I was so excited to be able to do this project. It was something I could create that would be used for many years and be able to be referenced throughout the life of our child.
There are a number of different designs on Instagram, Pinterest with difference levels of difficulty to put together, but I’m going to show you and explain my own.
I took a 6′ piece of 1×6 pine board to start. I measured out my marks at every inch. Then I ran in through my table saw to actually cut an 1/8″ slot (saw blade width) at each measurement mark with longer cuts at the foot marks.
I then took a 1″ piece of oak and ripped it with the table saw at an 1/8″ thick. I had to be careful it wasn’t too thick or it would not fit in the slots. I then cut the oak strip into 1″ pieces so I could glue and fit them into each slot of my pine measuring board. This gives the project a slightly different wood, a different grain direction, and both woods soak stain differently.
Once the glue dried I trimmed off the remaining oak pieces and then sanded the edge and face and the back to make it all smooth all around to get rid of any glue drips and to accommodate any differences in seating the oak pieces.
Next came the stencil for the numbers and his name. I just used my computer. My wife (Jill) had seen a trick to transfer these items onto wood so that you didn’t have to cut out your letters and trace them. The easy way is the use your pencil to shade the entire piece of paper on the back where the numbers/letters would be, then you place on your wood and use that same pencil to trace and colour in the printed side. The graphite from you pencil shading will actually transfer to the wood underneath. Thanks honey for the trick it saved me a ton of time.
I then used a 1/8″ bit for my plunge router at about 1/8″ depth and cut out the letters and numbers. This was my favourite part, but by far the most stressful.
To round things off at the edges, I used a 1/4″ roundover bit just to make things less harsh on the edges.
I gave it one more sanding to prepare it for stain. I used a small paint brush to apply the stain into the letter and number cutouts and really soaked it. Then I used a rag and applied stain to the rest of the wood, edges, front, etc.
The stain I had was some leftover for a previous project so I just used it but it was a bit too dark for the face, but that’s ok, the effect of the stain soaking into the grain, then sanding off the top layer gave quite a punch to the wood grain which is a look I love.
I finished it off with a satin polyurethane (if you go too glossy, some markers/pens won’t stick).
All done, and if my wife and I have another child, I can always router his/her name into the other side and use the same project since my oak inlay goes through both sides.
Cheers and feel free to comment, like, share.