Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wood Growth Chart

This project is a little late.  It is something I have planned on doing for the last 3 years and just kept putting off.  Finally after my youngest son ripped the paper chart we have I decided I had to get something more permanent. I have seen all kinds of different options on Pinterest that were all simple enough to make but I just could never find one that really struck my interest.  So combining a few different ideas I came up with my own.

I planned to make a tutorial out of this but it took a lot of trial and error before I finally got it complete and I'm not sure I could tell you all the steps it actually took.  I will tell you how it ideally would have gone.  If you want to try to take this on make sure you do a trial run on a scrap piece of wood!

I started by measuring out the ruler and marking every inch.  Then I took a router with a round bit and routed out the lines.  This surprisingly was the easiest step of the whole process.  I expected it to be the hard part since I have never used a router before.

Next I printed the numbers out to the size I wanted.  Then I took a pencil and scribbled on the back side of each number.  Place the number with the pencil scribbles down on the wood where you want it located and use a pen and trace the number.  The pencil lead will transfer from the back of the number to the wood so you have an outline of your number.

I used a dremel tool to route out the numbers.  I did practice this on a scrap piece of wood before doing it.  I found the easiest way to do it was to gradually work deeper and do several shallow passes.  Doing it this way makes it easier to not lose control of the dremel and get out of the marked lines.

After this was complete I sanded down the surface, starting with an 80 grit sand paper and working up to 220 grit to give it a smooth finished surface.

Finally, the step I thought would be the easiest, and boy was I wrong!  Staining...  First mistake, I used maple wood.  Very hard wood that does not take stain well and since I planned to make it dark this just didn't work.  I went through 4 different finishes wiping off, sanding off, wiping off and finally giving up trying to get it as dark as I wanted.  The wood wasn't the only issue.  The routed out lines and numbers also pooled stain and the amount of time it would take to get back to it to clean out the pooled spots made streaks when I would try to fix it.  So I really don't know how I got to this final finish.  It isn't exactly what I wanted but it will work.

So tip...if you want it darker use a darker wood to start with!

I applied a satin poly to the top to protect the wood and finally it is complete!

I can't wait to get it mounted and my kids marks all over it :)


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