It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan

Friday, April 16, 2010


Gilding is a job I enjoy a lot. The effect is absolute magic - even after many, many projects. Once the size has tacked up it's time to lay down some gold at last. It is important to gild the letters in the same order and at about the same speed as they were sized. Since the laying of the gold is faster it's a leisurely job I enjoy. Make sure there isn't a strong draft draft or a fan blowing when you do the gold. It is so thin it will blow around wasting it unnecessarily. Take a sheet of gold (still on the tissue paper) from the book and gently lay it into the size. Press it down gently, burnishing it by rubbing through the paper gently. Lift off the paper leaving the gold stuck to the sign. Move to a new section of the lettering and repeat.
The gold will be a little ragged and uneven but not to worry. Once you have finished a section take a large, very soft brush and go over the letters, gently knocking off the excess gold. The brush actually scratches the surface of the gold and these minute scratches make the gold catch the light and sparkle. The effect is dramatic and amazing. Tiny flakes of gold will fall like snow to the floor. Don't sweat it - how often to you get to throw gold to the wind! :)
The reality is that the gold isn't a big number in the scheme of things. This sign with all its lettering only used 32 sheets of gold. In the quantities I buy (by the box) it worked out to be only about $50 worth of gold in total. A second coat of paint on the lettering (if I had done it with paint instead of gold) would have cost the same or more if you include my labor at my shop rate. With the dollars we can fetch for gold leafing I make a lot more profit for less cost. The gold work also sets our work into a class of its own as so very few sign shops offer gilding these days.
Next installment I'll show the finished signs - sparking out in the sun...