Final pictures of the Pub Signs

No project is complete they say until all of the paperwork is done. That of course includes documenting the finished pieces with great photographs. The pub signs won’t be installed in the project until some moths down the road. Chances are the lighting won’t be great and the backgrounds will be busy and cluttered. We’ll get pictures then but in the meantime we needed some good ones. The solution was to set up a temporary photo backdrop (two sheets of plywood) and paint it a neutral colour. We then rolled the signs into place, one at a time and took a bunch of pictures with a good quality digital camera. These pictures were then brought into Photoshop and tweaked a little. Lighting and contrast were adjusted, and the images were cropped and adjusted so there was no keystoning. In about an hour we had images of the seven signs that were of great quality.

The Crown & Pin Pub sign is now the marquee for the establishment. Very different on both sides it still looks great from any angle.

The Garden Gnome sign makes me smile. I’m not generally a big fan of the color green but it certainly is the perfect choice for this sign. The two sides of the sign are similar but not at all identical. It would be hard to pick a favourite.

Peter designed the Moon Wine sign and did an awesome job. He cleverly used dimension to make it work well from both sides.

The Trolls Bitter Ale sign is one of those pieces that is so ugly its cute. The colours Becke picked are fittingly gundgy. It’s a classic.

The Forest Lady sign is pure class and elegance – as it should be. The colours are muted and earthy. The welded steel bracket defies description and reminds me of a regal set of feet antlers.

The Toad Stool Elixir sign was great fun. The 23K gold leaf on the lettering adds some serious bling to an earthy and well aged sign.

The Merry Dragon Pub sign was also a great deal of fun. My goal was to create a sign that looked to be a hundred years old with a baby dragon perched on top. This sign is a piece of high contrast as it sparkles brightly and yet sports a well worn age.

Last two pub signs substantially complete

The last of the six pub sings are now substantially complete. The Crown and Pin Pub sign received the last of it’s aging glazes polishing it off.

The Forest Lady Spirits sign still needs a last weathering glaze on the bracket. We’ve set up and painted a photo backdrop and tomorrow the signs will be gone over one last time as necessary and then documented photographically.

Four Pub signs finished

Four of the six pub signs are now complete. They make for a unique and eclectic collection. The Garden Variety Gnome Schnapps sign sports some bright traditional garden gnome colours.

The Moon Wine sign combines some very unique colours (for our studio) Jenessa did a wonderful job on the hand blends throughout.

The Toad Stool Elixir sign looks suitably aged but the 23K gold leaf brightens it back up with some serious bling!

The Trolls Bitter Ale sign is warm and inviting. Becke did an awesome job with the subtle blends.

Gnome pub sign step by step – part four

Sometimes I get so into a project that I forget the things I need to do. I had so much fun assembling and sculpting the gnome sign today I forgot to take pictures along the way. The sign assembled easily. The routed hole in the centre section allowed me to simply drop in the cut sections of tubing. It welded up in a couple of minutes. I drilled for the rods in three of the corners and then welded them into place. I glued the sign around this steel framework.

Once the glue was dry I did the cleanup on the corners which would be impossible once the brackets were in place. I then tacked up the corner angle brackets and squared everything up using the curved scrolls as a guide. I tacked those in place as well. I then mounted everything to the back mounting plate and checked everything one last time to make sure it was square and level. Then I laid on some finish beads.

I then used the air powered die grinder to clean up the edges of the sign and add a little texture to the flat areas. Then it was time for some sculpting fun! The gnome took about three hours to complete. Half this time was spent mixing the epoxy as my helpers were all busy on other projects. I still have the two small corner mushrooms to sculpt as well as the bottom clover leaf but that will only take a few minutes at best. Then it is on to the painting department! Stay tuned…

CNC bracket magic

In the last couple of days Peter has been busy designing, cutting and welding up the brackets for two of the signs for NEBs pub. EnRoute software and the MultiCam Plasma cutter makes it easy and fast to create anything we can imagine. The first bracket was for the Moon Wine sign. As with all of the signs in this series the bracket fit perfectly with the sign.

The Crown and Pin bracket formed part of the sign, unusual but effective. with the bracket attached the sign resembles a whisky bottle label. Both signs will become more even striking as the paint is applied.

Gnome pub sign step by step – part 3

Each time we create a hanging sign we think of a number of things. The first is that we want to create a bracket that fits perfectly with the sign design, not merely an afterthought. Our second thoughts are about strength. Hanging signs can be dangerous if not done correctly. Precision Board, even the heavy 30 lb density has little structural strength. We have to engineer hard mounting points in from the start. The fact that this hanging sign is to go into a pub means we have to design in a little more in case some tough guy who’s had a few too many decides to do a chin-up.

