Making Two Signs - hand routing

In this video I'll be working on two sign projects.
The first is a commission for one of my Patrons on Patreon.  He asked for a house sign named "The Redlands", and for that I'll be using a piece of what I first thought was a wood called utile, but after posting a picture of the sign on Instagram, a couple of people commented about it potentially being walnut.  I'm not sure, but whatever it is, it's  a really nice piece of wood - you can see here in the corner where I used my handplane to get a better look at the grain.  I bought this piece several months ago as an offcut at my local restoration yard.
And the second project is to re-name this sign for my parent's summer house.  This is a piece of log sliced at an angle, and I'm not sure what wood this is either, but because the face is end grain rather than side grain, I knew it was going to be a bit more of a challenge to work on it.  
I worked on these projects a few weeks apart from one another but rather than making two short videos I thought it'd be interesting to combine the two projects in to one video.
First I needed to prepare the wood for the two projects.  The summer house sign was painted black with some white stickers on top which were already beginning to flake off, the sign was poorly made, and you could barely even tell that it was a piece of wood.  I first used my heat gun and a filler knife to help remove the paint from the faces. As soon as the paint started to bubble up it scraped off pretty easily.
And I did the same to the back of the sign too.
For the edges of the sign, I couldn't remove the paint so easily so I decided to just burn it off using my blowtorch, and I wore a respirator while doing this because I didn't want to breathe in any dodgy fumes.
I then used a wire brush to clean off some of the charred wood.  Basically what I was trying to do is make it look like tree bark again, and it worked pretty well.
To further clean up the faces, I used my belt sander starting with 40 grit and then 80 grit.  I didn't want to get it perfectly smooth, I wanted to retain some of the character like the bandsaw blade marks on the wood.
And as I had the blow torch out I thought I'd have some fun adding a bit of colour to the face of the sign to give it an aged look, mostly around the edges to give it a border, or vignette kind of effect.  And here you can see those bandsaw blade marks running from top to bottom which I liked the look of.  Then I did a bit of hand sanding
To prepare the walnut, utile, or whatever wood it was I ran it through the thickness planer. If this was for a piece of furniture or something, then I would joint one face, and then thickness plane the opposite face to get it perfectly flat and consistent thickness, but this piece was pretty good and straight anyway and as it's a sign it doesn't really need to be prepared to that extent.
The wood looked absolutely beautiful when it was cleaned up - a really nice piece.  I did get a bit of snipe from the planer which you can see here, but that didn't matter as I needed to trim that piece off later anyway.
I for the wording printed up in the font that the client wanted, and I used a glue stick to stick it to the face of the wood, and here I'm just checking that I stuck it on straight.
I chose a V groove router bit for this, that way I could adjust the cutting depth of the bit to get the right thickness for the letters.
And I used a speedsquare to help guide the base of the router to keep the vertical lines nice and straight.  I did the curves free hand.
I'm using a trim router here, but the better tool to use is probably a plunge router so that you can plunge down more safely to get the cuts started.  I do have a plunge router but I've never really liked using it, for some reason I much prefer using a trim router with one hand, and I just keep a really firm grip on it, especially when plunging down at an angle.  But I wouldn't recommend doing it this way - it's just what I'm more comfortable with.
I used an old chisel to get the paper off.
The letters looked really good, but they did need a little bit of clean up work which I did with a sharp chisel.  Like here on the h where I slipped with the speed square a little bit - that serves me right for not clamping it down.
I did the same again with the summer house sign, although I used a straight router bit for that instead of the V groove bit because these letters were thicker so I couldn't just do them in one pass. And I couldn't use a speed square here either because there was no straight edge to reference off, so I did it all free hand.  
By the way "Digby" is the name of my mum and dad's cat, who spends a lot of his time in their summer house.  The original name on the sign was "Jessica" and it was like that when they moved in to the house.  Maybe Jessica was a cat too.  Who knows?
It was really difficult to see what I was doing because I was wearing a respirator and that kept fogging up my safety glasses so I had to keep stopping to give them a clean.
Then I could chisel the letters and this was really difficult because I was chiselling in to end grain so getting the bottom of the letters smooth was tricky.
I used an exterior grade white paint for the lettering, and once dry I re-coated - I think it got three coats in total.
Back to the house sign now, and the client wanted a leaf from a copper birch tree on the sign, and he kindly sent me this photo.
I first made some reference marks for size, and then I sketched out a leaf, free hand.  Once I was happy with that I went over the pencil marks with a Sharpie so they were more visible.
I raised the router bit so that the lines would be thinner, and did the free=hand routing following the lines.
And I did the same on the opposite side of the sign, marking up the same size but this time with the leaf mirrored.
I thought I had some artist paint brushes but I couldn't find any so I ended up cutting down a larger brush.
Then I could apply paint to the leaf, and all the letters too.
Again, I applied three coats.
Then with a 80 grit sanding belt I could remove the excess paint from both signs.
I used my air blower to clean off the dust
For finish I decided to us teak oil on both signs.  This showed up some areas where I hadn't completely removed some of the white paint from the grain. So I used a kife blade to scrap that away, and applied oil again.  The end grain sign really soaked up the oil quickly so I just kept re-applying leaving it for half an hour or so and then wiping away any excess and repeating that until it completely stopped soaking in.  That should give the signs a good level or protection from moisture.
I did some sanding with my random orbit sander on the house sign to remove any marks left my the sanding belt.  I also planed the edges of the sign by hand and added a subtle round over to the front edges too.
Then I applied oil, and again I needed to scrape away some of the paint in the grain.
I got as much oil in to the end grain as I could again.  This got several coats of oil too until it stopped soaking in
Then I added my makers mark to the back of each of the signs.
And that was both signs finished.