Gold Leaf Shop Sign

A shop sign I made for my father for his birthday. Designed in Illustrator and programmed in Estlcam.

This made from a panel of solid 3/4" Cherry. The CNC milling consists of 3 separate programs - the saw and border milling 1/16" deep with a 1/8" down cut, a 1/16" deep chamfer with a 60° V, and a V carve and 45° 1/4" deep outside chamfer with a 90° V.

Once the milling was done I used a 2" wide beast of a chisel to give a hand hewn look to the background. First across the grain to tear out the material and then with the grain to produce distinctive chisel marks and clean it up.

3 coats of shellak were applied and then gold leaf was added to V carve and the border. 3 more coats of shellak were added to seal. Wax and buff.

I really like how the gold leaf gives dimension to the V carve and it was relatively easy to apply it. Very happy with the results.


Very nice work! I’ll bet a big hit with your Dad.


That is absolutely stunning. Every aspect of that is just amazing, the design all the way to the execution. Wow, you are extremely talented.



Holy sh*t!

I think the gold leaf needs an adhesive, is that right?
Did you paint it into the vcarve? Or carve with a mask?
Those edges are SUPER clean, very impressive.


Yes it does need adhesive in this application. What I did was apply 3 coats of clear water based finish first. Don’t use oil based clear coat if your adhesive is water based. Paint the adhesive into the v carve working in sections. You don’t have to be perfect with the adhesive.

Applying gold leaf takes some practice and patience. Luckily imitation gold leaf looks great and is super cheap so mistakes aren’t expensive.

Now you can sand/scrape the surface to get rid of any rouge leaf and clean it up. Then take a exacto knife and lightly scrape the perimeter to make the edges nice and crisp. Finish up with more clear coat (you need it for imitation gold leaf or it will tarnish) and you’re done!


That sounds tedious. Even more impressive now. Thanks for the notes!

Absolutely beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.