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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    21
    Greetings folks,

    I just about gave up on redwood for sandblasting when it became very rare and expensive. Twnety years ago tight vertical grain could be picked up for about three dollars a board foot. Then I began to try lots of other woods but nothing seems as good. I've now made the change over to Lowe's Ponderosa Pine.

    This material is dirt cheap and can be found in vertical grain but there's a hitch to using it. That being it's hardness. Regular sandblast mask won't stand up to the pressure to get any depth. I'm now taking the background down 1/2" with a router then a light sandblast and it's done.

    I've been buying 2"X8" stock.

    If a person doesn't have a router, I'd suggest finding a company who will take your art and do a little background removal. I've take lots of photo's showing the technique if anyone is interested.

    Joe
    www.normansignco.com
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Register, GA
    Posts
    6,150
    Sounds like a very interesting procedure Joe, althought sounds very labor intensive...

    I would certainly enjoy seeing your "steps" pictures posted here....
    JimmyG's Signs & hieroglyphics
    Local colour FINE SIGNS since 1980....
    slightly out of register......a drop shade away from statesboro blues...
    a tad bit offbeat and indeed a fine tone of local colour....
    designs, graphics, blasted redwood, hand-lettered painted signs, illuminations, metalworks, and other artful deeds that get installed into reality or maybe carved in stone.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Register, GA
    Posts
    6,150
    Actually, I don't usually have trouble getting deep blasts in softer woods like cedar and ponderosa pine....It's all in the preparation, the stencil type, and blasting techinque....

    I prepare my soft wood blanks after laminating and sanding with a good first "soaker" coat of oilbase sanding sealer...When that soaks in and drys, I sand again and do another coat of sanding sealer...This helps to "harden" the surface of the blank and helps proper stencil adhesion....

    I use Anchor stencil #155 (High Tac) that I can run through my plotter....

    I use a large sandpot with a 185cfm compressor and medium grit sand....An amply cfm air supply is most important....When blasting, I take my time and don't get to close with the nozzle....The cause of most stencil failure is blasting to close which heats up the stencil and the adhesive, therefore causing stencil release and "fly offs" when blasting...

    Many times with softer woods, I use a homemade "grain frame" to enhance the final grain blast.....
    JimmyG's Signs & hieroglyphics
    Local colour FINE SIGNS since 1980....
    slightly out of register......a drop shade away from statesboro blues...
    a tad bit offbeat and indeed a fine tone of local colour....
    designs, graphics, blasted redwood, hand-lettered painted signs, illuminations, metalworks, and other artful deeds that get installed into reality or maybe carved in stone.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    21
    Thanks Jimmy for the reply,

    After reading through the posts on dimensional signs, it looks as though you are the lone wolf on the topic. You're doing an excellent job.

    Here 's my process.

    My wood supply is Lowe's. I've been told by other artists their Lowe's doesn't have as much a supply of vertical grain Pine. You'll find me at the end of the 2X8 looking for vertical grain. You have to be very choosy. But it's so cheap it's worth the time.


    Here's what you look for.

    I have years with redwood but like the finished pine much better, but it's at least twice as heavy and three times as hard to blast. This is dense, dense wood. Like you, I'm using a twin screw compressor with an 185CFM output.

    I no longer cut my sandblast and transfer it to my sign. I apply the Hartco stencil directly to my raw panel without any sanding, sealing or preparation. Then we route the background with a 1/4 bit and finish up around the letters with a 1/8 or sometimes A 1/16 bit. I usually go down a full 1/2





    From there blasting only takes three or four minutes. I've found glass beads cut almost twice as fast as sand. Since I make only larger signs this keeps the progress moving down the road.

    One of my initial concerns was longevity of the pine. Would it warp and withstand the elements? Most of you know pine has much more sap to deal with than kiln dried redwood. For that reason you must use a stain blocker, oil based, blockout white If you don't there will be yellow stains peeping through. I've done extensive research on wood rot. There's an abundance of information from the US Forestry Division and others. It came as a shock to me to find out Borax to be one of the best preservatives. It's safe and cheap. Five dollars of this powder, dissolved in water will do a hundred signs.