It starts with the internal frame inside the sign. We opted for 1.5 inch square tubing in this case – plenty strong for the task. I laid out a vector which is 1.6″ wide – which allows a little extra wiggle room. These rectangles were combined and formed the cut path for the internal welded steel frame. The brackets will weld to this frame.

I then laid out the 3/8″ thick angle brackets we would fabricate for three corners of the sign. The fancy bracket was then drawn around these mounting points using EnRoute drawing tools.

I then duplicated and flipped these vectors for the bottom portion of the bracket.

The wall mounting flange was built using a variety of arranged shapes which I then combined. Adding the bolting holes finished this piece off.

To create the welded 3/8″ plate angle brackets I created a 4×5″ reciting;e and then added an oval. This would cut out leaving room for the 5/8″ round rod that would go through them.

I also rounded the outside corners using the chamfer drawing tool.

The files were then ready to send to the plasma cutter.  I’ll cut these while the router whittles out the sign faces. I can hardly wait to assemble this little beauty and see how it all looks together. Stay tuned…

Gnome sign step by step – part two

It was easy to create the entire routing files inside EnRoute. I started with some simple squares.

I then used the distort tool to wiggle up the lines nicely. In the old days this would be done by hand – now in EnRoute an automated and controllable function.

I used the offset tool to create inside lines spaced half inch from the originals. I then placed the lettering vectors. They were adjusted as needed (stretched or shrunk) to fit in their respective spaces. We decided to change ‘whiskey’ to schnapps – just for fun. (we also already had a whiskey sign)

I ten created a flat relief for the main sign.

The corner blocks were then created as separate flat reliefs.

I then depressed the centres of all of the reliefs

I created the vector shapes for a four leaf clover an a mushroom for the corner decorations. These will be just flat shapes for routing as I want to hand sculpt the final icons to make each corner distinctive.

Then it was time to try out a few of the new WOODGRAIN TEXTURES I would do the textures one board at a time – and all different.

I then rotated the sign by 45 degrees and applied more wood grain bitmaps to the corner blocks.

I then created a vector shape for the gnome and used the dome tool to create a relief.

When I checked the render I saw it was a little high. This was easy to fix by simple going to the front view and dragging the top control box lower to slim it down. A quick check in the render showed everything was now fine. At this point I duplicated all of the files and then flopped one copy (Except for the lettering)  for the back side of the sign.

I built the lettering as separate reliefs and then MERGED HIGHEST

Then I created separate reliefs of the corner icons which were also then merged highest with the corner blocks.

With all of the reliefs finished it was time to combine all of the reliefs to finish this file.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-1-43-05-pm

Gnome sign step by step – part one

Designing a series of signs is always fun but also a challenge. Coming up with the first couple of clever ideas is pretty easy but then you have to start digging a little harder.

The latest idea had to be witty, a visual pun, have a unique shape and incorporate a fun welded steel bracket. But in the end, as always I simply began to draw – not really knowing what the result would be. There were a few false starts but eventually it began to come to me. The gnome was the first thing that gelled and made me laugh. The sign shape worked from the start. The bracket was next. I drew the top section and then simply copied and flipped it for the bottom. The wording on the sign changed a few times before the clever pun came to mind.  ‘Garden Variety Gnome Whiskey – anything but ordinary’

I did the quick drawing freehand on my iPad using it linked to my laptop and with Adobe Photoshop. That allowed for endless layers and edits as I went. This is going to be a fun sign!

LOTS and LOTS of colour

The painting of the pub signs for NEBS is now in progress. Becke first brushed two base coats of a cream colour on the signs allowing them time to dry between the coats. Then it was time for the third and fourth coats which would be blended. She picked out no less than ten buckets of acrylic paint. She used a small fitch to do the painting. Becke worked quickly to allow her to do the blends wet into wet. The signs will be allowed to dry overnight before she starts into the glazes. When we did our workshops we often see students rush into wild colours with varying success. The key is to pick colours that go well together and make the blends subtle.


A little work with the hand die grinder made the Toad Stool Elixer sign ready to begin the sculpting – or so I thought. When I did my last post here the spellcheck let me know I had made a mistake and spelled ‘ELIXER’ incorrectly. It should instead be spelled ‘ELIXIR’ There was only one thing to do and that was to fix it.

Thankfully, with a program like EnRoute this mistake wasn’t a big deal. First I broke out the power plane and sander. In a few minutes I had removed the ribbon panel and made the sign flat once more.

Then I designed a new panel in EnRoute and had the MultiCam whip up some new pieces. These were glued into place and once again we were ready for my favourite part – hand sculpting.

The figure on the sign was to be double sided – just like the sign. It took me about three hours to sculpt the two figures. They aren’t identical, but no worries for you can only see one side at a time.  :)

toad-stool-sculpted-b

The sign is now ready to head off the the painting department and get the real magic. Stay tuned…