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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just routed some pine for trail markers, I'd like to stain them a darker brown and paint in the lettering with yellow. Much like a state park sign would look. What would be a good finish for outdoors that will help them to last? I live in the north east, so we'll be getting bitter cold, snow, rain, some sun on occasion.....

Any advice would be appreciated, I don't do much outdoor work. I know in the photo that they are painted, (maybe I'd be better off painting them(?), but I'd like to stain them.
 

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Bark Brown paint for the panel and white or yellow for the text in the highest grade of exterior latex house paint you can find.
this is provided by the National Park Service and US Forest Service - never stain.
(and I'm afraid your pine wood is going to fail before the paint does - depending on which species of "pine" you used). a good coating of exterior oil primer is suggested.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bark Brown paint for the panel and white or yellow for the text in the highest grade of exterior latex house paint you can find.
this is provided by the National Park Service and US Forest Service - never stain.
(and I'm afraid your pine wood is going to fail before the paint does - depending on which species of "pine" you used). a good coating of exterior oil primer is suggested.
View attachment 400305
What wood do you suggest?
 

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Jack, there are many types of wood for outdoor projects: personally, I use redwood or cypress. larger signs, such as the National Parks, I used HDO plywood (High Density Overlay) which is rare for the average consumer. MDO (Medium Density Overlay) is more common in the box stores.
if you are looking for one product (wood or paint) to last 20 years without maintenance, it's not going to happen. anything outdoors needs to be taken care of and maintained according to that project and weather conditions.
with proper eye and respirator protection, you could use pressure treated wood from Home Depot called YellaWood.
but, it too needs the appropriate priming and painting regimen. I have seen many "trail signs" that were routed only with no paint at all and allowed to weather naturally. (much easier to replace if needed).
sorry to ramble on, but, I've been making wood signs for outdoor use for over 40 years on a commercial basis.
this is totally your call as to where the trail signs go and how long do you want them to last. we're anxious to follow your projects all the way through to the final installation.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bark Brown paint for the panel and white or yellow for the text in the highest grade of exterior latex house paint you can find.
this is provided by the National Park Service and US Forest Service - never stain.
(and I'm afraid your pine wood is going to fail before the paint does - depending on which species of "pine" you used). a good coating of exterior oil primer is suggested.
View attachment 400305
Thank you for the info, I will be painting them. Bark Brown and yellow. What type of wood do you suggest for a more durable outdoor experience?
 
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cedar, cypress, redwood, P/T YellaWood, would be the most "economical" and best choice for your project.
don't over think it - they are trail signs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well! Here we go, finished product. Needs to be installed in the woods I'm more than happy with them. I know they are not perfect, but neither am I!
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oh yeah, oh yeah, unhunh, unhunh (that's Jack doing his happy dance).

Jack, for a complete novice, you have done an EXCELLENT job !!!
well done, young man, well done indeed.
looking forward to seeing the trails when you get them installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
oh yeah, oh yeah, unhunh, unhunh (that's Jack doing his happy dance).

Jack, for a complete novice, you have done an EXCELLENT job !!!
well done, young man, well done indeed.
looking forward to seeing the trails when you get them installed.
I'm not much of a dancer. I don't get too excited about things either, pretty much an even keel. Except I have anger issues... But, that's another issue! 🤣 No seriously, I'll get them out in the spring, not sure yet how we want to post them, nailed to a tree or dig post holes and hang like a realtor sign, (think Century 21). But that would get expensive real fast and the ground is tough to post hole. I don't want to hack it up, I want them to look nice, just don't know what's appropriate AND easy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Here's a fireplace job I did this summer, tile and surround. Customer sent me this photo earlier today. I'm not a COMPLETE novice, I just haven't done any freehand routing!
 

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Hi Jack, that brings back memories.
Do you still work from that shed across the road?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Jack, that brings back memories.
Do you still work from that shed across the road?
Hey James! Yes, I do... It's fuller and messier now, but I still manage to put out some quality product from time to time!
 
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Unless the sign is completely shaded, you might expect 3 to 5 years from Helmsman. To maintain the finishing looking nice, fine sand it every few years and add another [link removed by moderator] Tung oil is beneficial, but it must be reapplied on a regular basis since it dries out. Tung oil does not usually come with a UV inhibitor, which is a drawback. There is a product promoted for log home exteriors that promise to be superior. It's something I haven't tried yet. It's known as Perma-*****.
 

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G'day @JG0203 , welcome to the forum...
 

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Honestly, given the state of things, I would use SIGN FOAM. You are routing the signs, presumably with a CNC router. Sign Foam routes like butter. You can get any density, up to 90 ponds per cubic foot but the 15 lb. or 20 lb. foam is sufficient for your purposes. You route it, spray it with a white FOAM FRIENDLY primer base, and then paint the letters by hand with ONE SHOT sign paint.

Sign Foam is a closed cell foam that is impervious to weather. It doesn't rot, or shrink, or crack. Termites don't touch it. It handles wind and rain like a champ. It is EASY to make very decorative signs because a CNC router carves it like a stick of butter! No knots. no grains. No issues!

I made this car lot sign five years ago, and it still looks brand new! The storage sign was fun, but the company changed its name shortly after ordering the sign.

Joe

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Well! Here we go, finished product. [..]
Ahh! You already completed the project. 😕 Well ... look at SIGN FOAM for future projects. There is no point to using WOOD if you are going to cover the beautiful wood grain with PAINT!

Another thing I found to be awesome for signs like this is the PVC boards you can buy at Lowe's and Home Depot. They are already faced with faux wood grain finish on ONE side, and they ROUTE like a dream! You spray paint the lettering and the wood grain (positive or negative) and then sand the surface back to the white and clear coat it for a beautiful sign.

Furniture Plant Outdoor bench Rectangle Grass


Another GREAT sign material is called COLOR CORE. It is like an OREO cookie, with one color of plastic on the surfaces, and another color inside. It comes in different color combinations and thicknesses. You route through the exterior surface to expose the interior color. NO PAINTING REQUIRED, and the letters are razor sharp!

Font Material property Electric blue Signage Advertising


Finally, I discovered quite by accident that SOLID SURFACE MATERIAL routes beautifully, and it is EASY to paint in the letters with spray paint, and then sand and polish the top surface to the original color. Solid Surface Material is used for counter tops, bathroom shower enclosures, etc. The trade name is CORIAN, but there are competitors too. I use DURASEIN. This sign was made with CNC router and a 1/16" two-flute router bit.

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SIGN FOAM

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