First sign design gig

If it’s going to be outdoors, don’t use MDF. Pine is OK provided you prime/undercoat first.
A clear coat (polyurethane) would be a good idea. You can set the gloss level that way.

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And be sure to look for a good uv resistant exterior clear coat + multiple coats.

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I’ve heard MDO (Medium Density Overlay) is the stuff to use for outdoor signs. It’s weatherproof and readily available.

I think 1/4" white acrylic would look fantastic instead of wood for the dimensional shapes…Maybe 1/8" depending on size

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I’ve trashed more projects then i would want to count at the painting stage… so i’m not the one to answer your question.

However, I’m curious about why you did the inlay? Couldn’t you just have glued the letters directly to the base? I’m probably wrong (and almost always am), but couldn’t water get between the inlay cracks causing the wood to swell and the letters to pop out? Even with a number of coats of poly i’ve found water always gets where i don’t want… However, like i said… i suck at painting so maybe this is the correct way to do it :slight_smile:

I’m lazy… i always look for the fastest option :grinning:

It looks great BTW

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I work in the marine industry, so we deal with wood outside all the time. If you use multiple non-UV coatings to seal the wood, then cover that with 1 coat of UV resistant coating, you’ll get minimal protection from UV. Part of the protection factor is the depth of the coat(s). For example, I used numerous coats of epoxy to build a wooden boat, but still had to put numerous coats of varnish over that.

The best reason to do the inlay is the letter spacing (kerning). It’s extremely difficult to do this correctly by eye. The inlay makes it a no-duh, which is what you want for projects of this magnitude.

Ideally, you’ll use a waterproof glue like Titebond III, then coat the whole thing for water intrusion, then coat the whole thing for UV. The good news is that you didn’t have to carve it by hand, so if it gets distressed in a few years, just cut out another one…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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That’s a very interesting technique but has some trade-offs in my book. The amount you sand off is probably close to the amount you have to recess the inlay, so you’re not gaining any height from the thickness of the letters. All that sanding is even messier than carving. It only works on homogenous materials like solid wood and MDF. If you used that technique on plywood, you’d have to sand through the veneer on the face layer.

It’s definitely a tool for the toolbox though. Wouldn’t tabs do a similar thing and be easier to clean up with a Dremel tool than sanding down to the letters. Hmmm…

That looks excellent Phil, really well done.

As a matter of interest how much time did this take and, if you’re willing to disclose, how much did you charge for the piece?

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Wow looks great.
Glad it went well.

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