Gemini cast aluminum letters on an overlaid plywood panel with a mahogany frame. The arched top is laminated layers.
Letters were CNC-cut from 2-in. SignFoam HDU and sprayed with black Hammerite paint. Secondary copy is ½-in. waterjet cut metal, with the backs tapped for stud mounting. “The tapping was done using a FlexArm tapping tool,” says Bob, “which is a must-have tool for any sign shop.”
Letters are ¾-in. laser-cut acrylic on 1-in. acrylic over a welded metal frame. It’s finished with Behr Ultra paint.
Contour-cut digital print on Avery 1005 supercast Easy apply RS with 1360 gloss laminate
Printed graphics for a popup display
Plasma-cut steel letters with stud mount backs
Hand-lettered and airbrushed wall sign done with 1 shot enamel paint
Plasma-cut steel panel, finished with patinas from Steel F/X
Plasma-cut steel panel, finished with patinas from Steel F/X
Letters are 2-in. CNC-cut SignFoam HDU; secondary copy is laser-cut acrylic on a ¾-in. overlaid plywood panel. It’s all finished with Matthews acrylic polyurethane paints.
“The shirts are a six-color Plastisol print, done on our six-color press and Workhorse dryers.”
“The caps were embroidered on our Tajima 4-head TFMX machine,” says Bob.
Letters are CNC-cut from 2-in. HDU sprayed with black Hammerite paint and mounted on overlaid plywood framed with clear fir and finished with Matthews acrylic polyurethane paint. The backgrounds were printed on Avery media. “The customer gave me a photo of a vintage tickertape machine,” says Bob.
“We made the one on the Tasting Room sign from scratch using laser-cut acrylic and HDU board.”
Lately, Bob and the staff have been calling the shop, which sits on two acres along with Bob and Lamiel’s home, “The Compound” so they decided it needed its own logo.
Lamiel and Bob

Bob Bjorkquist

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Shop name:
Bob’s Signs

Shop size: 1200 sq. ft.

Age: 56

Staff: Three plus Bob

Graphics equipment:
2-by-3-ft. Laguna IQ Pro CNC router
30-in. Roland VersaCAMM digital printer
80- and 100-watt GCC Laser Pro laser cutter/engravers
4-by-4-ft. PlasmaCAM plasma cutter
4-head embroidery machine
Two screenprinting carousels
Sign Wizard software

For Bob, doing garment printing while working his way through college was his doorway to the sign business. He went on to apprentice as a sign painter. Working in sign shops taught him most aspects of sign making, and he went on to learn neon bending. He launched Bob’s Signs in 1984, creating a diverse graphics business that’s still growing.

Signs and more: We’re getting ready to break ground on a 3000-sq.-ft. shop. We’ll finally have enough room—or at least I think so! [Laughing.] Right now the sign shop is in a 30-by-40-ft. building, and I have multiple outbuildings on the property where we do the engraving and embroidery work. It’s two acres that we’ve taken to calling “The Compound”.

There’s a lot going in our area right now—wineries, schools and lots of tourist-related businesses. These are businesses that want unique custom signs so we get into some fun projects.

We do a lot of signs, but we also do a lot of screenprinting and embroidery. It has become about half of our business, and it fits in very nicely with the sign work. You’d be surprised how many sign customers turn out to also be customers for embroidery, screenprinting or laser engraving.

We’ve always tried to be a one-stop shop for everything from signs to promotional items to T-shirts to hats. They all kind of go together. Garments and promotional items aren’t like signs—they’re used up and reordered. You build a sign to last and it’s out there for decades, but folks come back for screenprinting, embroidery and promotional things.

Tell customers what you do: When you work like this, it’s important to make sure every customer knows everything you can do. Otherwise it’s too easy for them to go online and order a bunch of T-shirts. Six months later when you do a sign for them and they see a stack of shirts in your shop, they’ll say, “I didn’t know you did T-shirts…” It’s the same with signs. If you do a monument for them, they may think you don’t do wraps. They need to know you can do it all.

Cut from steel: I’ve been doing cutout metal letters forever. I have always liked that look. We’ve done a lot of them on our plasma cutter. I like to use interesting finishes on them, too, because it really adds to the effect.

And using the plasma cutter is what got me into laser cutting. It’s amazing what you can do with this equipment. Our 100-watt laser will cut through 3/8-in. acrylic, which makes a beautiful letter. It’s also thick enough that I can tap it to use it on a sign face.

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