    My process is fairly unique and I don't know of anyone else going this route. If you have the necessary wood working skills and skills this process is very quick. I'm sure there are other shortcuts to be found.



    To shorten up the painting of letters, I often go to the plotter or router. This is an example I done on HDU

    I lookforward to suggestions or questions
    Joe Crumley
    www.normansignco.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    21
    Jimmy,

    Do you know of any forums who are more dedicated to dimensional work. I'd like to join up with some people who aren't sticker people.

    Ten year ago I moved over to 3D work. I don't do banners, realty signs, vehickle stickers or much of anything as per quicky stuff. So, I'm searching for those kind of folks to share idea's and techniques. If you know of any forums like that, I appreciate knowing.

    Joe
    www.normansignco.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Register, GA
    Posts
    6,150
    First of all in reply Joe, you evidently have a cnc table because you make no mention of "pattern making" with your "routering"....not many of us sandblasters have that "additional" equipment...otherwise it's blasting from handcut or computer cut stencils applied to the panel substrates....

    Secondly, the wood you are able to use given your assumed cnc equipment, is NOT vertical grain lumber....It's plain sawn from younger trees, given the end patterns you have shown...

    [attachment=121311:quartersawn.jpg]

    It's fine to use plain sawn lumber for nice grain patterns, but from a longevity standpoint it will not last for ages as will true vertical grain lumber....True vertical grain lumber is quarter sawn from large trees like redwoods and western red cedars.....
    True quality in this sort of dimensional woodworks needs to have a longevity factor given the cost factor to the sign owner....All stated In my ole school humble opinion, my sandblasted signworks are expensive and last for ages, given repaints every 10 years or so....

    Another thing that you have not given us pleasure to see is your plank lamination techniques....That's another factor that will sure determine the longevity of a fine dimensional sign such as you show us...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    JimmyG's Signs & hieroglyphics
    Local colour FINE SIGNS since 1980....
    slightly out of register......a drop shade away from statesboro blues...
    a tad bit offbeat and indeed a fine tone of local colour....
    designs, graphics, blasted redwood, hand-lettered painted signs, illuminations, metalworks, and other artful deeds that get installed into reality or maybe carved in stone.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    21
    Jimmy,

    Many of the signs on my website are a full twenty years old and standing strong. Much of the longevity has to do with maintenance. A fresh coat of paint every few years pays off in saving the wood.

    Most of the lumber found today is plantation grown and harvested as they reach the optimal size for profit. Yes, you're right, quarter sawn lumber which renders true vertical grain. It's preferable for stability since it has less tendency to split and warp. As you know, to get lumber of any dimension quarter sawn tree must be much larger. Your illustration is a good example. Thanks for posting it.

    There's a the flame pattern found in most plantation lumber which I find to very attractive. Most of my redwood signs dating back to the 70's have tight vertical grain with little or no knots. Today, if I had a choice of the pure quarter sawn lumber or the lumber with a flame, I'd choose the later.





    I'm a one man show and very dedicated to making my signs last for as long as possible. A few years ago I had some router work done by a local shop. I was also having quiet a bit of my vinyl cutting by them also. Ulitmately I bought a Shopbot which made it possible to extend my quality.



    Plank Lamination: When I first started out the technique was dowells. That was difficult and sometimes the dowels got in the way. I progressed on to splines and that lasted for years. Little did I know all of this was not necessary. The only advantage was allighment of panels, it didn't add much stregnth. Now I joint the boards and glue them up. I use Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. I've used epoxy, resourcenol, and titebond but Weldwood works best for me. I mix it up thick enough that it's gap filling. I'm sure there are other methods. I have a couple of signs coming up and will take a few snaps to show the process if anyone is interested.

