Forsyth Dancing Shoes decoration

Forsyth Dancing Shoes decorations

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

Forsyth Dancing Shoes sells Highland dancing shoes and pumps.  As well as shoes, Nichola has other merchandise like tea towels,  greetings cards and notebooks decorated with  designs she commissioned. She thought that hanging decorations would be a good addition to their range.

Dancing shoes artwork

Nichola’s friend Louise McLaren is an artist based in Comrie. She makes paper cut designs and she creates the artwork for Forsyth Dancing Shoes’ merchandise. Louise adjusted the artwork she created for the greetings cards for the decorations and provided the design in a vector format for laser cutting because she knew that Nichola wanted shapes cut out rather than printed.

What material to choose?

Nichola emailed me the artwork and gave me a call to discuss ideas. She wanted something that would look good spray painted or as they are in a material that would be robust, light and cost effective.

I suggested 3mm ply and mdf, or 2mm mdf if Nichola wanted something even lighter. Plywood is a nice option as the wood grain is attractive, but mdf has a pleasing earthy appearance. Both options are good value and require similar cutting settings at the same thickness.

The artwork included lots of fine detail. Louise had done a good job of keeping the design details 2 to 3mm thick to keep them as robust as possible. Any of the materials I suggested would work well for this new product.

Nichola chose 3mm ply, and I sent her a photo of a prototype. She loved it!

Nichola sells her dancing shoes and other products online and at dancing competitions. Her new decorations will have their first outing at a competition in Inverness this weekend. Hopefully they will be a great addition to her range.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Author Interior's antique wooden sign

Author Interior’s antique wooden sign

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

Author Interiors got in touch to ask if I could laser engrave an interesting piece of wood for them.

Jane launched her business last year in London. She curates a collection of beautifully crafted pieces for the home, all designed and made by UK makers, from furniture to wallpaper. Jane wanted a gorgeous sign with her logo and web address to welcome her guests to the Scottish opening of Author Interiors at Custom Lane in Leith last week.

An antique board with a story

When Catriona showed me photos of the wood, I was intrigued. It was big and chunky and ornately carved. Catriona said it’s an antique piece that Jane found as a pair in London ten years ago. An antique dealer told her he thought they were originally horse name plaques from a stable. And now this one had a new role to play in Author Interior’s new story!

When the wood arrived, I discussed with Jane where she wanted the engravings. She wanted to put everything on the large scroll area in the middle. The challenge was how to locate both engravings where Jane wanted them whist keeping them away from the old dark wood coatings that would give the engravings less contrast.

Author’s logo

Jane wanted her logo in the middle on the stripped area of wood for maximum impact. It was to be wide enough to fill the width but remain on the flat area. She wanted the web address to be removed enough from the logo so it would stand out, but located on a relatively stripped area of wood too so it wouldn’t be lost. You can see the video if it being engraved above.

I used a high power setting to achieve a good depth of engrave. Author’s logo is very fine, even although Jane’s designer had beefed up the line thicknesses. Fine lines usually benefits from a deeper engrave to help them stand out. And because I’d used my highest power setting, there was a little browning around the engravings that would have rubbed off. But these two effects worked beautifully to enhance the engravings in this case. They hold their own against a very characterful piece of wood.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

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.

 

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

Branding presentation box lids

Branding presentation box lids

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

Colin Grant makes wedding film through his business Orangetide Films. As part of his package, he creates presentation boxes for customers made from oak. Small boxes contain a flash drive of the film, and the large boxes also contains blu-rays and dvds.

Colin wanted to brand the plywood box lids with his logo to complete the look.

Converting the logo to black and white

The Orangetide logo is very complex and colourful. Lasers can’t engrave in colour. The colour of engravings depending on the material used and the power of the laser applied. As the laser either engraves or doesn’t engrave, black and white artwork is required for best results.

Colin sent me a black and white version of his logo in a vector file format. This was ideal. I knew I would have to resize the artwork for the two different box lid sizes. Vector artwork can be rescaled repeatedly without loss of quality.

Orangetide small box

Locating the logos

Colin settled on a large box lid size of 200 x 200mm. He wanted his whole logo on them. As there was plenty of space, he decided to have the logo sized to 135 x 135mm. I set up the logo artwork on a 200 x 200mm square so that the logo was centred between the top edge of the box and where the lid handle would be located.

On the small (98 x 80mm) box lid, Colin decided to have the text element of his logo only. This lid was much smaller, and I was worried that a lot of the full logo detail would be lost if it were scaled down so dramatically.

Colin asked me to cut and engrave all the box lids from 3mm ply so that they’d fit the box grooves.

