Wooden Sign Help Needed

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Innovator posted 12-27-2009 10:56 PM 1464 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3438 days

12-27-2009 10:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak scroll saw drill press spray gun bandsaw shaping finishing sanding wood sign

I need some help with a sign I am making for a customer. I was originally commissioned to make a house address sign that was going to mount on the owner’s home. I have the sigh made and the final coats of finish are being applied and the owner decided to make a design change, they felt it would look better on a post (or two) in the front of their flower bed.

Here is where I need some help, keeping in mind that this will be used in NY so whatever we stick into the ground will be exposed to the rain and snow (Like the 12” we just got), what would you use for the posts?

Project Details
The sign is 9” high, 20” long.
The material is 4/4 oak.
Sign bottom will be approximately 12” off of the ground
The numbers are painted white.
The back of the sign is finished with a clear exterior finish.

I have thought of using 5/4 oak posts or possibly aluminum tube but I wanted to get some feedback on what some of you either would or have used.

Thanks in advance for the help.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

11 replies so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4008 days

#1 posted 12-27-2009 11:23 PM

mahogany would work for the posts… that’s what many billboards are made of. White oak would be good too,

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3583 days

#2 posted 12-27-2009 11:34 PM

How about that new deck material made from recycled plastic. Would make a good post aand not worry about the weather.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4052 days

#3 posted 12-28-2009 03:06 AM

White oak is a definite option and the other suggestions are also good. Treated lumber would also work well and would probably blend into the background and not compete with the oak.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 12-28-2009 03:44 AM

Black locust will show grain similar to the oak and will last 140 dog-years in the ground. This is a weed species probably only available at local mills.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3786 days

#5 posted 12-28-2009 03:49 AM

Cedar is often used for posts in the ground because of it’s rot resistance. It would also be more attractive than pressure treated lumber.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3865 days

#6 posted 12-28-2009 09:05 AM

The first question, is what does the customer want to pay? If there is next to nothing in the budget my choice would be pressure treated. Don’t forget there are different grades of pressure treated lumber. So make sure you spec what you will be doing to your lumber yard. That way you should end up with pressure treated lumber designed for ground contact.
Second question is what does the customer want, you could show him some samples. This gives you a chance to upsell the job and perhaps increase your profit margin.
Like the other guys have suggested, white oak used a lot in boat building. Black Locust, has been used for fence posts for years. High dollar would be teak. Then there is cypress. it’s been sitting in the swamps of LA. for years. Then there is the idea of recycled plastic – Go Green Right?
My other concern is at 12” of the ground in NY it will be under the snow 6 months of the year. And if its to close to the road it going to be Fodder for the snow plows. A friend of mine mounted his with reinforced solid brick 24” x 24”x 48”’ sitting on a concrete foundation 3’ deep. Now the plows work around it.

A long answer to a short question, sorry


-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3438 days

#7 posted 12-28-2009 03:46 PM

Thank you all for the comments, it seems like the white oak got a lot of approval so far. The recycled plastic is an interesting material to consider. I will look into that to see what the strength factor is for flexibility, I don’t want it to blow around too much.

Taigert – Good point on going back to the customer to see what they will pay. Once the job was started and they came back to me with changes they realize that there are going to be additional costs involved. The question is how much? Where I left off with them was I would look into some different material choices and allow them to choose what they want based on the costs involved. So I am thinking to show them some White Oak, Recycled Plastic, Teak, Cedar & possibly Black Locust. Each one will carry a different price tag (and an additional up sell). As for the 12” height off of the ground, I already brought that to their attention and they are aware of the snow factor but feel any higher would look out of sorts. When I go back to them with the material choices I will try to get them to go up to 18” instead of 12”. This will keep it out of the snow most of the time, there are not a lot of snowfalls 18” plus on Long Island during the year. It will be close to the house and they can clean around it if the snow gets up to it.

Once again thanks all for the comments.

BTW any other thoughts will be appreciated!

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4052 days

#8 posted 12-28-2009 06:46 PM

You could talk them into an electric heater if they want to stick with 12”...


-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3438 days

#9 posted 01-03-2010 07:05 PM

Ok I brought some samples to the customer and they liked the recycled plastic, I found one that had the grain pattern similar ro oak. Sign is all done, I am just waiting for the last coat of finish to dry and it is ready to go. I will post a pic when I get a chance.

Thanks again for the help

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View RichinsCarpentry's profile


44 posts in 3491 days

#10 posted 01-04-2010 06:42 AM

Recycled is awesome. Never a worry about failer(for the most part) Make sure the finish your using is impervious to road salt and/or any other chemical they use for ice removal in your area. Salt and other chemicals can work there way through the finish in the grain of the oak and cause it to fail. Here in Utah we have gotten used to salt and then a few years ago they changed to different mixtures of chemicals for ice removal. Some are rather corrosive to wood finishes. Just food for thought.

-- See our blog at

View Tim Pletcher's profile

Tim Pletcher

90 posts in 3099 days

#11 posted 01-14-2010 05:48 PM

hahaha, love your signature! very true


Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics