Winery Sign

Back in 2015, I made a hand carved sign for Sheldrake Point Winery's main tasting room. Here's a step-by-step look at my process.

Sheldrake Point has over 50 acres of estate vines overlooking Cayuga Lake in the heart of New York state's wine industry. This is a shot of the old sign.

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I started with a (very) rough drawing of my idea. I wanted the main sign to be an oval with a second hanging ribbon banner below and the letters relief carved with applied carving accents.


I laid out the design for the oval using two nails and a piece of string. More on this simple technique here. 

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I drew one end of my ribbon and transferred the mirrored image to the other side with carbon paper.

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The sign was made from 1 1/4" thick clear eastern white pine. I edge glued 8 pieces together and sanded flat. Once I had the lay out for the signs complete, I cut the pieces out with a Festool jigsaw. Only minimal hand planing and sanding were needed to clean up the edges. 

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Next comes the lay out for words and borders. This process takes time to get just right.

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I used carbon paper to transfer the letters onto the pine and drew in the border by hand.

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Then, I relieved the outlines of the waves in the ribbon to give the sign dimension. 

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Next step was to carve all the letters and border.

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Once I finished carving, the sign got one coat oil based primer and two coats water based exterior paint.

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Here's a my gold leaf practice piece. To gold leaf, a thin layer of size (which is an adhesive) is applied in the groove. Once the size dries a bit and becomes tacky, you lay down sheets of gold leaf into the groove with a super soft artists brush. Always good to practice a tricky technique beforehand. 

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The letters were painted black and I gold leafed the border and the applied pieces.

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Here's me on install day - staring into the sun.

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The sign was attached to the building with two french cleats.

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Install complete!

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