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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Default Treating wooden signs

Hi All,

This month I have begun making outdoor wooden signs for people - I use cheap wood as there is not really a market for expensive wooden signs -

I am wondering how I can best treat these signs so that the wood will be preserved for as long as possible. Should I be using more than just varnish?

Also how can I stop the signs from bending and warping?

Most of my customers don't want painted signs - instead they like natural signs so for the most part I don't paint


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 12:29 PM
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I used water based polyurethane on a sign I made last year, it's still good after a year mounted at my cottage. I think that the key to keeping your sign from warping might be to start with a board with a grain pattern that isn't likely to warp. A flat sawn board is more likely to cup over time. Maybe you could glue a few together if you're worried about warping, or try to use quarter sawn wood. The sign I made (below) is 2" thick. It was little warped from the beginning, but I don't mind - I think the width will help it resist more warping a bit. If I'd made it from 1" (ie 3/4") fence board, it'd probably be way more warped now.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 01:24 PM
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On You Tube, look up Dave's Signs. This guy has many videos that show you how to make the signs from start to "finish".

I currently use spray ink for the lettering. For the treating, I use spar urethane.

To keep the boards from warping, I try and dry them out before using them. You can attach a piece of plywood to the back of the sign, but that increases the thickness of the sign.

Hope this helps.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 11:02 PM
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Hi Bob, remember that oil is blood to wood. If you keep your signs oiled with an exterior grade oil based stain that is a semi transparent type you will have good luck.The real trick is to keep the sign oiled both front and back for as long as it's in service. I use a C.C.R.W. grade, (construction common red wood) that is picked to be as clear as possiable. I've been useing 2X6 red wood, edge glued and biscuted then surfaced planed and carved with my Carvewright carving machine. This seems to keep exterior signs stable and the thickness depends upon what the customer wants but generally I stay with 1 3/8". I've never polyed a sign since the Colorado sun and weather takes a toll on wood, just keep it well oiled front and back. I've had signs that are installed in such a manner that you aren't able to get to the back so I soak the back with 3-4 coats and flood the surface so the R.W. is as saturated as possiable. In addition I offer a maintanence service to keep signs oiled as well as the lettering or painting kept up. Best wishes with your signs.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 08:48 AM
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What type of signs do you find that most people are asking for? Some signs I have seen are really detailed and look as if done by an artist.
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