Source for Hand-Lettered Signs for Virginia’s Downtowns
Virginia only has seven cities with populations in six figures. Most of it’s cities and towns fall between about 5,000-75,000, with about 10 over and about 120 under. Most of the towns in the Shenandoah Valley, where my shop is located, are perfect places to hang interesting, hand-painted wood signs. And it so happens those are exactly the types of signs I make in my shop near Staunton, Virginia!!
My favorite types of signs are the types of wood signs with carved lettering. The wood panels are glued up end to end, sanded, and then routed using a computerized CNC routing table. After the routing is complete, the signs are sanded again and finished. Usually they are primed, painted, and then lettered with high-quality, eye-catching, durable enamels.
Another type of hand-crafted wood sign that gets lots of attention is the sandblasted type. Usually a stencil is made and adhered to the flat surface, then wherever the stencil does not cover the wood, it is blasted away using a high-pressure sand gun. Various size nozzles are used for different effects. After blasting, the signs are stained with a high-quality, durable solid-color oil stain, then hand-lettered. These signs are very long-lasting and can be easily maintained with scheduled periodic annual cleaning and refresher coats of paint every decade. The sign pictured above for Waynesboro Florist was put into service in the mid-1990’s and is still looking great with only one maintenance call a few years ago, where I rehabbed the fading paint.
Another type of wood sign is the framed plywood panel, like the sign for Valley Pastoral Counseling Center shown at left. With a painted mahogany frame, the edges are sealed from potential water infiltration that would eventually break open the plywood board. With the frame, the signs will provide a long service period just like their solid wood relatives listed above. This particular sign was put into service in the early 1990’s and has had one known maintenance period. The sign is as solid as it was new more than 25 years ago!
Hanging the signs is usually accomplished using iron scroll brackets and chain with hooks. There are several standard bracket types in use, and brackets can also be customized for a much higher investment. Probably one of the biggest things to remember about quality wood signs is their regular maintenance. Just as a great musician would tune her piano on a regular basis to ensure good quality sound, a great business owner would clean, re-stain, and repaint her sign periodically. The rule of thumb for signs manufactured by Augusta Sign Company is every about 5-10 years. The cedar and redwood and mahogany boards themselves will last a lifetime with no maintenance, but the branding that is painted on the signs will have to be periodically refreshed to keep up a positive image.
Call Mark Hackley, founder of Tree Street Signs that later became Augusta Sign Company for all your downtown signage needs. Not only can he help you with wood identification signs, but also door and window lettering, wall lettering, banners, and other temporary advertising signs like sandwich boards that you’d use in marketing your awesome downtown shop. He can be reached at 540-943-9818.
Thanks for all the business, Virginia!!