Create layout: 20 minutes I did the layout in Gerber Omega software. Later I would send the text to the plotter to cut the sandblast stencil.
Cut blank to shape: 25 minutes I used a western red cedar sign blank from Allwood SignBlanks, and cut it to shape with a scroll saw, then sanded the edges.
Cut border and graphic masks: 30 minutes I taped off the borders and hand cut them, then made a pounce pattern of the graphic and cut it.
Cut and apply text masks: 35 minutes It took only a few minutes for the plotter to cut the stencil for the script and numerals, then I applied it.
Sandblast the blank: 35 minutes That’s the approximate setup and blasting time. I take my signs to a nearby sandblaster and let him handle it.
Prime background, remove stencil: 25 minutes Before removing the stencil, I sprayed the background with Zinsser Bulls-eye 123 primer to minimize bleeding.
Rout bevelled edge: 10 minutes Routing a quick bevel on the edge adds a nice finished look to the panel.
Painting: 40 minutes I sprayed thesign with light blue exterior latex. When dry, I rolled the blue latex on the letters and borders.
Paint graphic: 40 minutes I hand painted the graphic with 1 Shot enamels.

What’s it cost to produce this 23-by-32-in. sandblasted sign?

Sandblasted red cedar makes a beautiful residence sign

By David Showalter

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2018

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Allwood western red cedar sign blank: $130
Sandblast mask: $45
Paint: $30
Total materials: $205

Design: 20 minutes
Cut panel to shape: 25 minutes
Apply stencil masks: 65 minutes
Sandblast: 35 minutes
Rout edge: 10 minutes
Painting: 80 minutes
Total time: about 4 hours
I’ve done quite a few signs for private residences over the years. It started with a few signs for cottages at the lake and kept growing. Sometimes they come as the result of doing other sign work for someone. I have several signs like this in my display area and that has helped sell more of them. Some customers never think of getting a sign like that until they see that you do them.

Such is the case with this customer. I did truck lettering for their business and that led to a sign for a lake cottage. This one is for a winter home in Florida, which explains the theme.

The script on the sign is a font called A&S Cardiak. Rather than just use the text as you type it in, I like to massage it a little bit to make the lettering look more natural. We heavy it up and tweak the letter styles a little bit.

Here we made the W a little smaller and adjusted the letter spacing. You have to move things around a little based on the letters you have to work with. The numerals, by the way, are Percepta Bold from

I like to use western red cedar sign blanks for residence signs. These signs are often seen up close, and the natural woodgrain delivers a beautiful effect that is hard to match.

Residence signs are always fun to do, because the customer is enthusiastic about them. They want something unique and creative. They’re also more likely to leave the design work up to you, which always results in them getting your best work.

David Showalter’s shop, David Design, is in Bryan, Ohio.

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