It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated with what I saw and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research and LOTS of hands-on practice I quickly found out that my MultiCam router was capable of just about anything imaginable.This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as I continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful tool... -dan

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Monument sign start to finish - part 2

With the lath in place it was time for a little concrete work. I mixed up the sand and Portland cent at a ratio of about four parts sand to one part cement powder. Then I troweled it onto the mesh. This takes some practice. I've been doing it for decades so this part went pretty fast.

To ensure the next coat of concrete stuck well I scratched up the surface of the first coat. We used a bonding agent as well but a mechanical bond is good insurance.

This coat of cement was allowed to cure overnight.

Since the stone was still on order I started in on the painting process. We use acrylic house paint in our shop. I applied there base coats of each colour, allowing it to dry in-between. Putting a large fan on the project speeds up this process a great deal.

I then applied a dark green glaze (the same colour as the border) to the sign and wiped it off with a rag to make the grain pop. The glaze stays in the deeper areas and wipes off the high areas of the grain. The areas around the letters was left a little darker to make the letters pop off the background.

Once the glaze was dry I painted the scrollwork a couple of coats of a lighter shade of green. At this point my supplier let me know the faux rock I had ordered wasn't available in a reasonable time. It was time for plan 'B'. I put another thick layer of concrete on the base and carved the rocks into it by hand.

The rock work was painted (there coats of acrylic paint) and then speckled with an undercoat gun using two colours of acrylic paint. Use low air pressure (about 20-25 lbs)with the speckles. The mortar joints between the rocks was painted on with grey paint.

O then applied an old based size on the letter and symbol and gilded the letters. The sign was now ready to deliver.