Best Machine That Cuts Wood Letters, Shapes, and Monograms

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For those passionate about woodworking or in the business of carpentry, achieving precision and accuracy when crafting wood letters, shapes, or monograms is paramount. Thankfully, there exist specialized machines designed to facilitate this intricate process.

In this guide, I’ll introduce you to the perfect tools for effortlessly cutting letters, shapes, and monograms into wood, ensuring your projects are executed with the utmost precision and efficiency.

1. CNC Router

A computer numerically controlled (CNC) router is designed for milling, drilling, and cutting various materials. 

Some CNC routers may perform nearly the same functions as milling machines. Primary uses include replacing a hand-held router for cutting, engraving, and carving tasks. 

operating CNC router



My Top Pick for a CNC Router: Genmitsu CNC Machine 4040-PRO

Most CNC tasks can be completed in any workspace. But spindle switching is made easier by a newly built Z-axis carriage in this Genmitsu CNC Machine

Also, you can use this for the non-Z-axis carriage, but additional screw holes are needed to install the larger spindle higher for overfeed.

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2. Laser Cutter

Unlock the power of laser cutting to effortlessly slice through and etch on different sheet thicknesses. Talking about cutting, it’s all about harnessing the incredible might of a laser beam. 

This laser beam is like a super-focused stream of light that can quickly crank up the temperature in a tiny spot to extreme levels. 

laser cutter

This causes the target material to melt or vaporize quickly, allowing the spot to penetrate the material’s thickness quickly and precisely.


woodworking projects with laser cutter


My Top Pick for a Laser Cutter: 40W Laser Engraver, JICCODA L1 5W

In a single pass, this 40W JICCODA L1 laser engraver can cut through 6mm pine boards and 3mm acrylic plates with a cutting speed of up to 10,000mm/m. 

This laser engraver accessory is what the air assist bump nozzle on the laser cutter module is designed to work with. It’s easy to use and versatile. 

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3. Router

Router is a versatile tool. It allows for performing various tasks, such as making decorative gouges, edging, and functional connections. There is a wide selection of wood routers on the market, so you can pick the one most suited to your needs.

cutting circle with a router Circle Cutting Jig



My Top Pick for a Router: BOSCH 1617EVSPK Wood 12 Amp Router Tool Combo Kit

As one of the most popular routers for woodworking, this kit’s versatility allows for a wide variety of uses, such as precision bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming, and dovetail cutting. 

(But if your Bosch router starts then stops, here’s an effective way to fix that.)

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4. Water Jet

Water jet

Cutting various materials using a high-pressure stream of water is called “waterjet cutting.” It requires a specialized cutter. 

The waterjet cutter, typically combined with other abrasive particles, only accelerates the process of intense erosion in nature. This technology aids in accelerating the natural erosion process, resulting in more rapid and significant changes to the affected materials or surfaces.



5. Jigsaw

There is no better instrument than a jigsaw for precisely cutting intricate forms from various materials. The only thing you’ll need is a sharp knife. 

Complex shapes can be cut with this powerful instrument, as it can make compound and bevel cuts in boards and other materials. But, I suggest using an accurate CutList optimizer to make the most out of your wood and other resources.  

Best Jigsaw for Cutting Letters on Wood: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jigsaw

The cordless jigsaw’s brushless motor provides powerful performance and increased runtime (vs. DCS331 Jig Saw). It’s the best jigsaw for its manageable size, maintaining firm control over the jigsaw simple. I like this jigsaw’s LED light helping us to see in low-light conditions. 

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6. Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a little saw that can be powered by a foot pedal or electric current and is used to cut complex curves in wood, metal, and other materials. Its blade’s precision makes it superior to a power jigsaw and a hand-coping saw or fretsaw in terms of ease of use.

Best Scroll for Cutting Wood Letters: WEN 3921 16-Inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw with Work Light

The original layout of the WEN 3921 scroll saw features a reversible blade holder (both straight and at a 90-degree angle) for a long-lasting cutting capacity. 

The ratio of strokes per minute is variable between 400 and 1600. The 16×11-inch table tilts 45 degrees to the left for diagonal cuts. 

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Picking a Machine for Cutting Wood Letters: A Buying Guide

Number of Signs

Determine the volume of signs you plan on producing. If you plan on making many signs, a machine with a high production capacity will be required. A smaller machine may suffice if you’re making only a few signs or just for personal use.

Size of Signboards & Letters

The size of your signboard and letters will determine the size of the machine you need. If you plan to create large signs or letters, you will need a device with a larger cutting area. For smaller signs, a smaller machine will do.

Type of Wood

Consider the type of wood you’ll be cutting. Some machines work better with specific types of wood, so ensure that the machine you choose can handle the wood you intend to use [1].

treated lumber

Ideal Wood Types for Sign Making & Lettering

How to Cut Letters on Wood

  1. Select a high-quality wood for letter cutting.
  2. If you’re a novice, begin practicing on discarded plywood.
  3. Sketch out your letters on paper.
  4. Affix, trace, and duplicate the letters onto a sheet of plywood.
  5. Carve the letters.
  6. Sand and shape the letters.
cutting letters with CNC router

Why Not Order Premade Letters?

Ordering pre-made letters may be a good option for some projects, particularly if you need a small number of letters and shapes or a specific font or design you need help creating yourself.


Can you use regular router bits on a CNC router?

You can use regular router bits on a CNC router. Thus it’s important that the router bit can remove wood swiftly, even under heavy pressure. The type of CNC equipment woodworkers may use many spiral router bits with no problems.


Finding the perfect tool for cutting wooden letters, shapes, and monograms can be a bit tricky, like solving a puzzle. But, when you invest wisely in a high-quality wood-cutting machine, you unlock a whole realm of opportunities. 

This tool allows you to create custom signs, decorations, and artistic pieces that match your creative ideas and practical needs with precision and expertise.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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