American Woodworker

Important Information >>


CNC Project Gallery


CNC Project Gallery

By Randy Johnson

As CNCS become increasingly common in small woodshops, an amazing variety of work is emerging. Although this confirms the technical versatility of CNCs, it’s an even greater testimony to the creativity and ingenuity of woodworkers, designers and artists alike. The following projects are but a sampling. To see more, follow the web links in this article.

Allura Side Table

This table by Brooke M. Davis is available in Honduran or African mahogany. It is one of several “luxury” designs that Brooke markets through her website BrookeMDavisDesign. com. See page 18 for another pierced CNC design by Brooke. Brooke also owns and operates (Make+Shift) atx, a design-on-demand shop in Austin, Texas.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Rinaldo Chair

Plydea, a furniture company in Seattle, Washington, manufactures this chair from zero-VOC prefinished birch plywood. Plydea makes a growing line of readyto- assemble products utilizing snap-together joinery. See more at

My Home Made Chair

Richard Garsthagen, of the United Kingdom, designed this chair in Adobe Illustrator and cut it from 12mm birch plywood. An animated slide show of the chair being assembled can be viewed at

Pattern Study

Jennifer Anderson, of San Diego, explored the versatility of CNC in creating this piece; the deep pleating in couture fashion provided inspiration for the pattern. Jennifer finished the table with milk paint and shellac. More at

Shelter 2.0

Robert Bridges designed this for Design It: Shelter Competition, a 3-D design contest organized by the Guggenheim Museum and Google SketchUp. Robert and collaborator Bill Young envision this design as an inexpensive, quick-to-construct shelter for homeless and disaster-stricken people around the world. Cutting the project on a CNC takes about 12 hours; it requires 36 sheets of plywood plus hardware and vinyl sheeting. More information at

Bronzed Mahogany Bowl

Ed McDonnell turned this bowl on a wood lathe and then embellished it on his shopmade digital CNC ornamental lathe. The bowl measures 5-1/4" tall by 7" dia. The exterior is finished with Sculpt Nouveau Bronze B and Tiffany Green Patina to create the look of aged bronze. The interior is finished with Minwax wipe-on gloss polyurethane. To view pictures of Ed’s ornamental lathe, visit and search for the post “Wrapped and Sculpt Nouveau.”

Nice Carvings

Nice Carvings is the name of Melissa Jones’ sign business—a fitting name given the quality of her work. Melissa started her business carving signs by hand and many of the details in her current work are still added by hand, such as the distressed look of the Maximum sign. Most of Melissa’s signs are made of high-density urethane (HDU) foam sign board, such as the 36'' dia. Deerkill Day Camp sign, while wood is the material of choice for others, such as the Maximum sign. Melissa finishes most of her signs with a primer coat of Kilz and top coats of Sherwin Williams latex paint. Melissa creates her designs with Vectric Aspire CNC design software and cuts them on a Shopbot CNC. View more of Melissa’s work at


Brooke M. Davis designed this 55" x 18" mahogany table top. While this elaborate carving would likely be a one-of-kind table if done by hand, the CNC allows Brooke to reproduce versions in other woods and finishes to suit a customer’s needs. You can view the complete table (with legs) at

Doug Haffner

Doug Haffner, owner of Haffner Signs, Wyoming, Illinois, creates what he calls “dimensional signs — ones that you can walk around.” His own business sign (photo far left) highlights his “dimensional” approach to signmaking, as well as his designing and sculpting talents. The base of the sign reads “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT UNTIL YOU DECIDE IT’S NOT.” and the other side says “A GOOD SIGN CAN TAKE YOU A LONG WAY.” Doug works in multiple materials including wood, foam, sculpting clay, plastic and metal. He’s very pragmatic about his approach; while he uses a CarveWright CNC for much of his work— such as shaping the inner foam layers for his rocket and carving letters for the panels on the sign’s base—many of the details are modeled by hand. This includes the rivet heads on the base. So each rivet would look unique, he added and shaped each one by hand. See more of Doug’s work at While you’re there, make sure to check out his awardwinning Robot sign.

Rose Window

Using Vectric Aspire software, Michael Mezalick designed this small-scale replica of the famed window of Notre Dame Cathedral. Michael machined his replica out of 3/4" MDF on his CAMaster CNC, and finished it with Valspar “Stone” spray paint. This window and other CNC-made products are available at Michael’s website

Autumn Wreath

Jim Creco of Mebane, North Carolina, machined and finished this project. The design was created by Michael Taylor, a graphic artist turned CNC project designer. This is one of hundreds of CNC designs that Michael has created. His plans are available through his website CarveBuddy. com, as well as and

Bison Plaque

Tim Merrill, of Henderson, North Carolina, carved this bison out of mahogany. He highlighted it with a dark stain and set it in an alder backboard. The bison and landscape background designs are available through Tim holds the well-deserved title of “Vectric Archimage” on the forum for being the member with the most posts and a reliable source of helpful information.

Carved Blanket Chest

Reuben Foat, a graduate student, made this in the furniture design program at San Diego State University. Although most of his designs start on paper, Reuben is also an avid Rhino CAD user. As for the CNC, Ruben says, “It wasn’t until graduate school that I got my hands on a CNC. It has been a game-changer for me.” See more of Ruben’s CNC (and laser) work at

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 2011/January 2012, issue #157.

December 2011/January 2012, issue #157

Purchase this back issue.