Carving wood type: router bits and typeface rights

Hello Printers,

I am slowly working on an experiment creating wood type from an ex-maple-tree.

A couple of questions for those in the know…

One, is a 1/8th inch router bit fine enough to do 144pt+ type? 1/16th bits typically break within a few minutes in my other hardwood projects.

Two, does anyone know the rules pertaining to copyrights and typefaces? How far back do I have to go to find a typeface that I can replicate without stepping on toes?

Hopefully, once I get my typeface specimens down I will be able to produce a face or two by springtime.



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Also, I have been creating my endgrain medallions freehand with a chainsaw, but if anyone has a better system I would love to hear it. I have a lot more wood to chop.


my first batch will probably be done on a CNC router, but I am hoping to devise/acquire an old style pantographic router. I would appreciate any suggestions or recommendations for the pantograph as well.

I was wondering the same thing myself! I am going to use League Gothic (from the league of movable type) for now. It was originally designed by ATF, but is now public domain.

the router attachment I am planning on using from Home Depot:

Youtube video of router in use: