Try Something New

Try something new. This winter, I’ve incorporated three new techniques into my repertoire: my laser engraver/cutter for small lettering, crushed stone inlay, and the use of acrylic pens for coloring the lettering—a bonanza of new tools and techniques.
Each new method resolved either a problem or added some dynamic element to my work. The laser solved the issue I was having with small lettering. The acrylic pens were fine-tipped and eased the coloration of the small letters. The crushed stone inlay was something I had seen in promotional videos but didn’t see as something I would use. I’ll talk about it in greater detail below.

As is frequently the case, a specific need made me look for a solution, and the crushed stone inlay came to mind. The small signs I was working on had sailboats and sailing ships at their tops. The hand-carved designs were sailing on carved seas over the lettering. I wanted to add just a wee bit of drama to the scene, and the crushed stone would add texture and color while giving the appearance of the vessels sailing in heavy seas.
The effect is straightforward to achieve; with a gouge or v-tool, carve a groove below the hull. You then take your crushed stone ( green colored in this case) and fill in the groove, making sure to fill it while not overly generous. You then dribble very thin cyanoacrylate cement over the crushed stone. Within seconds the inlay hardens. I allowed everything to be thoroughly cured and then daubed in the whitecaps with a stippling brush and off white acrylic paint. The key to this technique is not overdoing either the stone or the cement.
This one and the Pert Lowell sign I designed specifically to offer the opportunity to play with new techniques and tools, and I was pleased with the results.

I procured the crushed stone and thin cyanoacrylate cement from a company called Treeline ( They have a simple but descriptive video on the technique; I have no commercial relationship with the company.