Make a Wood Ampersand

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About a year ago I started noticing ampersand (“and” symbol) decorations appearing everywhere. Thousands populate Pinterest and it took me while to figure out what this trend was all about: it’s like a heart or cupid. A symbol of togetherness.

I made this wood ampersand as a unique wedding gift for a couple soon getting married. It’s made out of walnut and maple. I added the wedding date on the front.

Wood ampersand

This would also make a great Valentine’s Day gift. Just the ampersand alone makes a great decoration or you could replace the date with names or initials.

I wanted it to stand on its own without easily tipping over, so I sandwiched a 3/4″ (19mm) piece of hard maple between two 3/8″ (10mm) thick walnut boards. I love the contrast between these two species of wood.

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After printing out and attaching the cutting template (need help?) I cut out the inside holes of the ampersand with my jigsaw. I cut out the outer shape using my bandsaw, but using a jigsaw for this would work just as well.

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Then it’s all about sanding. And I mean lots of sanding. I was able to get a lot of the curves with my spindle sander and disc sander, but mostly a lot of elbow grease with a sheet of hand sandpaper.

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Rounding over all the edges is important to give the piece a much softer look. I used a roundover bit in my router. The bit can’t reach into tight corners, so I rounded those over with a file.

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I cut out the date numbers using my scroll saw and a piece of very thin maple. About 1/8″ (3mm). Don’t try cutting these with pine or any other soft wood: they will break too easily. Sanding these took a long time, but it is important to give them a finished appearance.

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Finally, I glued the numbers on using wood glue and no clamping. After an hour of drying, I applied several coats of spray lacquer.

WWMM Wood Ampersand detail

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. This is awesome Steve. I made a sign out of pallet wood and my wife painted an ampersand (&) on it. I had no idea what this meant and I didn’t ask. I like your design better and I will make her one. Thank you for the enlightenment and the free template!

    John

  2. What an awesome idea! I’m planning to make one for my girlfriend for Valentine’s day but instead of an &-figure’ I’m going to make it a heart 🙂 . Thanks for the inspiration WWMM!

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