Signs for The Cheesy Toast Shack

Signs for The Cheesy Toast Shack

Posted Posted in Recycled wood, Signage

Kate Carter from The Cheesy Toast Shack got in touch a few weeks ago. She was preparing to take her food truck to the Edinburgh Festival, and wanted some big new menu boards. As The Cheesy Toast Shack would be located near the Gilded Balloon with other food vans, she wanted her signs to stand out.

Getting the look right

Kate makes the best cheese toasties. As she uses a hotplate and hot irons to heat and compress the toasties, she wanted to go for a rough and ready branded look. After she saw the signs I had engraved on pieces of recycled scaffolding boards for Blackhouse Watersports in Tiree, she knew that was the look she wanted. Her partner Sam was happy to chop up recycled scaffolding boards once she knew what sizes she needed.

Sizing the signs

Kate wanted to know how big she could have the signs. As the laser can accommodate pieces up to 1330mm long, that worked for her as she wanted 800 to 1000mm.

She wanted to arrange the signs in groups on each side of the truck, with one side dedicated to vegetarian options. Each set would have a logo, three menu boards, allergy information and a ‘Make Grilled Cheese Great Again’ slogan. Drinks options to be suspended from the canopy over the serving hatch. Robbie from Hasta Inc prepared the artwork, designing in flaws so that the engravings would look uneven in places to add to the branded effect.

The Cheesy Toast Shack sign

Engraving the signs

Sam prepared the wood and brought the pieces to the workshop. Their surfaces were rough and some of the metal protective strips were still on the ends of some of the boards which were still damp from being outside.

I had shown Kate and Sam various examples of how engraving could look on different woods. We agreed that the deepest, darkest engrave possible would look best and give a good 3D effect. I added that engraving under these conditions could leave a dirty effect around the engravings which could be sanded off, the extent of which would be to do with the wood. More resinous woods like soft woods could be more affected. Kate thought that this would only add to the effect that she was after, and had seen it on Blackwater’s signs.

As time was tight before the Fringe began, I got to work straight away. After increasing the sizes of the artwork to make the text as bold as possible, it took me about a day to engrave all 15 signs. It turned out that the wetness of the wood enhanced the dirty appearance of the engravings, and Kate loved it!

Cheesy Toast Shack sign 2

Finishing touches

Kate had bought four gorgeous ochre suede welder aprons for her staff to use.  She wondered if I could engrave The Cheesy Toast Shack logo on them. After a successful test where I worked out the best machine settings to use, I engraved them all.

Kate also wanted to have some numbers for the prices laser cut from 3mm plywood. Then she could attach them to the boards and change them if required. We picked the Arial bold font to make them as chunky as possible, and added holes for nails or screws.

Kate was delighted with everything. Five hours after she’d picked everything up, the truck was all dressed up with pictures posted on Instagram!

If you’re in the area, look them up. They’re at the Gilded Balloon for the duration of the Festival.

 

Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.

 

Other blogs that you might find helpful about food truck signage include Fish and Frites festival menu boardsFlahute Coffee Company signs and Oak sign for The Crepe Shack.

engraving a cask end clock

Engraving a cask end clock

Posted Posted in Artwork, Furniture, Recycled wood

Catherine from The Upcycled Timber Company makes beautiful things from old whisky barrels. She started to make clocks from cask ends and used fillets of wood at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 positions to indicate numbers. Catherine asked if I could help her experiment with laser engraving as an alternative.

Creating the artwork

First, I had to create the artwork for the numbers. Catherine was happy with a simple bold font to complement the rustic nature of cask ends, so we chose the Arial font. I laid out the numbers on a circle sized roughly to match cask end sizes.

clock artwork

Cask end challenges

Unless cask ends are brand new like the ones I engraved for Diageo, they’re not usually regular circles. Edges wear down over the years, making the faces near the edges curved, and they’re rough and blackened in places. Individuality is part of the appeal of old cask ends, but it means we have to be flexible with the artwork to make it right for each clock. In this case, we reduced the size of the artwork to make sure that the numbers were far enough away from the edges.

How to reduce engraving time

I programmed the laser to engrave all the numbers individually. It’s much faster to do this rather than engraving each number at the same time as the laser has to scan across the whole cask end with each pass of the laser head. This reduces production time per unit. That’s why you see all the numbers coloured differently in the artwork. The colours are engraved sequentially.

cask end clock

Each cask end is different

Catherine brought the cask end round to the workshop and stayed while I engraved it. She decided that she wanted the clock raster engraved with the pieces of wood vertically aligned.

There was a surprise on the back of the cask end – a piece of wood perpendicular to the cask end pieces. As it would be unstable in the machine without extra support, I stabilised it with pieces of wood so that it wouldn’t wobble.

