Mill the boards: 60 minutes I buy beautiful clear western red cedar in the rough, 2-in. thick and 8-in. wide, net, then mill them to about 1¾-in. thick. A 12-ft. board costs about $150, but it is worth it. I tend to be fussy about my work, even prepping and milling the boards.
Lay up the panel: 20 minutes I coat each edge with Titebond III glue, then clamp the boards together. On a sign this size, I use two bar clamps on the bottom and one on top. This photo shows a different panel about the same size clamped up.
Sandblasting: 30 minutes I sandblast with 40-grit glass beads. It’s pretty aggressive. It cuts fairly deep and gives a nice effect on high density urethane board, too. It’s
Here’s the blasted panel after peeling the stencil off the letter and graphics portion. I like to use a halo blast or pillow blast, blasting deeper around the borders and graphics. It’s such a nice effect and it really adds to the dimension.
Fill and sand: 30 minutes Once I peel off the stencil, I patch any tear-outs and sand the graphics. I’m especially careful to get areas that will be gilded as smooth as possible.
Router-carve and paint the letters: 90 minutes The letters were CNC-carved from PVC board, so they’re fairly rigid. I used two coats of Jay Cooke’s Sign Primer followed by 1 Shot enamel to get a nice surface for gilding.
I did a quick dry fit of the letters just to see how they would look.
Paint the panel: 2 hours I use two coats of primer on the cedar panel, followed by two coats of Benjamin Moore exterior acrylic paint. When I need a very intense color I use Nova Paint.
Gild the letters: 60 minutes I use LeFranc slow size and 23K patent gold leaf. It’s easier than loose gold for me to handle and it looks great. I usually put the size on in the afternoon and let it dry for about 20 hours before I give it the knuckle test to see if it’s ready to gild.
Gild borders: 20 minutes It took about 20 minutes to do the borders and clean up. There’s usually a little bit of stray gold that sticks in the border paint, so I touch that up. The sign was mounted on custom iron brackets that were mounted on the gate.

What’s it cost to produce this 24-by-30-in. sandblasted sign?

By Noëlla Cotnam

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019

Materials:
Western red cedar: $250
(material, shipping, planing and joining)
Sandblast mask: $65
Gold leaf: $85
Paint and misc: $50
Total materials: $450 CDN (About $340 US)

Labor:
Design and prep file: 3 hours
Lay up, cut panel: 80 minutes
Sandblast panel: 30 minutes
Painting: 2 ½ hours
Router-carve letters: 90 minutes
Gilding: 80 minutes
Total time: about 10 hours

It’s always nice when a customer comes to you because they have seen your work and want one of your signs. This is one of those signs.


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