    Do you have a website or a place where I can see more of your fine work?

    Joe
    www.normansignco.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Dahlonega, GA
    Posts
    4,762
    So Joe, are you saying you have sandblasted PINE that's been out there for 20 years? I'm not disputing you, I just would like you to clarify that. I can't see pine lasting that long without buckling, twisting, warping and cracking. Cedar, yes. But not pine without a reseal every year or two.
    Ron Brown
    GetNoticed Signs & Graphics

    With the speed of technology today, anybody who says "it can't be done" is usually interrupted by somebody who is already doing it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Register, GA
    Posts
    6,150
    Joe, I had good look at your website, and gotta say you have some mighty pretty work to show...
    Here's an active link for others to check you out.... http://www.normansignco.com/

    I most admire your quest for dimensional "depth" with wood signage, it's something I have strived to do for many years with old school hand done sandblasting techniques....

    At least in our converstaion here, we are making things clear that your present technique for "depth" is achieved by CNC Shopbot router....There is much difference in this and achieving good depth by mere sandblasting....Stencil is different, art files are different, it's kinda like an uncle to brother artform....
    For an ole school signmaker like me, the depth of a dimensional wood sign is everything first hand to quality...so many young bucks are out there blasting signs with a mere 1/8th inch depth and can barely paint them with clear definition...a pet peeve of mine....

    You also mention alot of other good things for discussion Joe like Borax treatments....We should start new threads to discuss these things further...I have used such and it fits well with "bleaching" techniques for natural finished backgrounds on dimensional wood signs....

    Good to have you here Joe...let's carry on with more discussion !
    JimmyG's Signs & hieroglyphics
    Local colour FINE SIGNS since 1980....
    slightly out of register......a drop shade away from statesboro blues...
    a tad bit offbeat and indeed a fine tone of local colour....
    designs, graphics, blasted redwood, hand-lettered painted signs, illuminations, metalworks, and other artful deeds that get installed into reality or maybe carved in stone.....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Register, GA
    Posts
    6,150
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Joe Crumley @ Nov 13 2009, 11:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Plank Lamination: When I first started out the technique was dowells. That was difficult and sometimes the dowels got in the way. I progressed on to splines and that lasted for years. Little did I know all of this was not necessary. The only advantage was allighment of panels, it didn't add much stregnth. Now I joint the boards and glue them up. I use Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. I've used epoxy, resourcenol, and titebond but Weldwood works best for me. I mix it up thick enough that it's gap filling. I'm sure there are other methods. I have a couple of signs coming up and will take a few snaps to show the process if anyone is interested.[/b]
    I have used all of your aforementioned lamination techniques also....Spline joints by far outlast all the other techniques but are the hardest and most labor intensive to achieve....I currently use biscuit joinery in combination with polyurethane glue and have had some excellent results for about the last 8 or so years....Speaking of the glues that you have used Joe, I have tried all of them also....I've had the most success longevity wise with epoxy types and in present years the polyurethanes, but I am in a much hotter and more humid environment down here in the south coastal area.

    Speaking of glues Joe, have your tried the polyurethanes?
    I have tried all the store brands, most are substandard with the exception of Gorilla Glue which is the most expensive.....
    The absolute best polyurethane glue for our purposes is in my opinion "Excel One" PU glue....
    http://www.excelglue.com/ ... http://www.excelglue.com/one.htm ... http://www.excelglue.com/productoverview.htm
    The working properties are far superior to the store brands for both wood and HDU....Certainly worth a try for your work Joe....
    JimmyG's Signs & hieroglyphics
    Local colour FINE SIGNS since 1980....
    slightly out of register......a drop shade away from statesboro blues...
    a tad bit offbeat and indeed a fine tone of local colour....
    designs, graphics, blasted redwood, hand-lettered painted signs, illuminations, metalworks, and other artful deeds that get installed into reality or maybe carved in stone.....


 

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