Cask oak is usually very dense. I engraved at the highest power setting to get the deepest, darkest engrave possible. This oak was particularly dense, so we engraved the 3, 6, 9 and 12 again for extra definition. As the 9 was on a darker area of wood, it helped it stand out more.

Catherine was delighted with the results. After oiling it and fitting the mechanism, she sent it to its new home in the United States. It was ordered as a birthday gift for a whisky lover who fell in love with it immediately.

beard comb branding

Beard comb branding

Posted Posted in Corporate, How to, Other, Recycled wood, Wood

Bearded Basturds is a Dunfermline based startup company with a range of beard oils and waxes that don’t contain harsh chemicals or alcohol.

Craig started to get inquiries for beard combs from customers. He wanted something wooden if possible, and wondered if it might be an option to have them laser engraved with his logo. So he got in touch with LaserFlair to see if we could help.

On his search for fabulous and original beard combs, Craig came across The Upcycled Timber Company, a start up based in Glenrothes. They make all sorts of things from recycled wooden whisky barrels, and now they make chunky and manly combs for Bearded Basturds too. Each one is unique with a slightly different shape as they are all handmade.

Making prototypes

Craig brought some sample combs round to our workshop to test engrave them. He decided that he wanted his beard logo on one side and the company name on the other. Getting the size of the text and logo just right for the combs would be important for product aesthetics. In addition, we knew that a good 3D effect would complement the combs’ rugged appearance.

We made the engraving for the text deeper than for the beard logo. A deeper engrave makes finer features like text stand out more. Larger engraved areas don’t need as much depth relatively as finer engraving. So although the engravings were done at different power settings, they look similar in depth which is what Craig wanted.

In the engraved beard logos especially, the light and dark growth rings in the wood are highlighted. Engraving is deeper over the less dense spring/summer growth rings, and shallower over the denser autumn/winter growth rings. You can see this in the picture, and it is clearer in the logo than the text. This is one of my favourite features of laser engraved wood.

It has been wonderful to work with two other local companies to make such an original product with a good story. The engraved beard combs look amazing, and we’re really proud of what we’ve created together.

Reclaimed wood laser engraved sign for Old School Fabrications

Can we work with recycled wood?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Exhibitions, Recycled wood, Signage

I’m often asked if we can engrave recycled wood. Here’s an example of a project where we did just that.

We  laser engraved two of these signs made from reclaimed pine for Old School Fabrications (OSF). They were for an exhibition for the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

When the wood arrived for engraving, it was covered with nasty old green paint and looked awful! OSF had cut the boards to size as they were too thick for us. We just had to engrave them.

Engraving through to the good wood

We made a good, deep engrave to give a significant 3D element to the signs. This was particularly important as OSF wanted to sand the signs after engraving to get back to the good wood under the layers of paint. A pine is a softwood, this was easier to achieve than if oak had been used. Engraving using the same power and speed settings on the laser machine will always deliver a deeper engraving if a less dense wood like pine or larch is used rather than on a more dense wood like oak.

Old School Fabrications then took the engraved wood for finishing and treatment for outdoor use. As you can see, the transformation was incredible, and all the knots and imperfections in the wood added to the beauty of the signs. This picture shows one of them mounted in Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square by the pond, where OSF put a model crocodile to complete the African vibe!

We were lucky enough to get our hands on one of the signs the exhibition was finished. They were no longer required, so ours is in pride of place on the workshop wall.  It’s a great example to show customers when they visit of how they can expect engraved wood to look. And it also shows just how well reclaimed wood can scrub up.

laser cut wood edges

Laser cut wood edges

Posted Posted in Artwork, Jewellery, Recycled wood, Wood

Yesterday, a customer asked me if I can make laser cut wood edges as black as possible as it would enhance her products. She wanted this even if it caused some charring on the surface which could be sanded off. No other customers had asked for this before. They just accepted that the edges would look as they came, and I would prepare them for what to expect.

The colour of a laser cut wooden edge is more to do with the colour of the wood used. A pale wood like birch or sycamore will have a lighter cut edge. Oak will be darker and mahogany darkest of all.

Best machine settings for laser cutting wood

The golden rule of laser cutting is to cut through cleanly in one pass as quickly as possible with a maximum of 90% power. This should minimise damage to the material and maximise product quality. If you cut more slowly than you need to, you don’t get a darker edge. You just get charring and flaming on the back of the wood. And it’s possible that the flaming could ignite the wood and cause a fire in the laser machine.

In this case, all the woods from plum to sycamore had quite dark laser cut edges. Kirsty makes wooden jewellery from the tiny shapes and sometimes paints them. You can find her as Hamespuns on Instagram.