V Carved Badges

At Grant’s request, I am sharing some badges I have made. The badge with the circle I started my depth at. .04” so not to loose the detail. Not sure I like that one as well as the memorial plaque for a fallen deputy. That one turned out beautiful, along with the retirement gift.

Now that I am looking at them all together, I think I like the color of the memorial plaque best. Having difficulty getting paint in my small town.

The bit I have been using is a 90 degree v bit at 15,000 rpm at a speed of 30” per minute. The wood was locally cut down walnut that I ran through a 70+ year old planer then sanded with a random orbital sander.

Now to figure out what to sell them for. Got 2 people who want one for themselves already!
Thanks for looking!


This is nice work, Jake. Thanks for showing what you have been doing. I have a couple of questions if you do not mind answering them, please. What software are you using for your carving? What technique are you using to colour your designs?

0.4" is as near to 10mm as makes no difference. The V carve depth of 1cm may actually be reducing your detail. Did you use 0.4" for all 3 seals? It is very difficult to tell from a photograph that is not life sized but your Mahaska County Sheriff’s Seal does not look as sharply detailed as the Fremont County Sheriff’s seal.

I feel this is very clear to see by the double points of the stars of each seal. The lines of the Mahaska Sheriff’s seal star look a little thick. The lines of the Mahaska Jail Administrator’s seal look cleaner and much more like the Fremont Sheriff’s seal star lines.

@jepho Hi there! I agree the circle badge isn’t quite as clean as the other two. I am using vcarve pro for software. Gsender for the control software. The issue is when I sand the badges after painting them, I tend to loose some of my details. I finish before I carve, then paint the badges. After they dry, I sand off the paint left over to leave the finished badge. I may try to sand the circle base down a bit more. It may bring it down some and bring out a bit more of the details. I use polyurethane for the finish and gold metallic hobby paint to paint the image.

I hope that helps! Oh yea, I use the keyhole feature in vcarve pro to add the hanging ability to the back.

Take care!

Hi Jake. Yep, that will happen. See this inlay video clip at 9.00 minutes (whole thing is 20:29 long) This guy does not use a V bit and I found his method for making his V cut really rational. He provides useful information about detail loss.

I have my own thoughts about V carving. I will leave you to listen to this guy and possibly experiment some. It may give you some assistance with producing sharper lines.

@jepho Jeffrey, THANK YOU so much for assistance! I will watch this video tonight and experiment some. I came into this without any CNC experience at all. The Jail admin badge was the first badge I did on good wood. I experimented with plywood scraps I had and was totally unhappy with the “frizzy” look to it. Took care of that when I went to using walnut.

I want these badges to be amazing for sure. I want my customers to be pleased with their purchases. Happy customers equal repeat customers. Everything I have done thus far is an experiment and were (or are) given away as gifts.

I have a couple of deputies that want them for their mantle. If I can improve on my carving details to make them cleaner and better, why wouldn’t I?

Once again, I so appreciate your help and guidance. This forum is the reason I bought my long mill. I came here before purchasing it and found the folks to be friendly and extremely helpful!

Have a good one sir!

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No worries! CNC work is a process of stumbling from one problem to the next. :thinking: :grin:

Depending on the wood type, the results of one set of values for feeds and speeds for each wood type will change. Fuzzies can be removed with a soft brass brush. When first moving from MDF and plywood to using better quality wood, I bought scraps of many different types of hard wood. I liked all of the hardwoods I have sampled.

I lean now towards American Maple as my gold standard. It is good for holding detail and takes a large variety of nice finishes. I like to use walnut but I have been unable to stop its tendency to break out chips that are sometimes larger than I want to see. I have had good results with American Cherry. The following chart may assist you.

Wood Hardness.pdf (32.6 KB)

If I was doing the work you are pursuing, I would make the carved pattern the last operation to be carried out on the finished surface. There is a lightly tacky self adhesive paper that I sometimes use with a laser, if I am trying to protect a surface. Carving with a V bit could stand a little experimentation with scraps, depths of cut and number of passes, step down, stepover, floor of carve, chamfer edges or cut in one.

V carve depth may be set by line width so that the width between both edges of the carve can determine and hold the depth of cut. Vectric and other software will let you adjust the depth that is automatically dependent on width between pattern lines. Some typefaces lend themselves to carving while others do not.

Looking at the Fremont County Sheriff’s seal as the best example, it is possible that the higher contrast between the silver colour and the wood has contributed to it looking sharper. Clarity of cut can be helped with cut depth. The pattern inside the star point at 9 o’clock is cleaner than the one inside the star point pattern at 3 o’clock.

Where the features you carve lay close to other features, then finer lines will probably help the overall impression of clarity. The text… “State of Iowa” and “Sheriff’s Seal” looks to be slightly too large within the double ring boundaries. You could try setting up the same design file in Vectric and giving the text a little more breathing space so that it is not as close to the rings. The same might apply to the scales of justice and the depth of cut.

