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Different signs can have different requirements. When we choose a material for an outdoor sign several factors have to be taken into consideration. If the sign will have natural finished areas the grain and color will be factors weatherability and rot resistance will also be a factor. At Signsalive.net our first choices for wood are generally central American and African hardwoods.

Mahogany and Teak

These species of hardwood are very rot resistant have a beautiful grain and are very good to machine and carve. Central American and African hardwoods have a very dense and consistent grain hold a finish well and are resistant to checking as well as most insects. An exception to this would be Teakwood. While teakwood is a very tough wood and resist rot better than any other, the wood is very oily and has difficulty holding a Clear finish. Teakwood also has a tendency to turn gray very quickly without a finish. Mahogany on the other hand holds clear finishes well, machines well has great weatherability and is excellent for vee carving and cnc relief sculpture and carving.

OAK and Walnut

Oak is a very good wood to use in signs but one has to very careful to finish the end grain very carefully as the wood has a very bad tendency to check at the end grain on plank ends. Oak is best painted unless used indoors. Walnut is a very nice sign wood which has a very rich and tight grain. Walnut holds a finish well and tends to be a very stable wood, its is a wood you see a lot in unsticks and fine furniture. Walnut machines very well and is an excellent wood for vee carving and cnc relief sculpture. Walnut and Oak can hold fasteners very well

Pinewood and Red Cedar

Pinewood can be used in signs but it should be treated for rot and be finished with paint very carefully. Bugs and organisms like pinewood and consider it a very good food so you have to be careful how you use it. Pine has a very loose and soft grain which has a tendency to splinter and pull out so its usefulness as a carving and machining wood is limited. Pinewood also has pockets of resin and saps which can make machining difficult and inconsistent. The savings grace of pine is that it is very cheap and plentiful. Other shortcomings of pine are its limited ability to hold fasteners. Red Cedar is a good sign wood and is well suited for sandblasted signs. Cedar however is an extremely soft wood and is not suited for high stress loads. Cedars grain tends to be soft and stringy and great care must be taken when carving it. The rot and insect resistance of Cedar is very good however. Cedar has a nice color and appearance and will hold a finish well.

 

 


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