A compact, efficient vinyl sign workspace

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2017

A veteran sign maker told me once that there were only three ways a sign shop could be more profitable: raise prices, reduce overhead or work more efficiently. When you increase your efficiency, particularly in the aspects of production that you do most frequently, work moves through the shop faster and that lets you increase your sales volume.

One workspace where a lot of production time is spent is wherever you do your weeding and application. Here’s a look at how Don Fischer, Fischer Signs, Cumberland, Maryland, has set up for this task. His slant-topped weeding bench can minimize back strain, too.

“I find it more efficient to have one area to cut, weed and apply vinyl graphics. I don’t need a lot of floor space for this—it’s more a matter of table space and storage.“

Don has a long well-lit workspace with doors to separate it from the rest of the shop. This makes it easier to minimize dust.

Down one side is his weeding bench: a 3-by-16-ft. table with a shelf below for storage of rolls of 15-, 24- and 30-in. vinyl. A partial second shelf above that holds assorted cleaners and supplies. Don built it from standard 2×4 framing lumber and added a plywood top and shelf.

“It’s similar to a blueprint table that construction companies use for reading prints. The bench has a slight slant to make it easier on a person’s back. Mine is 38-in. tall in the front and 43-in. tall in the back, but you can adjust these measurements depending on your height. A fatigue mat on the floor is a good idea, since you spend a lot of time standing there.”

Don has an adjacent worktable that is used to apply vinyl graphics to flat signs. It’s a 4-by-8-ft. table with a shelf below for storage. The top overhangs the frame so that you can easily clamp material in position when necessary. The table is on heavy-duty locking casters for easy movement.

“I have a few tables like this in the shop. They are all the same height so they can be butted together for larger projects, which comes in pretty handy.”
Beyond the application area is Don’s office, where you can see a Gerber Edge with foils stored above. It’s also where he does his design and general office work.

“Next to my vinyl room is another room where I have my router and sheet metal equipment. Behind that is a 34-by-42-ft. shop with a 14-ft. ceiling for truck lettering and fabrication of larger signs. It has a large overhead door. In the near future I’ll be re-vamping this space, so I’ve taken an interest in SignCraft’s articles on shop organization.”

We’d like to see how you organized your workspace, too. Send your photos to us at signcraft@signcraft.com today.