More Info

Sugar Pinehand carved
The incredible process of turning
bare wood into a carved sign:

It starts out as a piece of ordinary lumber
and ends up a polished gem.

Wood Selection - All our lumber is hand picked and we're pretty fussy about it. The four favored candidates suitable for carving are Mahogany, Redwood, Cedar and Sugar Pine. These days Redwood is virtually nonexistent. Mahogany is almost as hard to find and wow is it expensive. Except by very special request and for a hefty upcharge those two woods are out. Cedar is readily available, and makes stable signs but our suppliers seem to be wildly unpredictable in their selection.

That leaves us with Sugar Pine as our mainstay. It is most readily available to us in consistent dimensions, grains, and moisture content. It chisels beautifully and takes paint great. Fittingly it is also the most historically traditional carving wood on Cape Cod.  Letters carved in raw Sugar PineRaw Wood Blanks in progress.

The Background Finishes - Our goal in preparing your sign is durability and smooth, gloss surfaces. An alkyd or epoxy primer is brushed on, sanded smooth and followed with two coats of alkyd satin black enamel on two consecutive days. The final gloss, alkyd enamel, color, top coats are also brushed on by hand. A urethane catalyst is added to all of the enamel layers for ultimate toughness, adhesion, UV resistance and gloss retention. Some slight hint of brush strokes may even be evident upon the closest inspection. Consider them an intrinsic part of the handmade nature of the product. 

Our Background Color Palette was narrowed down from many years of making residential and business signs for our clients on Cape Cod. If these do not meet your needs, we offer color matching at $10 per color, from your chip.



Classic Navy


Cape Cod Blue












Our Lettering Color Palette is a study in the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid). Gold leaf will work great on any of our background colors, White can be used on any of the dark backgrounds, and Black is reserved for the lightest backgrounds. We will consider other letter colors by special request. (note it in the comments field when placing your order).

23k Gold






Black Outer Border - No doubt you've noticed by now, all our styles share a universal black outer border. In case you're wondering why, click here for Three Good Reasons.

More Gold Leaf InfoGold Leaf - We use only 23k loose gold from Art Essentials in New York City. The real McCoy. Gold leaf sheets are approximately 3" square and 1000 times thinner than a human hair (1/300,000 of an inch!). It is so thin and light that the slightest puff of air will blow it away, yet when applied, it has all the luster and appearance of highly polished gold plating. It's protective qualities far outrank paint, and since 23k is 99% pure gold, it will never, ever tarnish. That's why it has been used for signs and nautical and architectural decoration, unchanged, for centuries. Click here for more information on how gold leaf is used in our signs.

The Carving - We take great pride in our Hand Carving. Yes, it's done with real chisels for the traditional effect. Hand CarvedOur master carver is Richard "Dick" Clark, and every sign that leaves our plant bears his handiwork. You will see actual chisel marks in your letters.  

Click to see the AppliquesThe Appliques - Our decorative appliques are hand carved, then cast in premium West Systems® Marine Epoxy. Appliques are sized and gilded with 23k gold leaf for an incredibly durable, lustrous, tarnish free shine.

More hardware information

The Mounting Hardware - All our signs ship with mounting instructions and all necessary hardware. For installations on wood or vinyl siding you only need a hand screw driver. Click to see an Installation photo essay. Installations on brick or stucco will require a power drill. Hardware consists of four (4) stainless steel angle clips and screws to mount them. This setup allows a number of 'blind' mounting options without the need for holes through the face of your sign. More hardware informationFor plaques that will be hung from a bracket, two stainless steel screw eyes are provided instead. Like anything else on this site - if you get stuck during the installation or are not sure how to proceed, please call or email us for cheerful assistance. 

Shipping - We ship by UPS, US Mail, and Airborne Express, insured, at our discretion. If there is some reason you absolutely must have a specific shipper, please state it in the "Comments" field of the order form and we will accommodate. Prices are reflected in your final price tally on the order form. Use the "Add To Cart" button on any selection to preview exact rate.

Enter the store now to start building your own sign!

Also, check out our virtual sign building tool below:
Type in your own message, change the colors, add an applique, try different panel shapes. Help visualize your perfect sign. Then come back to the store and enter your choices. Click on the image below and have fun with this!

Build Your Own Carved Wood Sign

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If you have any questions about the site or the products, please email us for a quick reply. is a division of The Modern Woodwright on beautiful Cape Cod.
79 Freemans Way, Brewster, MA 02631
800-509-SIGN (7446)
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