I guess that designs always look much better in the design software we use. I don’t know if Vectric’s software permits you to specify a space between one feature and the next. If it does, you could start with opening the space between features and noting the numbers. That could then be your goto set of numbers until you decide you want to change. It makes the designing process far easier.

Cheers! :beer:

@jepho @Jake I want to take the time to thoroughly read all of this discussion, but I would like to mention, that Jake said that he carves to .04", not .4". So, he is not carving to 10mm, but 1mm.


@jepho @gwilki yes start depth at 0.04” on the circle badge was designed to go just a bit deeper. I think if I have the time today, I may sand it more and see if the details come back out that the other badges have. I did watch the video the you recommended. I was unaware that I could use another type of carving bit to clean up edges etc. I am not quite doing inlays yet, but may in the future. So the video is quite useful. Appreciate the recommendation. I did another VCarve for my grand daughter using hickory. It carved amazingly well, but when I added the paint to the mix, it got into the microfiber (not quite the right term) of the hickory and would not sand out all the way. It still looks very good but I could still see some in the grain.

If there is a better approach to painting the plaques, I would welcome it. (Possibly adding a new thread to get everyone’s approach?).

Thanks again for your guidance!

Oops! :blush: Thanks, Grant. That was my reading skill heading down the sewer. :grin: OTOH, if that cut path is really only 1mm deep, I am really confused. I have a 90 degree V bit. If I use it to a depth of 1mm, I will get a path carved no wider than 1mm, which effectively is just the tip. The total width of the cutter is 10mm and to get a 10mm wide carve, I would have to use the cutter at a depth of 4mm.

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@jepho not quite Jeffrey! I start my cut at 0.04 so it cuts slightly deeper on the circle badge. This afternoon, I’m going to sand it down a little bit more to see if the details remain or possibly emerge.

Again thank you!

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Thanks Jake. Understood

@Jake When you say that you start your cut at .04, do you mean that, in VCarve, you are setting a start depth of .04? If so, I would suggest that may not be the best approach. When you set a start depth in VCarve, the software “assumes” that it is cutting air to that depth. In other words, it assumes that, with a previous tool path, you have removed at least the value of the starting depth. If you have not done that, not only will your results not be optimal, but you will be putting extra strain on the machine and on the bit.

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@gwilki Hey Grant, yes that is correct. I did that with the circle badge. The idea was to make the carve be just a bit deeper in order to keep the quality of the intricate badge details intact when sanding. It was from a recommendation of the software website. My problem maybe finishing the projects too. That seems to be where the most issue is. Once painted, I sand to remove excess paint and loose the details that I want to showcase. Thanks for any suggestions for me, it, as always is greatly appreciated!

@Jake If you want the vcarve to deeper than the font or graphic would otherwise take it, Jake, you may be better off setting a max depth rather than starting depth. That said, I’ve not seen the Vcarve video that recommends using starting depth. Another way to get cleaner vcarves is to run the same toolpath twice. That will clean up some of the fuzzies.

As for finishing, ask 10 wood finishers and you will get 11 answers. One of my methods is to seal the surface of the wood before doing any carving with either a de-waxed shellac sealer like Bull’s Eye Seal Coat, or a thinned pre-cat lacquer sealer. This will prevent bleeding later on. Then, I do the carve. I then seal again, so that that the carved parts are sealed. Then paint, then sand. Another method is to use a mask of some sort. I’m cheap, so I use mac tac shelf paper. Oramask seems to be the most popular, though. Again, I seal the material to give the mask a good surface to stick to. Then carve. Then seal the carve. Then paint and remove the mask. A good sharp bit and good feeds and speeds are critical to getting the mask to cut cleanly. I really don’t believe that your start depth method would work well with a mask.

@gwilki thank you Grant! As always, I appreciate you. My daughter is a crafty kind of gal, and gave me some film that she uses to cut stencils with. Just haven’t tried it yet. The problem I can see with the film, is tons of work getting the details done. But I will give it a try for sure.

@Jake Tks, Jake. Just to be clear, though, you don’t cut the details in the film, then lay it down on the wood. There is no more work involved using it than there is in doing the carve itself. You roll the film on or press it on tightly over the surface of the blank material. Then, run your carve, cuttting through the mask and the material. Now, you have a “stencil” on your material. Paint over the whole thing, let it dry, then peel it off.

If I am misunderstanding your point, Jake, just ignore all of this. :grinning:

@gwilki Thanks Grant! I am going to give it a try sometime soon. What I was referring to is peeling it off after painting, might be a pain. But still going to give it a try.

Appreciate your time and your response!


@Jake Some of the small pieces can be a pain, Jake. A small xacto knife comes in handy for sure. Please post your results.