How to “Sharpen” a Cove Edge Inside Corner

Shel Israel

Shel Israel (Image courtesy of Google+)

“It is amazing to me how the most mundane topics can come to life by stories that explain the challenges, details, process and pride that go into almost any work or craft.”

Shel Israel

These words could apply to a wide range of craft work, but Israel happened to be writing about the sign making trade, and – more specifically – referring to this very blog in its younger days. And so, in keeping with an esteemed tradition, here’s a bit of down-to-earth, nitty-gritty shop talk. This little photo series demonstrates how we “sharpen” an inside corner, after routing a cove edge with the hand router.

Then, of course, you have to repeat the process again for each inside corner. No wonder so many signs in this world are rectangular!

Fancy Shaped Sign for bridal shop

On this double-sided specimen, I had to “sharpen” twenty-four corners! I would love to replace this image with a beautiful photo of the sign, hanging from the building. It’s in Seattle. If you happen to pass by, please snap a picture & send it through!

 

It takes a little extra time to “cut-corners”, but it sure gives the sign a nice, crisp look.

Sign Painters & Sign Carvers

If you happen to live in Asheville, Austin or Istanbul, or any of the other locations listed here, and – like me – you are fascinated by traditional sign-making, get a few like-minded friends together and go watch The Signpainters, a documentary about hand-lettering in America. It’s a movie by photographer Faythe Levine & filmmaker Sam Macon, that has been a few years in the making, but is now showing in a theatre near (or maybe not so near) you.

Faythe Levine

Faythe Levine

Recently, I had the chance to chat with Faythe about the project. I asked her where the idea of the Sign Painters movie came from.

I had a group of friends who started hanging out in a sign shop in Minneapolis back in the 90’s. It was through them I discovered that being a “sign painter” was actually a job. Now, 15 years later all those friends have full time sign shops and are all involved in some part of this project.

Was one of them our good friend Mike Meyer of Mike Meyer Signs?

No….but Mike is great, we were so glad to have him involved with the final project.

Will the movie help keep the lettering craft alive?

I think our movie will provide an accessible go-to for helping people understand the importance of the role sign painters have played and will continue to play in our lives.

Does she see a revival of traditional sign-making techniques?

There has definitely been a boom of interest from a younger design motivated audience over the course  of our production.

Would she ever make a sequel?

Nope.

 

Poster fo Sign Painters Movie

Hand-painted (well, duh.) poster by Jeff Canham

As with all good things, there’s also a book version:

Sign Painters Book Cover

Cover for the Sign Painters Book

Having said all of that, I must add we’ve done precious little hand-lettering at our shop. That’s because we’re primarily a carving shop. Our signs are three-dimensional. If the sign painters in this movie are fighting the vinyl cutter, we sign-carvers are rebelling against the CNC router. I hope the sign-carving craft gets a documentary too, some day!

Hand-Lettered Sign for Cafe Legato

This is the one of the few signs we’ve made with authentic hand-lettered type. The words “Cafe Legato” just didn’t want to be restricted by a paint mask. The sign hangs in San José, California. Cafe owner Rodelio said “Wow! you guys did a good job…Thank you so much and I will surely recommend you to my friends in business.”

Cafe Legato Hand-Lettered Logo

See what I mean?

And finally, to end with, a little lettering demonstration from Dan Madsen of Dusty’s Signs, (Minneapolis, Minnesota):

No that won’t be in the sign painter movie, that’s a short promo clip my friend Hunter Johnson made for me. – Dan

 

Dard Hunter Lives On

“Art is the Flower. Life is the Green Leaf. Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing, something that will convince the world that there may be, there are, things more precious more beautiful – more lasting than life itself.” – Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Past blog posts have discussed Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and his influence on the world of art and architecture, as an influential  member of the Arts and Crafts Movement (an art and design movement of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth). Clover Signs produced more than a few Mackintosh-inspired signs, which were displayed on earlier blog posts. Maybe that’s why we received a request early last month from a customer in New Mexico, USA, who wanted an office sign in the Arts and Crafts style.

We first experimented with a font developed by Mackintosh himself, and later settled on P22 Arts and Crafts, developed by Mackintosh’s well-known contemporary Dard Hunter. Mackintosh was an architect from Glasgow, while Hunter was an expert on printing and traditional papermaking from Ohio, USA. The fact that two men in such diverse professions and locations  were both significant to the Arts and Crafts style, is tribute to the breadth and scope of the movement itself.