It’s all in the detail

As the logo and the logo text were all very fine and needed to stand out, I opted for a heavier engrave.

After the first order Colin decided that he’s like the small box lid engraving to be even heavier for more definition which was easily done.

 

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

Branded coasters for Welsh Oak Frame

Branded coasters for Welsh Oak Frame

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

Welsh Oak Frame are award winning designers and builders of beautiful oak frame buildings across the UK. Becky, their Marketing Manager, contacted me in December to ask if I could make 120 oak coasters for a corporate event they had this month.  She wanted them to the same design as I had made for them previously with their logo centred on an oak heart at 100 x 100mm.

Tweaking the logo

Welsh Oak Frame’s logo oak frame part of the logo in white against a shaded background. When the original design was settled on, I suggested that we could either engrave this component as it was, or invert it so that the A frame shape itself was engraved along with the text. We decided that the latter option would look better on the coasters.

Sourcing oak

I had a month to make these coasters, and I knew that my biggest potential problem was sourcing the oak in time. Max McCance is a local furniture maker, and he rips up batons of oak for me to make lovely sanded strips at 6 – 7mm thick, perfect for creating coasters and other bespoke products. Thankfully, Max had the right oak in stock and made the batons for me before Christmas.

Welsh Oak Frame coaster

Making the coasters

I set up the artwork for production so that the outline of the heart was cut through, giving the coasters the tell tale dark edges.

Raster engraving the logo makes the engraving stand out much more than if their outlines alone were vector (outline) engraved. It gives the logo a pleasing 3D effect that feels satisfying in the hand as well as looking smart.

Finishing touches

After production, I sanded the coasters lightly if they needed it. Then I applied coats of oil to protect the oak and enhance the wood grain. You can see the difference it makes in the photo above. The coaster was treated, but the small heart wasn’t.

Each one looks different as the grain in each coaster is unique. That’s the real beauty of wood.

 

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

 

Other blogs you might find helpful about coasters include Oak awards for The&PartnershipMug mats for The Learning Cauldron, Personalised coaster wedding favours and Personalised bespoke wedding gifts.

How to engrave flyreels

How to engrave flyreels

Posted Posted in Anodised aluminium, Corporate

Simon from Simba Rods hand builds bespoke fly fishing rods in Crieff. He decided to expand his range to include reels, and wanted to have his logo and item numbers laser engraved onto them.

Engraving challenges

Simon said that most of the reels were made of anodised aluminium in silver, black and red. All engravings on anodised aluminium are silvery white, so I told Simon that there may be less contrast for engravings on them.

As the engravings would small and the logo is fine, I wasn’t sure how the logos might come out. To make things more complex, Simon told me that some of the areas he wanted engraved were concave, some were convex and others flat. I was concerned that depending on the heights and depths of the concave and convex areas, the laser might lose focus and the engraving quality might suffer. And metal is not forgiving to engrave at the best of times!

l talked Simon through all my production issues so he could understand the challenges I faced. I suggested that performing test engraves would give us a clear idea of what results we could expect, and he gamely agreed.

Simba Rods logo

Engraving the samples

Before Simon came, I traced his jpg logo to create a vector version. I could rescaled it without loss of quality to increase our chances of high quality results. This is particularly important for small engravings on metal.

Simon brought his sample reels to the workshop. He had a range of sizes- larger salmon reels and smaller trout reels, with black, silver and red parts to engrave. First, we measured the areas on the reels where he wanted the engravings to be and scaled his logo to three sizes, 15, 19 and 24mm wide.

The biggest challenge was setting up the reels in the laser. I created a stack of slates that the reels could sit on so the engraved surfaces were uppermost and the handles could face down beside the slates. Then I had to keep the reels stable by pushing small stacks of ply business cards under the reel rims. It was a bit of a faff, but it worked!

We decided to start with the easiest scenario first. I set up a reel with a black flat area. The results were of excellent quality with crisp finish and great contrast. Encouraged, I tried a convex red area next. Again, the results were fantastic. Finally, we tried a silver concave area that needed the smallest engraving size. this too engraved beautifully with better contrast than I’d expected. Simon was delighted with the engravings.

Simba Rods reel in black
Salmon reel with engravings on black and silver anodised aluminium. The engraved spindle rotates.

First production runs

Simon had ordered 48 reels of different sizes and colours. When they had arrived, he brought them to the workshop for engraving. He unpacked them all and checked with me what should be engraved where on each reel to save time. And he’s brought me a red bean bag that he hoped would help with setting the reels up in the machine. It was perfect. You can see it in use in the top picture.

Then he brought a second delivery. While he was here, he had another idea, but I’ll save that for another blog!

 

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