Branded wooden sign for selfie bug

Branded wooden sign for selfie bug

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

Craig Hutchison of Vollood Hair and Beauty in Dunfermline has a lovely old VW Beetle covered in Vollood branding. He wanted a piece of wood engraved with his logo to sit in front of the roof rack as a finishing touch.  Vollood Hair and Beauty is Dunfermline’s only vegan hair and beauty salon. Craig fitted it out with a smart yet sustainable vibe using lots of reclaimed wood, and the sign matched this look perfectly.

As part of his social media campaign, Craig planned to park the bug at different places around the town. People could win vouchers if they spotted it and posted selfies with the car.

Craig visited the workshop with the wood and we planned to complete the job while he waited.

Adjusting the logo artwork

Before he arrived, Craig sent me a vector file of his logo so I could make sure it was right for what I needed.  It was. Vector files are really flexible as I can rescale them and make customised tweaks to suit what the customer wants. In this case, Craig wanted the logo to fit the long, thin piece of wood he’d brought.

For clarity, Craig wanted the logo to be as big as possible. As the wood is narrowest in the middle and the logo is widest in the middle, I scaled it so that there’d be a 10mm gap between the engraving and the top and bottom edges of the wood at the narrowest point. He thought of removing ‘Hairdressing and Beauty’ and make ‘Vollood’ bigger, but decided not to in the end.

Vollood sign on the laser
Vollood sign on the laser

Engraving the wood

For stability, I usually sit large pieces of wood in the bottom of the machine after removing the knife bed.

Craig wanted the logo engraved as deep and dark as possible. He loved watching the machine engrave his logo and how the wood grain stood out clearly in the engraved areas.

He took the wood home to treat it for outdoor display outdoors. After he mounted it on the car, he posted photos on Facebook.

 

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Fish & Frites festival menu boards

Fish and Frites festival menu boards

Posted Posted in Signage, Stainless steel, Wood

Sarah and Jordan from Fish & Frites were preparing to take their gorgeous blue Citroen mobile food van to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time. They wanted to have a flexible menu board and find a way to add branding to their batter shield and asked if I could help.

Wooden menu board

Sarah’s van has an area to the right of the serving hatch that was ideal for locating a menu board.  Something flexible was needed that could be altered for different occasions.

She has the idea of a board with interchangeable slats that different menu items could be engraved onto, and liked the idea that they could also be reversible to use both sides of the wood as only one side would be visible at any time. They also wanted something that they can use not just at the Festival, but afterwards at other festivals and events.

As Sarah has a joiner in the family, she asked him to make something simple and interesting. Then I could engrave each slat.

When the slats were ready, Sarah brought them round. She chose a font and we set up the artwork together to make sure she was happy with everything. After she approved a final proof, I engraved and varnished each slat.

Fish & Frites wooden menu
Fish & Frites wooden menu

Batter shield branding

This shield is a large piece of stainless steel bent at 90 degrees in the middle. It was added to the van give the cooking areas more protection from the weather. Sarah and Jordan thought it should also work hard to promote their business and wanted their logo engraved on it. Quite right too!

Fitting it into the machine was a challenge! When the engraved side sat in the machine, the other side (next to the ketchup bottles) had to hang out of the front during production.

As the logo was to appear in the centre of the front face, I had to scale the logo so that the engraved area would fit in the engraving bed. Part of the engraved side would be outside the engraving bed or be outside the machine entirely. 75mm diameter was the largest I could make it and Sarah was happy with that.

Finally, I had to make sure I engraved the logo the right way up!  I rotated the logo 90 degrees clockwise so it would be the right way up when the shield was mounted.

Once everything was ready, I painted the engraving area with Thermark metal marking paste, let it dry and engraved the logo. Thermark leaves a lovely matt black enamel mark that stands out and is weather proof and scratch resistant. Sarah and Jordan were delighted.

Fish & Frites stainless steel batter shield
Fish & Frites stainless steel batter shield

Fish & Frites at the Edinburgh Festival

Fish & Frites van looks even smarter with its new features, and they cooked up a storm at Edinburgh’s Underbelly. Their fish & chips are some of the best I’ve ever had, so if you see them near you, don’t hesitate to try their delicious food!

 

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Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

The Crail Preservation Society wanted to refresh the Crail Castle Walkway panorama showing landmarks on the opposite side of the Firth of Forth. The old one was printed and mounted in a box to protect it from the weather, but it hadn’t survived the elements in that exposed spot. This time, they wanted it engraved on a piece of wood to fit the location.

I love panoramas, so I was really excited about this project!

Converting the panorama artwork for engraving

Dennis wanted to use the artwork that had been used for the previous panorama. It had been created by artist Kurt Diggelman. It had to be modified as it was in colour and the laser can’t engrave in colour. Catriona of CatMac Design is a graphic designer who helps me out with things like this, and she worked with Dennis to a create black and white vector artwork conversion of Kurt’s image.

One of my concerns was whether the text would be easy to read without people having to bend down. To check this, I performed some test engraves of the smallest text and they worked better than I’d expected.

