How to make a stencil kit in software for a wooden 3-foot long bathroom pass for San Jose schools

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Gene E. Bloch wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:34:32 -0700:

At first, I was looking for a "program" which would auto fit the stencil letters onto the wood, given the length of the text and the size of the wood.
But, then, when I googled, I found fonts, which were surprisingly easy to install, and which printed just as easily - so - my tack changed to cutting out the stencils.
Up until that point, I was ready to router, which is about where this thread came in, but, I was soon disabused about the routering idea, and ended up spray painting the stenciled letters.
The neighbor didn't bring it home (she graciously said it worked perfectly, and she waved away my protestations about needing to fix it up); but if I were to do it over again, I think I'd go with the store-bought stickered letters, assuming that I could find them in the proper size.
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Are you kidding? That was always my first project for my carpentry students.
Step 1. Make a shop drawing of what you are writing, and include the size of the letters and spacing and size of the board.
Step 2. Select wood, rough cut it a little large. Surface joint one side to get any "rock" out of it.
Step 3. Plane the opposite side to the thickness specified on the shop drawing.
Step 4. Get one edge straight and square on jointer. Rip to width, adding 1/16" to be jointed off in one pass.
Step 5. Trim the end square then measure and cut to specified length.
Step 6. Layout the lettering onto the wood.
Step 7. Use the router to carve the letters. Used a 1/4" straight bit usually, with 1/2" or wider letters.
Step 8. Sand, stain and clear coat.
You cut the center out of the letters, then get closer and closer to the pencil line, just like when you bandsaw close to the line and use the sander to get down to the exact line. Control of the router is achieved by keeping the side of the hand on the surface, and using your fingers to move it around It teaches about moving the router in climb cuts and how the opposite can cause the bit to dig into the grain and cut deeper than you want. Cutting and truing the wood gets them on most every piece of major shop equipment.
They get to make something pretty neat out of scrap. Some of them turned out pretty darn good.
For those of you hat do not know, I was a high school shop teacher.
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