Cutting holes to make a sign

My father asked me this question, and I didn't have much in the way of advice. He's retired, which means he's perpetually looking for something to do. Unfortunately, he's 150 miles away, or I could give him plenty to do. One of his little projects is making outdoor signs. The signs are meant to go over an entrance to your property, typically where your lane meets the road (mostly country folk would have such a thing). He makes them out of hedge (osage orange). Typically, he starts with a log roughly 10 feet long and 8 inches in diameter. Where the name will go, he uses a chain saw and cuts either side of the log to reduce the width to about 3 inches. He gets to this part OK. Where he is having trouble is in making the name. What he has been doing is using a spade bid of the proper size, drilling several holes to make the letters, then clearing out the waste. Apparently, this is hard on the drills, not to mention the bit. He blew up one drill doing it, then bought (as he put it) the best Dewalt corded drill, which proceeded to twist the shaft of the spade bit. He asked me if a router would help and I said that we might be able to work with a router with a spiral upcut. We may try it when I go down to visit later this month, but I'm open to any other suggestions re: better bits (Forstner maybe?) or better methods. I think a drill press would be tricky with a piece this large.
todd
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What about using a sawz-all?
djb
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"todd" writes:

This job begs to be set up with fixtures, definitely not hand work.
A drill press would work but be difficult to position the log properly.
An alternate would be a steel table and a magnetic base, portable drill press. Definitely not a low cost approach; however, it would be easier to locate this unit on the steel table.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Has he tried a more worthy bit? Something that cuts instead of ripping. I like a ship auger in a slow turning drill motor.
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I wonder if a rotary saw (ie Rotozip)would work. They might have a bit for just such a thing. Don't know if they'll hold up though. Osage (or Hedgeapple in Ohio) Is mighty hard stuff. I've made sparks fly off the chainsaw before. I say use the osage for firewood and make the signs out of softer wood.
Kevin

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todd wrote:

I'm not familiar with it but it is allegedly a very dense hardwood. In my experience the typical wood sign is made out of a softer wood such as pine or cedar.
What I'd do is ask folks who sell these signs how they make them; there are plenty out there, and they even seem to have ways of doing it with detailed, professional sign fonts.
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You didn't have to give us the old Geezer's life story. Please, regulars! Let us try to get this group back on topic and leave the gravy out! Like anyone is interested in your Dad's personal life.
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nice try, but your address gave you away. Not very clever you are.
BRuce (the real one)
BRuce wrote:

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For production, look at a big router, a guide bush and letter stencils.
For quick hacking, a Roman or Engraver font (originally designed to be chiselled) and an Arbortech (disk in an angle grinder) will work, but it's quite skill dependent. Arbortechs are _not_ the same as those evil chainsaw circlets. They also do a carbide tipped version, that might be useful for osage orange.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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