Robert Lusk
Hand-carved 24-by-42-in. western red cedar panel finished with 1Shot paint and 23K gold leaf on the letters and border.
Vinyl lettering on 30-in. panel of ¾-in. overlaid plywood finished with 1 Shot enamel
Vinyl lettering on a 2-by-8-ft. aluminum sign face on a tubular aluminum frame, finished with 1 Shot enamel. The 24-by-30-in. projecting sign is made the same way, with a hand-rolled steel hanger on top. “I always look for a simple graphic that will quickly convey what a business does,” Robert says. “It’s the easiest way to make sure people find their way into a business. The image gets the message across to the viewer faster than the words.”
Cut-out acrylic lettering on 28-in. circle of African mahogany with a rolled aluminum edge wrap. “One of the things I like to do is use natural wood with hand lettering or cut out letters. I use hardwood or reclaimed wood—it adds a beautiful look to a sign.”
Pops is cut out, gilded HDU board letters on a 24-by-36-in. overlaid plywood panel, finished and lettered with 1 Shot enamel paint. “I love what gold leaf does to a sign,” says Robert. “I sell it whenever I can. It really adds magic to a sign.”
Hand lettered on 24-by-36-in. panel of overlaid plywood.
22K gold leaf vinyl on a 48-in. panel of overlaid plywood on a custom hand rolled steel bracket and post cap.
Routed 3-by-4-ft. HDU panel on fluted posts for a residential community on Captiva Island, Florida. The numerals, inset border and post caps are copper leaf, and sign is finished with 1 Shot enamel paint.
Hand lettered on 24-by-48-in. overlaid plywood panel
Gold leaf lettering, about 15-by-30-in. overall
Routed 22-by-28-in. western red cedar panel in a steel frame and a custom bracket. “About 15 years ago I took a welding class because I wanted to design and build unique brackets for my signs. I roll, bend, cut and weld the steel to make brackets that add to the appeal of the signs.”
Acrylic letters on a glass panel bonded to a 25-by-33-in. oval of overlaid plywood. The fish was painted on the glass in reverse, then the background was glass-gilded.
“When I saw those doors,” Robert says, “I knew that gold leaf was the only option for the transom number. A gilded transom is considered appropriate for historic Colonial and Federal style architecture.”
“I do a fair number of transom window restorations here for both business and residences, doing the street number in gold leaf. It’s one of my favorite types of work. Gold leaf on glass can last 100 years if properly cleaned. You can see a lot of fine old examples when you walk around Alexandria.”

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Profile: Robert Lusk

Alexandria, Virginia

By signcraft

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2017

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Shop name:
Old Town Sign Co.

Shop size: 750 sq. ft.

Staff: up to 4 at times

Age: 49

Graphics equipment:
Mimaki printer
Ioline cutter

For twenty-seven years, I have honed my craft of design and fabrication of distinguished signage for my community here in Alexandria. Most of my work is in an area known as Old Town, which is the historical center of Alexandria.

Located just fifteen minutes from Washington, DC, Old Town is known for its bustling waterfront shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets and historic homes. I grew up there. I watched my grandfather, himself a small business owner, work tirelessly to provide for his family. I knew that selfemployment was not an easy path, but it was clear that it was a rewarding one.

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