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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last night I was asked to make a sign for someone that passed away recently.

They will plant a tree in his honor on the school grounds where he taught and coached jr high football.

What type of wood would you suggest for outdoors?

I dont know how to attach foam sign to a stake...and I do have foam I can use.

9 1/2 x 13 inches. I have the design ready to cut...and they need it by the the 9th.
 

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I've pondered the same question for awhile. When my mother passed away my father asked me to design and build a bench they could place where she had enjoyed sitting and a plaque to insert into it. I've never known anything made from wood to last very long outdoors. I suspect it is genetically engineered to decay once it it no longer a living tree.

You consider the things that have lasted (centuries) and all that really survives is stone. I suggest looking around for someone that can carve a stone marker that could be placed by the tree. You might be able to create the art and design then hand it off to a stone carver to produce. These days a QR code that when scanned might link to a web page about the fallen may be the key to keeping more about that person available for the curious than what could be written on a sign.

4D
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Commercial sign carvers who use HDU foam usually carve one or more rabbets into the back of the sign to accept wood, aluminum, or steel braces that are used to attach the sign to posts or a wall. For wood you could glue up a panel out of cedar or redwood if you can find it. Another option would be Corian counter top material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's the design I have come up with. It has the information they asked for and they like it.

Time is tight. The 9th is only a week away.

I was thinking redwood or cedar, spray it with lacquer to seal the wood, cover it with removable contact paper, then cut the lettering. Paint or spray with black paint, then remove the contact paper, sand if needed, then apply a varathane outdoor finish.

Note: The school has a wood shop, so someone could be appointed to reapply the finish each year, or until a more permanent sign could be purchased.

If I use foam, it will have to be painted. I talked to the finishing department here at Stringerville, and she said she could paint it! :grin:

I am thinking the sign foam is what should be used. Now to figure out how to mount it. :surprise:
 

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John
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I think I would use white oak, good for outside Use with a good finish.
The problem I see with foam is it on a school grounds you can always find someone to vandalizing it. ( one swift kick) it's a shame you have to think that way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I would use white oak, good for outside Use with a good finish.
The problem I see with foam is it on a school grounds you can always find someone to vandalizing it. ( one swift kick) it's a shame you have to think that way!
I was also considering white oak. The lumber dealer I use has just about anything you can ask for. But, last week when I was there, there was some white oak in the discount bin (50% off regular price). The bin contains various species (labelled) of "shorts - less than 48 inches - that they discount to move the inventory. Guess I should have bought some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK - a quick update. my sweetie wants it made from wood.

So...looks like I will be making a run to the lumber dealer tomorrow.

AND, some of y'all may remember my friend with the welding machine that modified my clamps. Well, he volunteered to make a metal sign bracket sorta like the signs you see stuck in the yards of house for sale or rent. Bless his heart.

And2, we have some metal to use from a gazebo we demoed.

Things are coming together quickly. Thanks for everyone's input. The vast and unpaid research department comes through again!!! :grin::grin::grin:
 

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You consider the things that have lasted (centuries) and all that really survives is stone. I suggest looking around for someone that can carve a stone marker that could be placed by the tree. You might be able to create the art and design then hand it off to a stone carver to produce. These days a QR code that when scanned might link to a web page about the fallen may be the key to keeping more about that person available for the curious than what could be written on a sign.

4D
+1 for stone and (maybe) QR code!


I would use White marble and it is quite possible that a router bit does the job!

the usual router bit is carbide that is hard enough..

Wonder if it needs water cooling , in this case it's for a special machinery..

An alternative would be to route a negative of this ,
and use it as a mould for a top quality concrete mix.
That can be done using colour mix from creamy white to yellows, reds ,blue, green, grey, etc
using ferrous oxides or natural stones powders that got time lasting colours.
The recent mixes can catch details and be real hard and glossy after drying.
Regards.
Gérard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@ggom

Thanks. Definitely something to consider for the future. At least, I am doing my part for now.

As you can see, his tenure at the school was 14 years, and liked/loved by everyone.
 

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Mike
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One more thing to throw into this mix of materials is composite lumber, the type used for decking. You can usually pick from several colors and some companies have different textures available. This is a great material to use for outdoor signage and cuts well with your standard bits.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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+1 for White Oak, Mike. I just picked some up at the sawmill and will use it to make a puppy feeder for an animal shelter. They want to be able to wash it off regularly so White Oak got the call.

David
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Don't forget to show us photos of the finished sign, Mike. It's always great to see things that have special meaning.
 
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Theo
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A stone would last, but would it even be there a hundred year from now? But I would say that is the best option, that or a metal sign.

Some time back I read a piece on Nepal woodwork. It mentioned wooden window frames, unfinished, but up to 500 years old. Can't recall where I read it, and have not been able to find the article again. However, did find this. :: RS woodcrafts :: History Of Wood Carving Down into it, it mentions using seasoned hardwood (and, of course, doesn't say what kind), and expecting it to last centuries. Interesting, to say the least. Just depends on what type of wood, and how it's prepared.
 
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Wood can last if it is in places where there is little oxygen, little rain, and a species that is already adapted to survive in that climate.
Stone can be eroded by the wind blown sand and acid rain and such. Less likely in some parts of the world than others.

I live in Kansas, and every stick of wood I've left outside has turned gray, dried and cracked and roughened before crumbling apart. Of course there were bugs and plants that helped attack it. Nature conspires to recycle wood here. You can find limestone fence posts made when there were no trees in Kansas still standing though. They use harder stone for tombstones though, and those look new despite being as old as the town is.
 

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I've used Corian for outside signs. After engraving I filled that with colored epoxy and sanded smooth. Easy to keep clean. Brass inserts installed in the back and stainless screws to hold to the aluminum or wood or stainless stake. Like any other material that is left out in the weather the UV will eventually fade color including white. This is something you just can't get away from. I have seen Granite patio tables fade out from the sunlight in six months.
Nice sign design, by the way. Simplicity equals elegance.
 

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I understand that I was late with the question, but now with this pandemic, it has become much more relevant than it seems. I need to make several fences at once, my parents asked me to design a table and a bench near the grave in advance during my lifetime. Is it worth it if there is practically no one sitting there?
 
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