The weekend just gone was spent with my daughter in Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk and as is usual in these matters, the car was loaded with 'goods assorted, daughter for the use of', one of which happened to be a very large, solid oak, octagonal coffee table that I'd given her some time ago when it became surplus to our needs.
I decided that I'd try and mark the underside with my initials and the date when it was made which was around 1990, but it's very difficult to be sure as it was fair while ago and the all too rapid passage of the years tends to blur exact details. To cut a long story sideways, I used a 3mm chisel to carve out my initials (RJS) and I added the date in Roman numerals, both of which proved singularly unsuccessful...which is about par!
The problem is that as the blade cuts into the surface, it creates pockets of 'short grain' where the timber just collapses or lifts off (for instance, the centre of the letter 'R') so that the whole thing just looks like a bit of a dogs dinner at the end.
As I normally like to mark my stuff anyway I've tried a number of ways over the years from a custom made and engraved, circular brass disc (very classy but a bit spendy on the pockets) to carving with a small 'U' shaped gouge, which turned out even more disastrous than using a chisel, so...... the bullet has at last been chomped on and I've invested a princely sum in a set of Axminster letter punches (for the Roman numerals bit) together with a posh and rather distinguished monogram of my initials, set within an oval from the Chalco Stamp & Die Company which sounds like it's been lifted straight out of the Wild West...I'm starting to get visions of Monument Valley, Wells Fargo, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne!
With any luck, this final little touch ought to be the finishing detail to my sawdusty efforts, that's with the proviso that they're actually fit for stamping and not stamping on...