Anthony Bailey goes looking for his aristocratic roots and makes this armourial plaque
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This is a quick and fun project for grown-ups or kids who want to add a bit of aristocratic style to a room! First, find a dungeons and dragons-type shield for a few pence at a boot fair or charity shop, remove the centre decoration and simply throw the shield away. It may need a repaint to look right, although this one didn't, thankfully.
Start by cutting an offcut of oak (Quercus robur)
board, which is natural for this job, and butt glue joined side by side.
Draw out the shield shape by eye and hopefully get it symmetrical! You could always make a half-width paper template if you want to get it exactly right.
The shield 'device' looks good on the drawn out shape, although you need to make sure it has enough room around it to look right.
Bandsaw the shape to the line. When I made mine, the blade was too wide to do the top scoop shapes, and if this is the same for you, the cut will need to be done in sections ready for spindle sanding.
Fit the biggest drum you have on to a spindle sander and work back and forth repeatedly until you have an even matching curve on both scoop shapes.
In order to soften the edges and make it look imposing, use a bearing-guided cove bit to shape the edges. This is done in two passes to depth.
I tried different stains before I settled on a brown mahogany gel stain because it gives a warm, dark colour that is needed to set off the 'device' which I wanted to mount on the shield.
Use a simple tray jig for the router to sit in with a keyhole bit to create a single keyhole slot; this allows the shield to be hung on a single projecting screw on a wall.
The 'device' can then be stuck on the oak shield using silicone mastic. The end result should look something like this!