Diggin’ up the past: The dawn of sandblasted signs
This process caused an explosion of 3D wooden signs in the ‘80s and ‘90s
By Mike Jackson
Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Sandblasted wooden signs have been seen on the pages of SignCraft for decades. You’ll likely see a fair amount of them in this issue, too! Looking back, I can see that my SignCraft articles on the sandblasting process probably had something to do with their popularity, but of course, I was standing on the shoulders of giants who paved the way before me.
I remember seeing my first sandblasted sign in Aspen, Colorado, sometime in the mid-70s. It was a small Hours sign next to the entrance of a bank. I stood there a long time, studying it and trying to get a few clues about how it was produced. At that point, most dimensional signs were hand routed, or consisted of letters hand cut with a jig saw or band saw. Wow!
My shop, if you could call it that, was 1000 miles back in Oklahoma. I had just graduated from college and was trying to make a living doing signs. Most of them were flat painted, but adding an extra panel or cutout shape helped make them stand out. But the process used to make the Hours sign in Aspen was something completely different!