Last week in Appalachia, I had the opportunity to make a new woodworking friend, Bryan Atkins. He has recently gone full-time into the furniture making business with his partner Jodi Kurtz. Kurtz & Atkins Design Co. has found a niche market making custom furniture and home goods from reclaimed wood.
Both of us being guys and woodworking geeks, we spent a couple of days discussing who had what tools. Bryan seems to have caught the Festool bug, while I have been buying whatever large, shiny new tool I can get my hands on lately. During this discussion, I mentioned having the Carvewright CNC carver. Bryan asked if I could carve their logo. I haven’t spent much time actually using the CNC, this seemed like a good exercise.
They sent me a copy of their logo, and I played around with some different variations. The CNC is very good at recreating a hand-carved look, if you have a good 3D model of what you want. Unfortunately, it is not very good at tiny text or at leaving very thin lines protruding. The type of wood makes a very big difference, as well, when it comes to the fine details. The softer woods are good with curving shapes, but not fine details. So, of course I decided to use a scrap piece of plywood for my first test carve. If I can find a variation that looks good carved in plywood, it should look a lot better in hardwood.
After about an hour of playing with raster and vector images, on the computer, I came up with three different variations. I think ultimately I will pull bits from each, but this gives me a good look at my options.
I have four options: Good, better, best, or optimal. Like a printer, Good is the fastest, but the lowest quality. Good would have taken two hours to run, and optimal would have taken six. Since I was starting the carve after 7:00 PM, I opted for “Best”. The carve ran for about four hours, finishing up at 11:45 PM.
When the carve was complete, I ran the buff sander quickly over it to de-fuzz the edges.
Ultimately, as I expected, none of the results were stunning, but I have several examples to show Bryan and Jodi. I actually prefer the relief carve, with the letters protruding, but the tiny letters just disintegrated. I suspect that I will ultimately thicken up the larger letters and leave them protruding, while recessing the smaller ones, so the web address will remain visible. If you look closely, you may be able to see the egg crate pattern on the center one. I threw that in for effect. I don’t know if they will want something like that, but I hadn’t tried it yet, so I threw it in. It actually feels really cool and leaves a neat grain effect.
I will keep plugging away at it, until we come up with something they can use, but its past midnight again and I go to work in about five hours, so I am done for the day.