Embossing wood blocks

Producing embossed ABC blocks is expensive, unless you're doing a bunch of them. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

I would like to learn how to press wood (or find someone who can do it at a reasonable price). For example: press a 2" x 2" block of wood to make an ABC block out of it (with the letter and the borders protruding from the surface and the balance of the surface "press" down).

Wood can be embossed by using a hot die, which means you will need 26 of these dies for each letter of the alphabet!

After embossing, the edges of the design may need a little touch-up or may be acceptable--what is your quality standard? Blocks can also be routed. In fact, sometimes we emboss and get the design close and then finish the design with a router.

If you will have just a small run, you will probably find the cheapest thing to do is to a) buy blocks already made or b) contract with a firm to emboss your blocks. The equipment cost is so high that for a small run, you cannot afford to set up your own operation. One firm that did this was in Louisville, KY--I think that their name was Schmutz. Some of the professional woodworking magazines have ads.

Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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