A professionally finished poplar plaque with script letters engraved into the poplar. The plaque reflects the enthusiasm of our Trivia team. The plaque is engraved with the team name, and it is placed on the table during our weekly competition. We are the only team with sufficient enthusiasm to have a plaque.
The letters are first handwritten with a pencil onto the surface of the poplar. They are then engraved by tracing the handwriting with a Ryobi Speed Saw using a multipurpose 1/8 inch bit. For clean letters the bit must be sharp. The sharpness is so critical that a new bit is recommended. It is also critical that, while engraving, the tool be moved sufficiently slowly to avoid burning the wood.
After cleaning the letters with a small file, they are spray painted black. The plaque is then sanded to a smooth surface on all sides and edges. The only paint that remains is in the engraved letters.
The plaque is then finished with cherry stain and gloss polyurethane. It is important to lightly steelwool the stain and the polyurethane after each coat. The steelwool smooths the finish and transitions the polyurethane from an unattractive shiny gloss to a smooth, hard surface. Repeat for three or more coats of polyurethane. After the final coat, rub linseed oil into the polyurethane. The resulting finish is smooth, hard, with an attractive gloss. The plaque has a fine furniture look.