A piece of white oak

Dennis knew Frazer Reid of FAR Cabinet Makers, so he asked him about what wood would be best to use for this project. Not only did it have to look beautiful, but it had to be suitable for outdoor display in an exposed spot. Frazer suggested white oak, and supplied a beautifully prepared piece 1330 x 385mm and about an inch thick. The maximum width of the machine is 1340mm, so it was a snug fit!

Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Engraving the panorama detail

I used machine settings to make sure the detail of the text would be as clear as possible. Then I engraved the wood with maximum power for best possible contrast between the engravings and the wood. Dennis was delighted with the results. It’s hoped that the panorama will be installed this week in its new home.

 

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Flahute Coffee Company signs

Flahute Coffee Company signs

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

Alan from the Flahute Coffee Company asked if I could engrave some small signs. He wanted to mount them on strategic areas of his new coffee horse box.

Creative branding opportunity

Alan started his coffee business last year and converted a horse box as a portable coffee van. He decided to make a cover for the horse box tow bar from pieces of pallet that he’d colour washed with blue paint to match his branding. Another long piece was needed to span the width of the serving hatch. It would hide and protect the wires at the back of the waffle machines.

This box would act as a table where people could add milk and sugar to their teas and coffees, but Alan thought he could use the structure for branding and advertising too. Each piece would be engraved with Flahute’s web address and logo, and items on the menu.

When you only have a small area to work with, all space is at a premium and has to work hard for you!

 

Artwork and materials

Alan brought the pieces of wood to the workshop and emailed me vector files with the artwork. Each set of text was to be centrally located on each piece of wood, so I set them up in rectangles corresponding to the three sizes of the wooden pieces provided.
Then I engraved each strip of wood with full power to achieve a strong 3D effect. When this happens, there’s more risk of burned resin darkening the area around the engravings. There wasn’t much in this case, and it added to the effect that Alan wanted anyway.

Useful and beautiful

Alan collected the pieces and built up his box, and it’s really effective. All the photos were provided by him.
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Wall graphic for Lewis and Hickey

Wall graphic for Lewis and Hickey

Posted Posted in Corporate, Signage

Lucy from Lewis and Hickey Architects in Edinburgh had a wall graphic project at their office. She got in touch to ask if I could laser cut some shapes for her from 12mm plywood or mdf. It was Monday, and she needed them to arrive at her office on Thursday!

How thick can the laser cut?

I gave Lucy a call to discuss exactly what she wanted and what compromises she might be prepared to make as the maximum thickness of laser ply and mdf I can cut is 9mm. We discussed the possibilities of creating two layers of 6mm thick ply to give 12mm, but she thought gluing would add too much time and the join would be easily seen.

Lucy also asked what the cut edges of laser ply and mdf would look like. As luck would have it, I had just published how do the edges of laser cut wood look that very morning. I talked Lucy through edge cut appearances of plywood and mdf. She asked about how clean the facing surfaces would be too. She’s seen images of face discolouration of laser cut wood. I assured her that my work would be clean and any slight discolouration could be sanded off easily.

Having seen my photos of cut mdf and laser ply, Lucy decided that 9mm laser ply would give the look she was after.

Wall graphic artwork

Lucy was happy with my quote. On Tuesday afternoon, she sent through final artwork with some changes to add an extra L&H door sign shown at the top of the page.

I selected a sheet of 9mm mdf that was knot free on one side and cut the shapes and letters. As I’d explained to Lucy, the edges of 9mm laser ply are very dark and quite dirty. If you run a finger over them, it comes away black. So after I’d cut the shapes and letters, I cleaned the edges as best I could. Then I packed them in layers of paper to keep them clean in transit.

The complete wall graphic

All the pieces arrived on Thursday as planned, and the finished piece is mounted on the wall next to the door of Lewis & Hickey’s conference room. It looks very smart in its spotlight.

 

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Oak signs for Milly's Kitchen

Oak signs for Milly’s Kitchen

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

Last summer, Jill Philips opened Milly’s Kitchen, a new cafe in Cupar. She asked me if I could engrave a couple of oak signs for her with the cafe’s logo.

Artwork layout

Jill sent me marketing files with Milly’s Kitchen logos. She had asked for the signs to be rectangular with the larger one at 880 x 600mm and the smaller one at 650 x 570mm to fit the mounting brackets she would be using.

Jill told me how large she wanted the logo to be on each one and I prepared proofs for her to approve, showing the text areas to be engraved and the surrounding area of the wood left unengraved. We agreed that raster (fill in) engraving of the text would work best and be clearest to read.

As Jill knows Frazer Reid from FAR Cabinet Makers, she commisssioned him to make both of the oak signs. They were designed to hang from brackets on the walls outside the cafe, so she wanted them to be engraved on both sides so they could be viewed from two directions.

Milly's Kitchen

Double sided oak signs

When the oak pieces were ready, Jill collected them from Frazer and brought them to my workshop. I engraved each one with the same artwork on each side, and the video below shows the larger sign in process.

You can see that the areas around the engravings have a brown haze round them. This happens because the resins in the wood burn and it happens with solid wood, plywood and mdf too. It’s easily sanded off before varnishing.

Once they were ready, Jill picked them up for varnishing and installation outside Milly’s Kitchen. She was delighted with them and they looked even better after a couple of coats of varnish.

 

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