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Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to know what tools and equipment you use when creating some of the awesome and fancy patterns/designs on your gravestones.

I will add pictures of what i'm talking about later if that helps.
 

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I, too am curious on how to get the perfect looking indented flat surfaces with the lettering that stands out. I use a dremel for all carving but even with the guide attachment I can never get in between the nooks and crannies done well and wind up stripping off some lettering. We don't have a router or any other fancy equiptment and although I do use an exacto knife occasionally it takes far too long sometimes. Would love to know if those whose do use dremel tools what tips they use to do their work. I don't know the names of them so pics would be great of what you use and what you use it for with the tombstones.
 

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Blood Moon Cemetery
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All I do, is first trace out the pattern unto the tombstone. Once you are happy with it, grab a dremel tool with a multi-purpose cutting kit. Then next part is very important...TAKE YOUR TIME!!! Don't rush anything. If you are very careful, none of the edges or letters will be cut off.
 

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I use a woodburning tool with various nib sizes. The tool melts the foam a little as you go along, giving the lettering and the tombstone an age-weathered look. Great if you are not looking to make the lettering perfectly carved. Make sure you have several nib sizes so that you can use the appropriate size you need without burning away too much of what you want to keep on the stone.
 

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1031 Props
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I first cover my tombstone in blue painters tape. Next i print out what ever lettering i plan on using along with any sort of designs. Then i pin everything in place to make sure it is perfectly lined up. After that i take the pins off of one side of my lettering. This allows me to lift up my lettering to apply spray adhesive and lay it back down on the tombstone perfectly lined up. Once my adhesive is dry, i take a wood burning tool with an exacto blade tip on it and carve around my lettering. After i finish that i remove the tape from the letters i am going to dremel leaving the rest of the tombstone covered with the blue tape. I then dremel out the letters/designs to the depth of my choice. Once i finish that i remove all of the blue painters tape from the tombstone. Next i take my wood burning tool and using a tip that looks similar to a pencil i rough up certain letters and edges of the stone. Once i am satisified its off to be painted and then ready for display.
 

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Defender of Blucky Honor
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If your using blue or pink foam, you can use just about any woodworking tool (The foam even seems to have a "grain" to it). I use rasp for rough forming, then I sand it.

For weathering I use Acetone to eat away the foam.

You should check out Terra's video's, they are a great place to start.

Also, Mr. Chicken's blog show how to make the lettering using the hot end of your glue gun.

You can also go buy or make wooden letters to get the raised effect.

Here are some of my tools I use:
Hot Wire - Wire cutter
Dremel with plunger kit
Stanley shave all rasp
Wood working rasp of different sizes and shapes
Wood carving tools of different shapes
Various wood files
Band Saw
Jig Saw
Sandpaper
Acetone
Router
Hot Glue Gun
Imagination
 

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Mourning Rose Manor
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As far as carving the epitaphs, I use the dremel cutting guide and and flat topped, fine tip (can't find the number right now) - looks similar to this:

http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Pop-ups/Pages/ProductImages.aspx?pid=9901&tab=1

I always try and choose an open font - otherwise you can lose the center of the E's and the center of the I's very easily. Plus, I don't follow my pen markings exactly if it looks like it's going to tear it off (which has happened). If it does, you can glue the center piece back on.

For some of the details, alot of us add other objects. I like to use the woodworking carvings that they sell at Home Depot, Lowe's, ebay, etc. They have great detail and are very lightweight to add on. You can also use figurines, etc. - just about anything you can find. People use anything from Barbie dolls to styrofoam coolers. Recycling at its finest!!
 

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cheap and easy
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I'm working on a NEW technique that will make spending hours and hours on details a thing of the past.

I think this has the potential to be really big and cheap to make and most importantly EASY to do. If it works out like I plan a person can make a professional looking stone with raise letters and just about any other detail you want.......All with in ONE HOUR not counting painting.

Terra makes professional looking stones so I will use one of her's as a example. No more carving out raise letters or gluing on the angle or other details. And the best part......you can repeat the Stone over and over and get the same look every time.

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Also it will make it easier and quicker to get great detail work on Entrance Gate and again I will use Terra's (because she does great detail work). I bet everyone would love to get such detail work....WITHOUT carving or layer of foam board. Maybe you can!

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I'm trying to get this finished by this Halloween but it might not be ready till after Halloween. Like I said I want it to be so simple EVERYONE can do it. Till then I wont release it but I will have some test pictures, hopefully by next week.
 

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I use an x-acto knife to cut all my letters in and to add any crack or other designs...put it in at a 45 degree angle and your all good...it may sound hard but I feel I have more control.
 

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Foamcore and a dreamel = best combo in the world!
 

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also a light grade sand paper gets great details
 

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Seer of All
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I use an x-acto knife to cut all my letters in and to add any crack or other designs...put it in at a 45 degree angle and your all good...it may sound hard but I feel I have more control.
This is exactly what I do. If you get the right depth and angle on your knife, they pop right out perfect every time! Plus changing blades often is super-important; if the blade gets even slightly dull, it will drag and you risk losing detail. I agree about control - I don't think I could do as well with a dremel.
 

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I would choose an exacto over a dremel any day - if i only had access to one tool. Same reason - I like little details, fine cracks, etc. and I have never been able to achieve the same control with the dremel as i can with the xacto.
 
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