Best wood for outdoor sign? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Best wood for outdoor sign?

Hi

You know those outdoor signs with the changeable acrylic letters that businesses use to advertise things on? I'm attempting to make one. I can buy the acrylic letters and the tracks that the letters slide into. I'm unsure of what material to use as the "board".

The sign will be 30" x 52". It will hang outdoors for 8 hours 6 days a week (in central PA). The lettering will be on both sides.

Obviously it is important that the board doesn't warp. Because it will be put up and taken down daily, it is important that it be as light weight as possible.

I'm a complete novice when it comes to woodworking so I'm in the dark as to what kind of wood would be best. If it lasts for 10 years and I have to replace the wood, that would be fine.

Thanks for your help and advice!
Colin
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 09:04 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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MDO plywood is good

http://video.bobvila.com/m/21315241/mdo-plywood.htm bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post

Thanks Bill!

After I paint the MDO with exterior paint, should I use a varnish or something? Again, you'll have to excuse my ignorance as I'm a novice.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 11:18 AM
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I'm not a finishing expert

But I would use a quality primer and then a top coat meant for exterior use. Sorry can't recommend brands. My outdoor painting is confined to
spray finishes on metal machinery, automotive paints and exterior
solid color stains for wood. Sherman Williams store may be helpful if someone here does not offer their advice. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 02:10 PM
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I made signs for about 6 years. MDO plywood is a marine grade glue with a medium density overlay on either 1 or both sides. Use a good primer because the overlay finish will absorb a good bit of paint. Paint all the edges good and your done. You might get away with 3/8" but 1/2" would be better although heavier.

I have found signs in ditches filled with water for days or longer and the wood is still good. allot of highway signs during construction or made with MDO.

That's MDO not MDF two completely different products. Call your local lumber yards or look for a sign supply company it comes in 4x8 and 4x10 sheets.

Last edited by rrbrown; 02-08-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-08-2010, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick replies.

I went to Lowes to check out the MDO. I wanted to get an idea of what a sign my size would weigh. I'm sure this will not surprise anyone, but the guy I spoke to at Lowes really had no idea what Medium Density Overlay was. I explained it and he still wasn't familiar with it. Needless to say, I left without seeing any MDO.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-09-2010, 05:17 AM
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No not a surprise Home Depot and Lowe's are not considered Lumber Yards. Your best bet would probably be a sign supply company. Reece Supply is a good one if you have one in your area.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-09-2010, 09:42 AM
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Other than the BORG"s. most real lumber yards sell MDO.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-11-2010, 09:24 AM
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As far as paint goes for exterior use I prefer Valspars Duramax. It has the primer in it already and has a life time guaranty. I use on all my exterior painting projects with great results and no callbacks.

Did you say tool sale?
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-20-2010, 03:57 PM
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I have used marine grade plywood and it is very durable, If you get mahogany core marine grade plywood it is even rot resistant. For solid hardwood signs that will be routed I use solid mahogany lumber ( can be flooring) and I glue it to a exterior plywood backing using titebond 3. Make sure you seal the edges of the lumber using a good waterproof glue or epoxy or several coats of good exterior oil based acrylic paint. You can see my work at http://www.signsalive.net/wood-signs.htm'
Hope this helps,
mark di saverio
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-20-2010, 06:34 PM
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Plywood

The last sign I made ( 12'x16') I got the plywood from a sign co.. It was marine grade with a plastic coating. He said it should last longer then me. Check with some sign co.s I don't recall it being all that expensive,but that was 8 yrs. ago. Good luck Waldo
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-20-2010, 08:33 PM
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another option you may want to consider would be to use pvc. You can buy it in 4x8 sheets and is ideal for outdoor use. It will run you about 3 times the price but it will last forever. You must also get this from a lumber yard, I doubt HD or Lowes will have this.
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-20-2010, 08:45 PM
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The two main outdoor sign boards are MDO as previously stated and there is an exterior paint grade MDF called Extira. I have not personally used it yet, but I know sign makers that are using it regularly.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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