With increasing frequency the last couple of months we have been receiving more and more comments on the materials we use and customers' surprise at the stark contrast they provide compared to MDF and low-grade plywood -now commonly used for signs. In light of this, we wanted to share with all our customers a bit of our process from finding and processing wood to create your handcrafted item.
We use real wood materials: locally grown and milled timber, wood pallets reclaimed from environmentally conscious local businesses, and on occasion you may even find us selecting our own trees to be milled with our good friend, Wes. This is not the easiest, nor the least expensive, method for acquiring materials for our handcrafted gifts, but sourcing wood this way provides us with quality materials full of character.
Locally Grown Timber
We love to support local businesses! Shopping local and purchasing timber grown in the Pacific Northwest helps support responsible forestry practices by our local timber industry, simultaneously maintaining essential habitat and ensuring a high-quality material for our handcrafted gifts.
The Mill Outlet is one of our favorite businesses, and we greatly anticipate exploring their extensive selection of wood products each time we visit. Locally purchased lumber is often used for our cedar bird feeders and nestboxes, and large knotty pine board signs, such as our Porch Rules and Scripture typography.
Taylor Shellfish Farms is one of many local businesses who have partnered with us to reduce waste by reclaiming unwanted pallets for our signs. They were generous enough to even lend a hand loading their larger pallets and delivering them to our property for dismantling!
Recycling pallets for sign boards involves dismantling the pallet, removing staples and nails, planing, and trimming each pallet plank, but the investment is well worth it! The finished boards have a very distinct rustic depth of character that can't be duplicated. Pallet signs are one of our top sellers and are a particular favorite of customers at local events we attend across the Puget Sound.
Locally Milled Lumber
For an extra measure of rusticity we have chosen to mill some of our own lumber. Our good friend, Wes, loves an excuse to fire up his saws, and we have great fun visiting his backwoods mill and working on projects. Milling our own lumber first involves finding logs of the correct size, quality, and age. We especially enjoy working with cedar!
Once the rounds have been delivered to Wes's property, they are carefully rolled into place on his largest saw, sliced to the desired thickness, and then moved to his shop where uneven ends are trimmed and the rough boards are cut to the proper width for planing. After they have been planed they're loaded into the truck and ready for routering! Extra rough-cut pieces trimmed to "square up" the log are also saved for heavily distressed custom orders for a truly authentic backwoods look.
Why Not MDF Or Stickers?
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) does not hold up with outdoor exposure, and has an exceptional tendency to swell, dent, and warp with moisture. In addition, it is heavy which makes it less economical to ship, and contains VOCs which are harmful to human health and the environment. In combination with vinyl stickers, you end up with a product that, while efficient and cost-effective to mass-produce, does not capture a unique one-of-a-kind look or hold up well with everyday life. When exposed to moisture MDF swells dramatically, causing the vinyl to distort and peel as well as compromising your whole sign.
Painting signs by hand on real wood and sealing with a quality Wax creates a product that is one-of-a-kind, resistant to sun and moisture exposure, won't peel or swell, and ages beautifully. Best of all, this results in handcrafted gifts we are proud to make and creates happy customers.