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For a Lasting Memory - Advise on Commemorative Wording Options For a Memorial Bench
By Adam Thain

Memorial Benches are a wonderful way to commemorate a happy event, or to celebrate the life of a loved one now departed. Adding a special message makes a Bench a very personal gift.

Wood Carving

Wood carving by hand involves using a variety of different chisels and gouges in order to meticulously carve out text. The text is first printed on to paper then etched on to the timber. The process is lengthy and time consuming but when done by a professional, looks outstanding. Standard fonts are Aerial & Times Roman and for best results, should only be done in capital letters; Lower case lettering can look childlike at best.

Hand carving can be done in places that a CNC router cannot reach such as curved rails. As the inscription will not deteriorate over time it provides an anti-theft deterrent, as it cannot be removed. A very traditional and elegant method but due to intensive manual labour, this format is the most expensive.


The latest way to carve into wood uses a CNC router. The abbreviation CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and refers specifically to a computer "controller" that reads computer instructions and drives a machine tool to selectively remove material, in this case wood.

3D text, lower case lettering and unusual logos can easily be engraved into the wood. The size of the machine dictates the panels that can be engraved on, so if you are after an inscription on a long bench, always enquire before hand. Costs can vary but are usually cheaper than hand carving where CNC routing is available.

Upright / Plates

Most commemorative Uprights that are placed on Memorial Benches are either Brass or Stainless steel.

Brass Uprights

Brass is a yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes including small amounts of other metals, but usually 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc. Text is computer etched into the Brass then in-filled and stove enamelled in black. This is a very traditional method and the technology allows many types of fonts, many charachters of text in a small area and some offer images too.

If left outside, the brass will gracefully fade to a light brown. Use Brasso to bring aged Brass back to life, however you may want to put some masking tape around the outer edges of the Upright to protect the Teak whilst cleaning. Generally speaking, this is the most cost effective way of providing commemorative text.

Stainless Steel Uprights

Stainless Steel is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 11% chromium content by mass. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel. It stains less, but it is not stain-proof. There is no after care. The colour should stay fast for life and has all the same benefits as Brass Uprights when it comes to text engraving technology.

The price for stainless steel plates are generally speaking 30% higher than a Brass Plate when budgeting.


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