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Mahogany (Sapele) cafe sign - finishing advice please :-)

Discussion in 'Hand Made Signs' started by ruffback, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. ruffback

    ruffback New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    Hello everyone,

    A wooden cafe sign project I designed a while ago is coming to its conclusion - it's been CNC-routed out of a 7ft piece of Sapele (which took a friend forever of course!) and now needs staining in two tones, sealing and just the letters painting.

    As it's going to be in full sun most of the day (in San Francisco - mostly sunny climate, but damp too) and we want to minimize the gradual color bleaching and protect it as much as possible from the elements so that follow-up work every year or two will be kept to a minimum. We've asked a variety of people but get conflicting advice about how to go about this.

    Basically, we're currently unsure if we should hire a professional wood finisher (approx cost?), or whether to just buy the right products and have a go at this ourselves (less inclined obviously if there are many stages to this and expert skills needed).

    Below I attached a photo of the sign (just before it was cut out) plus a much earlier computer mock-up of what type of two-tone staining effect we were originally aiming for (since we used Sapele it'll be more reddish than this though). We want to maximize the wood grain effect of course and perhaps we will want the two shades of stain to be achieved with the same product (ie layered) so that when they discolor in the sun over time they won't end up in non-matching hues (?). We also considered bleaching the sun part out instead of staining it darker but that would probably have its own complications.

    Any thoughts or advice are hugely appreciated as always.

    Thanks a lot everyone!


    Attached Files:

  2. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

    Jan 9, 2007
  3. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    Glad to see the sign is coming along so nice. Please post it when it's finished.
  4. ruffback

    ruffback New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    Actually I forgot to mention that we're hoping for a more matte finish if possible... don't want it to be super shiny unless that necessary for weather protection. Thanks.
  5. Pete Moss

    Pete Moss Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    Duluth, MN
    Beautiful sign!

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