

This reader also asked about making the kerf cut in the table apron to hold tabletop clamps that allow the wood to expand and contract. (You can see what she was referring to in my last post here.)

from Lee Valley

I use a tablesaw to make the kerf, but you could also use a router, or a circular saw set to the proper depth.

There are other methods of attaching table tops and this article from Fine Woodworking (an excellent magazine) explains them quite well.

I hope this helps a bit, and I will write more soon.  I was also asked about pocket screws and will write about  that sometime.

Please Don’t Make a Table Like This

I am seeing plans like this all over the internet
 DIY Dining Set

There are people with their own blogs making this type of table and thinking they are saving money.

Many of these plans, including the one above are completely the wrong way to build.

Here’s a posting in a woodworking forum from someone who used that exact plan:

I’m fairly new to “fine” woodworking and undertook a project of building a table from a Lowes Creative Ideas magazine.
I have the table built and but the top has twisted so bad that the table rocked. So I trimmed the legs to level it after some reading online but the top has continued to twist. I installed table leveling feet before I could see how bad the top actually is.
Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to fix this? I put 3 coats of poly on the top and 1 on the bottom of the wood slats.
Every time I look at the table sitting in our kitchen I’m so disgusted and am wishing we would have just bought one, but we’ve spent the money and the finish of the table is nice – it’s just so twisted and visible. Any help is appreciated.

I’ve written here before about using construction lumber for a project, but I’m just a little blog and the message hasn’t got through, so I’m trying again.

There is a way to make things, and a way to make things that will last.  


Wood moves.

                      Wood.                       Moves.

Depending on the season and climate, wood can and does change size.  Wood in a dry environment shrinks and in a humid environment expands. This change takes place widthwise, not in the length of a piece of wood, and is due to the internal structure of wood.   Wood pieces that are placed side by side against each other and attached to something, or pieces that are trapped in a frame, will crack or warp. Table tops made of solid wood cannot simply be screwed down.
Also please note that construction lumber is not made for furniture.  2 x 10s, 2 x 8x, 4 x 4s and 2 x 4s are not kiln dried to the water content that wood for furniture is. Have you ever sat a 2 x 4 in your house for a few days?  It usually will end up looking like a hockey stick.  
Construction lumber is not sold to be used for furniture.

The top should first have all pieces glued together side by side then attached with Z shaped clamps which you can see here:
and I used for my lamp table

If you use some of these incorrect plans your table, bed or chair might look good at the start, but will not last. Unfortunately there are people offering plans that are not properly designed.  You may end up with something cheap, but you will most certainly be disappointed and get what you paid for.
I am willing and happy to answer any and all questions about woodworking.
Linking up here:
Elizabeth & Co.                                 Primitive and Proper
Sew Woodsy                                             Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style                                No Minimalist Here
The Shabby Creek Cottage                        Remodelaholic  
The Brambleberry Cottage                        aka design
Miss Mustard Seed                                   My Repurposed Life
Sassy Sites                                                Funky Junk Interiors
Be Different Act Normal                          Sisters of the Wild West
Under the Table and Dreaming

Making Thicker Twine – Tips #2

Do you ever find that you need some twine thicker than what you already have?
I make my own twine thicker (try saying that 3 times) and it’s easy to do, here’s how:
Here’s my regular type twine, much too thin to use for hanging any thing
Figure out how long you need your FINISHED length to be.
Multiply by two and add a few inches for your cutting length and cut three or more pieces of twine to that determined length.
(example I needed about 16 inches so I went with 3 pieces at 36″ cut length)
Unfortunately my photo of the next step was blurred, so I’ll just explain it.
Hold the three twine pieces together and firmly with one hand holding each end and as far apart as you can keep them so that the twine is tight.  Twist the twine tightly (if you are right-handed twist between your right thumb and index finger) and keep twisting and twisting until you don’t think you can twist any more.

By eye, figure out approximately where the middle is of your twisted twine.  Keeping the whole thing taut, put that either around a nail, or a door knob or anything that can hold the middle for a few seconds. Don’t let go or the twist will come undone. Your twine will then be doubled with the middle over the door knob and the twisted cut ends all in your hand.

Carefully take the end off the door knob and holding the cut ends only let the thing twist itself together.  It will just do that on it’s own.

You can neaten it up a bit, but it will remain all twisted upon itself and won’t come undone.

The next photo shows the difference between the original twine and the thicker twine:

You get a nice thick twine that can be used for a handle, a sign hanger, or whatever!
Here’s a sneak peak of what I used it for, you can see the completed project here

I’ve used it before on the tops of my wood buoys you can see here

Hopefully this helps someone else make some twine!

Showing this tip at these great blog parties:

Avoiding Splinters – Tips #1

I’ve been wanting to write a few posts about woodworking tips for a long time and I’m finally getting around to it.  What prompted me to do it today was a question on another blog Funky Junk Interiors where a follower asked  how to “keep away” splinters.

Splinters are known technically in the woodworking world as “tearout.”   Tearout occurs when using a lot of different tools, today I will focus on tearout from a mitre saw.

The reason you get tearout is because the last part of the wood you are cutting is not backed by anything, it’s headed into an open space. Woodworkers make them for their table saws and they are called a ZCI.  The technical short form term for a “zero clearance insert!”

On the mitre saw this might show you what I mean:

That far edge needs something behind it so that the wood fibres are supported.

What I do to avoid getting splinters like this, is put a backer board against the front of the mitre saw’s fences.

If you are doing a lot of cuts then you can clamp a board there, if just one or two, you can place any narrow scrap piece of wood between the one you are cutting and the fence while you cut your piece. 

This is a piece of plywood clamped in place for multiple cuts:

I then make a cut in it with the saw:

As you can see, the space left is only the exact width of the blade.

(If you are doing angled cuts, you will need a backer piece that is angled the same as your cut.)

* These backer pieces stay in place while you cut your boards that you are trying to avoid splinters on*
Push your piece up tightly against the backer boards.  When you cut, what would be splinters has no where to go, and cuts cleanly. 

Here you can see the backer board, standing up, and the board you are cutting, laying down:

Here’s the before and after cuts I made, on the same pieces of wood, completely unedited to show the difference without a backer board and with one:

I hope this helps you when making your wood creations.