We use premium long-lasting, low maintenance materials
High-Density-Urethane (HDU). We use the very best materials and manufacturing processes available to create signs which have a very long life (20+ years for HDU signs) and require very little maintenance. We provide a warranty of 2 years, and we expect our HDU and indoor wood signs to last for several decades.
We carve our HDU signs and plaques out of premium ultra High-Density-Urethane (HDU) Precision Board Plus sheets made by Coastal Enterprises, in Orange, CA. We use 20 lb/ft3 HDU for all our signs & plaques, which is 30% denser and stronger than the 15 lb/ft3 HDU used by other sign manufacturing companies. Our signs carve cleaner, last longer, and are less susceptible to impact damage than HDU signs made by other companies.
Hardwood and Softwood. We use prime, kiln-dried, knot-free, vertical grain all-heart, Redwood and Grade A Cedar, that are supplied by Forest Plywood & Wood Products. For our indoor wood plaques, we use furniture-grade premium hardwoods such as African Mahogany, American Cherry, Black Walnut, Maple and Red Oak.
We use a lot of Western Red Cedar for both outdoor and indoor signs & plaques. (but not as much as HDU). The Western Red Cedar tree, or Thuja plicata, primarily grows in the Pacific Northwest region of the US. It is a large-to-very-large tree and can grow in some areas up to 230 ft. tall. It is also long-lived and some trees can live well over a thousand years, with the oldest verified being 1,460 years old. Western Red Cedar is one of the world’s most durable woods, as it has a natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect damage. It has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods due to its low density and shrinkage factors. It produces long, lightweight lengths of timber with a fine straight grain and uniform texture. This makes it easy to cut , plane to a smooth surface, and perform 3-D routing and carving, sanding, and sandblasting. It can hold glue bonds and also provides a good base for many types of paints and stains since it lacks pitch and resin. All of these factors make it a premier choice for either interior or exterior signs. We use only top grade, knot-free, vertical gain, kiln-dried Cedar.
We also use California Redwood, which is a more distinctive and beautiful wood species than Western Red Cedar. It also lasts longer and requires lower maintenance. When sandblasted, it has a very pronounced ridge pattern giving it a rustic wood look. However the wood is 20% more expensive than Cedar, and is sometimes difficult to find clear heart vertical grain Redwood, because it is less common We only buy sustainable wood, for every wood sign we sell, we donate funds for 2 to 5 new tree plantings (depends on size of sign or plaque) by the American Arbor Day Foundation.
We make a number of African Mahogany hardwood indoor wall plaques and a few larger signs each year. It is a gorgeous wood, but it takes longer to carve and sand it, because it is about twice as hard as Cedar or Redwood, which are coniferous softwoods. This wood itself is less expensive than either Cedar or Redwood, but manufacturing labor is higher. We also make plaques out of Maple, White and Red Oak, American Cherry, Walnut, Teak, and Poplar. These are all hardwoods so more labor is required to make carve and sand them.
Paints, Stains and Clearcoats. .We use exclusively Ultra Low VOC Matthews automotive-grade 2-part polyurethane acrylic paint and clear-coats , which are UV and graffiti resistance, so there is very little fading when the sign is exposed to direct sunlight, and graffiti can usually be cleaned off with acetone. Matthews paints cost $200/gallon, compared to house paints which cost $30/gallon that most other sign companies use. Matthews MAP will last 20 years or more before re-painting. We use 1-Shot Low VOC Oil-Based High Gloss Lettering Enamels for text , borders and artwork. 1 Shot sign Enamel is simply the best (and most expensive) lettering enamel in the world. It costs $250/gallon. We use only MinWax Wood Finish Oil-based penetrating stains on our natural wood. These are the highest-quality stains available, with a variety of colors.