Whenever I finish a project, I like to mark it, to remember myself of when I made this particular piece of work.
For some reason I have become a fan of the Roman figures. Possibly because I have seen them being used on some old timber framing, and because they are fairly easy to make using a chisel and a mallet. At least for the next 77 years, after which you are going to need a hollow chisel to continue with this numbering system.
In my opinion it looks equally well in a small size on e.g. a chest, or large and bold on some timber framing.
It is difficult to describe the feeling when a build is finished. If it was in a movie there would be some nice music and perhaps a special light setting. In the workshop there is usually silence. But you feel it is a special moment.
After a long period of dreaming of your project, pulling yourself together to actually start the project, carrying on with the project and finally finishing it. You and the project deserves some type of formal ceremony. In my shop this is the moment when I find the mallet and the chisel of the appropriate size. I pause and then I mark the piece. When the figures (letters actually) have been added the project is really finished.
The idea of the Roman system is that you add the single figures. If a smaller figure is in front of a larger one, you subtract it from the larger one, and add the remaining figure to the others.
M = 1000
D = 500
C = 100
L = 50
X = 10
V = 5
I = 1
2013 = MMXIII = 1000 + 1000 + 10 + 1 + 1 +1
2014 = MMXIV = 1000 + 1000 + 10 + (5 - 1)
So until the year 2090 = MMXC, you are able to write the year using only a normal chisel and a mallet or a hammer.
Timber framing in the stable, 2011
The inside of a tool chest (2012)
The front of the workbench (2013)