A Taylor Made Sign

    In spring I was commissioned by a family friend to make a house sign for their forever home in Cobourg. They wished to incorporate the local coast/beach. This was a time intensive project but one that I was happy to undertake.

    I began by looking up images that I could carve into the sign that would showcase the beautiful area they had chosen to call home. Cobourg has some lovely beaches complete with lighthouses adorning rocky areas. I thought it would be good to use the Victoria Park entrance’s color scheme as the main non-landscape palette.

    I had constant dialogue with the Taylor’s as far as the general design. I would provide a couple designs and they would offer personal insight of their ideal image of the sign. Eventually we had something that we could start to carve!

    I transferred the design to a knot free pine blank of lumber. I used pine because I thought it would be more resilient to outdoor elements than standard carving wood such as basswood. I tried not to carve too deep because I thought the transition from sky, lake and beach would look too individually defined and not representative of the larger picture of the scene I was going for. I wanted it so subtle that I burnt the beach scene instead of carving it.  Contrary to popular belief, burning does not just give a charred appearance but can help with shaping the carving. For example, in this project the burning adds contouring detail to the shoreline and watchtower, but also adds depth by compressing the wood fibers in the burning process.

    After carving I did a quick lacquering to fill the pores in the wood then I primed it. I used an enamel paint called One Shot synonymous in the sign painting world. Colors were tricky when doing the horizon where Lake Ontario touches the sky. I didn’t want blue on blue of cliche water and sky so I tried to illustrate sunset hues for added contrast. Additionally for the water body, when looking at reference photos of Lake Ontario there seemed to be a green or brackish tinge to the water so I went with the green. I wanted the sign to be vibrant without being too over the top so the painting stage proved to be slightly challenging.

    Finally, before I shipped the sign out, I routed mounting slots in the back. I provided the hardware and a story stick to transpose the mount holes onto the wall. It was a fun way to further hone my carving and painting skills in a more artistic manner than other projects I had recently worked on. I was grateful for the opportunity and I know that the family is happy with the output. Looking forward to feeding the artistic bug in me more often in the future!

    Leave a Comment