Arts and Crafts Book Cover Page

A Printed Page in the Arts & Cafts Style (image courtesy of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers)

The Arts and Crafts style gradually petered out around the time of the Second World War. But since the nineteen-seventies, there has been a noticeable revival of the style, especially in architecture & typography. Countless Arts-and-Crafts fonts continue to be designed and released, Canadian sign-maker Shane Durnford (and many other modern-day craftsmen) could be considered Arts-and-Crafts-inspired, and there will be a Dard Hunter Conference in St. Louis this October, sponsored by the Friends of Dard Hunter.

An Arts-and-Crafts-style house number sign by David Meddings

An “upcycled” Arts-and-Crafts-style house number sign by David Meddings

A Paper-Making Workshop by the Friends of Dard Hunter

A Paper-Making Workshop by the Friends of Dard Hunter

And what about the office sign?

Office Sign Revision 2

The Original Design

Office Sign Revision 3

With the new font & custom-design arrow to match

Office Sign Revision 6

The final design

Dard Hunter Inspired Sign

And the finished sign

So that’s our humble contribution to the Arts and Crafts Revival (hanging on an office door in New Mexico).

“The sign arrived today and I’m more than pleased with its design and quality – really beautiful work.  Thanks to you and your excellent staff! I’m also very impressed with your packaging.  It seems as close to “bulletproof” as one can achieve in a practical sense.” – Chris

 

Another milestone: 3,000 Signs!

We are proud to announce that Clover Signs has now made over 3,000 signs since our opening in December 2006.  The Clover Signs team would like to thank all our customers for their business which has enabled us to reach this milestone.   Special thanks to those customers that have come back repeatedly to order additional signs for their business or property.

So who bought our 3,000th sign?  It went to the Greenbank Bed and Breakfast which is beautifully situated in the village of Bowerchalke.  The village lies within a conservation area designated as an area of “outstanding natural beauty”.  I’ve never been there but having looked at their website, www.greenbank101.com, I’m sure it would prove to be very rewarding.

Here is the sign already installed!

Green Bank B&B Sign

Greenbank B & B – new sign

And here is the sign it replaced! Yes it’s there, in the bottom right hand corner.

Old Sign

Old Sign

We would love to have you become one of our valued customers.

Post Signs and Free Standing Signs

Our hanging signs and free standing signs are becoming more and more popular, as our customers realize the benefit of sourcing custom metal work from the same supplier as their hand crafted signage.   These signs are ideal for the end of long driveways, providing a quality welcome statement to your property.   As you can see in the photo below they can also be ordered with mountings for a hanging flower basket to give it that added touch.

Post Sign with Flower Basket

Post Sign with Flower Basket
Free Standing Entrance Sign

Free Standing Entrance Sign

Backdrop Gherkin

Here is another business sign we did recently.  We don’t usually do installations but since this one was just down the road and  in the heart of downtown London we decided to do it ourselves to be sure it was done right.  At first glance the sign might not look that big.  In fact is is 2.85 meters long and 66 cm wide.  A little bigger than your normal house sign!  You might just be able to see that it has two joints inside the A’s at both ends but that sure does not distract from the effect of the sign.  Here are some before and after shots, unfortunately it was raining so the photos are not the best.

Anokha Old

Previous Sign

New Sign

New Sign
New Hanging Sign

New Hanging Sign

If you are ever in the area you might be interested in a meal at the Anokha Indian Bar & Restaurant.  If you are here because of your interest in signs visit our website to place an inquiry and see more of our work.

Good news for B&B’s

For most people the present economic crisis spells bad times but with the Bed and Breakfast trade that does not seem to be the case.   With the recent credit crunch more and more people are finding that going abroad is beyond their means and they are looking at the cheaper alternative of going on holiday closer to home.  This means more business for Bed and Breakfasts and more and more people are looking at the option of starting a B&B to make a little extra money.  At  Clover Signs we are glad for the increase in enquiries into  Bed and Breakfast Signs.  They are simpler than most business signs because often they hang outside a private residence and serve as a house sign as well.  The example below demonstrates this.

Detachable B&B sign.

The sub sign is attached using quick links and can be removed during the winter months or when you no longer wish advertise your B&B to passers by. Also perfect for hotels.