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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Occasionally, we are presented with the situation of having to use a particular type style or "font" that is given to us with the order for the project. In the olden days, we went through books and basic searches through literally thousands of examples trying to find the one we need. Fonts can have a dozen names. I belong to a few sign making forums and one of the popular questions that comes up is "what is this letter style". The poster is flabbergasted when they get an answer in less than 5 minutes - thinking that all the sign makers are wizards or something. But, basically, it is just knowing how and where to search.
Here is a short introduction video of how my colleagues and I search for fonts quickly without wasting a lot of time.
This is only ONE example - there are dozens of similar programs and web stations that can do the same thing.
We have had people bring us a photo of a sign they saw while on vacation a thousand miles away from home. And from that photo, we are able to quickly find the font. And secondly, determine if the font would do their project justice.
Just because someone finds something they like doesn't mean it is right for their project.
I made this video this morning just for you guys - any questions, please holler up.

 

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Thanks John, reminds me of the disks you could buy with 1,000's of fonts.....Back in the early days of Windows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
James - I still have some of those CD disks with thousands and thousands of fonts and clipart.
today is nowhere close to where it was 20-30-40 years ago for the artisans and craftsmen.
when I was first stumbling (and I do mean stumbling) through the beginning years of my sign making career, I used the black press-on letters you buy in packs and rub off each letter onto a clear acetate sheet and then to the overhead projector and traced it out onto butcher paper or the wood to be routed (or painted).
I remember making some so big I had to wait until after dark to project the image onto a 14 foot sign panel out in my driveway. People today that just throws a sign design together in their computer and send it to a machine to be made has no idea of how the Old Timers did it Back in The Day. When I got my first computer, I had a 36" Ioline Plotter that could draw the "true to scale" images on paper in just minutes - and I thought that was better than walking on the moon !!!!
and I have no idea of how many hours I have spent looking through books and CDs for a font or a piece of clipart that I just "had to have" for a project. and me being "artistically challenged" didn't help any LOL.
If anyone practices and becomes familiar with this type of Font Identifier program on the internet, someone could show you a photo of a sign and you could have the name of the font within minutes instead of hours or days of searching manually for it.
It is well worth the time to invest in a little education, no matter what the field is.
John
 

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I still have a couple of "Letraset" books somewhere John. They were kinda like font phone books. We used to mask for painting signs with Grip-Mask and a roller. Then cut the masking by hand with an x-acto knife... Later all done with a computer and vinyl cutter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I met an old sign guy that served in WWII and he painted a lot of the nose art on the airplanes. (when he had time).
he said he used a product called "Tuff-Back" to mask off the area to be painted. I looked it up and it was basically the same as Grip-Mask. which to me, was waaayyyyyyy overkill just for a paint mask !! when masking tape would have done the same job.
 

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We even did awnings like that - gotta be gentle when cutting the mask on that. I remember the name "Tuff-Back"... another manufacturer of a similar product. On sign faces the paint went on the inside. So if you black letters on white for instance: Weed out the letters, paint the black, weed the rest, paint the whole thing white. With some colour combinations, you had to re-mask to paint some layers. The grip-mask was more transparent than masking tape and a little rubbery. With decent lighting you could put a paper pattern on the opposite side of plexi and then cut the mask and save the pattern.

I did installations for a guy that could hand paint like they did on airplanes. I remember one sign we installed for a toy store... it was amazing. I watched him paint lettering and logos on truck doors by hand, amazing to watch. Of course computers changed all that. He's still in business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
if you are old enough to know the Tuff-Back and other vintage stuff, you might remember the TV show Sky King.
he flew the twin engine Cessna 310. there were five planes used in the show, two of them were wrecked and the remaining three were sold to the public after the show was done. a guy I worked with in the Navy bought one of them and he flew it regularly. when he discovered that I could "paint", he hired me to paint some "nose art" on his plane about his new young wife . . . (I still have the full size paper pattern that was used for him to approve and sign off on). whew - took awhile to find it - haven't seen it in a few decades. it's in pretty bad shape, but still usable.
399156


and the pièce de ré·sis·tance
399157


the airplane was painted with Imron paint. I cleaned the surface and abraded the graphics area, applied the paint mask for the lettering and airbrushed the lettering with 1Shot lettering enamel and the same paint for the picture.
then, two coats of Imron clear and it was done. it lasted for several years until he sold the plane. (painted both sides).
399159
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Imron is a high-quality polyurethane paint manufactured by Dupont. It is used as an industrial paint for trucks, boats, airplanes, and other commercial vehicles.
it was some pretty stout stuff "back in the day". I don't know what EPA has done to it. (like all of our solvent based paints).
the clear used to have a very high content of UV blockers - making it the perfect coatings for things that lived outside.
it is a 3-part urethane and used like automotive paint - it must be sprayed. (and is very toxic).
I have no idea of how the clear holds up today if the government has messed with it.
 

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We even did awnings like that - gotta be gentle when cutting the mask on that. I remember the name "Tuff-Back"... another manufacturer of a similar product. On sign faces the paint went on the inside. So if you black letters on white for instance: Weed out the letters, paint the black, weed the rest, paint the whole thing white. With some colour combinations, you had to re-mask to paint some layers. The grip-mask was more transparent than masking tape and a little rubbery. With decent lighting you could put a paper pattern on the opposite side of plexi and then cut the mask and save the pattern.

I did installations for a guy that could hand paint like they did on airplanes. I remember one sign we installed for a toy store... it was amazing. I watched him paint lettering and logos on truck doors by hand, amazing to watch. Of course computers changed all that. He's still in business.
Back in the late 60s early 70s I was on a NASCAR team. We had an old style sign painter who did our cars lettering. It was fascinating to watch him work. He at times used paper stencils of our sponsors logos that he made with a tool that burned dots through paper. He'd tape that to the car and dusted it with a sock of colored dust then pulled it off and painted the logo.
A true artist
 

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Imron is a high-quality polyurethane paint manufactured by Dupont. It is used as an industrial paint for trucks, boats, airplanes, and other commercial vehicles.
it was some pretty stout stuff "back in the day". I don't know what EPA has done to it. (like all of our solvent based paints).
the clear used to have a very high content of UV blockers - making it the perfect coatings for things that lived outside.
it is a 3-part urethane and used like automotive paint - it must be sprayed. (and is very toxic).
I have no idea of how the clear holds up today if the government has messed with it.
It's technical name is Polyisocyanate. And it is some nasty stuff. Smells like burned cookies. Can't spray it in California. Truckers take their trucks to Nevada to have the finish coats applied. Found out when using the clear over lacquer you have to sand to 600 grit or any scratches look like canyons. I still see a hotrod I painted back then and the clear still looks wet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I still have my pounce wheels and mahl sticks from the '70s. I used to have the Electro Pounce machine that burned holes in paper for patterns. they ain't cheap !! you need a sheet metal backing which carries the charge from the pounce pen through the paper to the sheet metal leaving a very clean burned hole (which was adjustable) where the pounce "wheel" left jagged holes that needed to be sanded on the back side for it to work properly.
this is why I never looked down on the CNC machines as I too used mechanical devices to assist in my projects. I had a 36" and 24" pen plotter to draw out the project true to scale on pattern paper then the Electro Pounce to make the template (or stencil). and after that, it was just paint by numbers and stay within the lines. (it ain't rocket science).
 
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