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Thread: Grave Marker

  1. #1

    Default Grave Marker

    I'm carving a grave marker for a close friend of mine who recently lost her fiance.

    I'm carving it out of oak, and plan to put SEVERAL coats of spar urethane on it. Any other special considerations I need to take into account, since this will be exposed to the elements 24/7? When I give it to her, I'm going to note that it will either need to be continually refinished every so often or replaced eventually.

    Another question I have, since the board is only 0.75" thick is - how to I attache some kind of stake to the back so it'll mount into the ground? I was thinking a small block, cut at an angle (so the carving isn't horizontal) that the carving would mount to. I'd maybe drill a hole into the block as well, to accept a dowel or stake of some kind. As far as attaching the block to the carving, will Tightbond II be enough to hold up to the elements?

    Any other considerations I need to think about? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    New Iberia, la.
    Posts
    1,866

    Default

    One way is to place another 3/4 board the same size as the front, making the marker 1 1/2 thick, but cut 2 slots
    what ever width you want for the stakes. Do not come out the top, this will prevent the rain fron entering from the top.
    check to see the grain is different in direction from the front, place the stakes in position and secure the to the front by
    glue and screws, hope this works out for you. The rectangle is equal to you project
    see attached
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails B8B240C4-1571-48A2-B666-31F3B0AA9B43.jpeg  
    My Shop 1044

    CarveWright START U Team Member

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cleveland Oh.
    Posts
    362

    Default

    Cgav34,
    Why not consider Corian as an alternative in this case. I do 99% of my work in Corian type products, and it holds up quite well outdoors. Paint the letters, sand, then coat with a rattle can spray lacquer and your good to go. My address sign has been up since probably 2010 and looks as good as the day I made it, just a thought... you can get sink cut outs from kitchen and bath remodelers. A lot of times just asking will get you a piece of Corian.
    Gary
    3D Pro Ver. 3.103 Build 14, STL & DXF Importer, Rotary, Conforming Vectors, Centerline- Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo CPU T6500 @ 2.10GHz 4GB Ram 64 bit Operating System using Windows 7

  4. #4

    Default

    I agree with Gary. Also consider Oak turns black when it gets wet & outside in the elements (oak whiskey barrel planters lost their popularity for that reason). I know you said you are going to put a finish on it or need to replace it so make it durable from the start. You could also use cedar or cypress... if you're determined to use wood. Unfortunately markers get stolen or damaged, the groundskeepers at the cemeteries here clean up all markers, flowers, decorations, etc. once a year and throw them away so check into that also. I would give her something she can use or remember her fiance everyday.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    New Iberia, la.
    Posts
    1,866

    Default

    Yes Corian is the way to go for outside markers, I have done a ton inside and out side.
    you can pick up od sizes from solid surface.com .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails C5EB250D-9D5A-45A2-9453-FF848C573D07.jpeg  
    My Shop 1044

    CarveWright START U Team Member

    V - 1.187 and 3.0 too
    With the DC Insert," dust all gone"
    CarveWright Customer Documentation http://www.carvewright.com/2010CWweb/maintenance.htm
    CarveWright Tips and Tricks http://www.carvewright.com/2010CWweb/tips.htm
    www.customcarvingsbyperry.com
    I have often wondered why it is that
    Conservatives are called the "right" and Liberals are called the "left".
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of
    the fool to the left."

  6. #6

    Default

    Never thought about Corian. Looked and called around the shops in the area, but they all deal only with stone.

    What about HDPE? Found a no frills cutting board on Amazon, 12"x18"x1". Kinda wanted something quick, since I was planning on giving it to her the day after Christmas. Not a big fan of the plain white though...

    The design does have a recessed, "concrete" textured area, with a USMC logo and his PD badge in the center, with his name at the top, and dates at the bottom. How well with the HDPE take paint? Letters are centerline carved, and the USMC logo and badge will have black paint to bring out the highlights.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    New Iberia, la.
    Posts
    1,866

    Default

    I resurched the HDPE material and it looks like a good replacment for Corian, I might order a small sample to test for coasters.
    My Shop 1044

    CarveWright START U Team Member

    V - 1.187 and 3.0 too
    With the DC Insert," dust all gone"
    CarveWright Customer Documentation http://www.carvewright.com/2010CWweb/maintenance.htm
    CarveWright Tips and Tricks http://www.carvewright.com/2010CWweb/tips.htm
    www.customcarvingsbyperry.com
    I have often wondered why it is that
    Conservatives are called the "right" and Liberals are called the "left".
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of
    the fool to the left."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Kaukauna, Wisconsin
    Posts
    465

    Default

    Being a short time span you seem to have, tomorrow being the last day you may find any items you may need. I would lean back to the oak. You stated that there are plans to redo in the future. the spar will give you time to do something else if the oak is not working out so well. Urethane glue hold up very well outside, but can be a beast to work with, and you must plat attention during the glue drying process. Titebond II will work well also, and you don't have to watch the drying process as much. Unfinished oak will turn black in the elements due to the acids in which it contains. If you would like to use wood for such a project, there are a few out there that due very all outside. Ipe is an import that will last about 30 years or more outside with no protection. It has been used on flat bed trailers due to it's strength and longevity. Ipe can only be worked with carbide tooling. This side of the big pond there is black locust, which will also give very good outdoor life span. Black locust is getting more popular in the deck building wood. These are both hardwoods.

  9. #9

    Default

    I have had good success in carving in MDF and immediately (after the sanding brush) coat it with a two part epoxy to completely seal it. Once it's enscapulated in the epoxy you can paint it with any good enamel and seal it and it will last for years. I have made dozens of house signs with this technique and it holds up well in the elements.

  10. #10

    Default

    Well, I was going to go the route of the 1"x12"x18" HDPE. Found some stone textured spray paint and was going to paint the letters and graphics black...kind of a faux stone marker.

    Did a couple test carves on 1/2" MDF (painted with the stone texture) to get the carving depths of the graphics right. Went to carve the PVC, but some of the text barely even scratched the surface, not even enough to be seen in some spots. Since I can't change the depth of the text without resizing it, which isn't an option, any ideas what might have caused it? Dull bits maybe? Looked great on the MDF.

    Since the MDF turned out pretty good, I'm rolling with that until I can get her a more permanent solution. I cut a block, that I'll liquid nails to the back of the carving, that has two holes drilled at 30 degrees that accept a couple metal stakes for placing in the ground, to keep the MDF up off the ground. I'm loading everything up with 3-4 layers of Minwax pro-series spar-urethane. Hoping it will last long enough until I can get something a little more durable for her.

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