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I took on the job of reproducing a letter "M", which is about 12" tall and about 3" thick, to be set outside the customer's house. We are in Minnesota, so it will be subjected to hot/cold, wet/dry, freeze/thaw cycles.

I would like suggestions for what material will work best to make this letter "M".

The original was made out of 3/4" particleboard, glued and screwed together (not my work). It has bulged and is decomposing.

My first thought would be to use exterior sign plywood, glued together to get 3" of thickness, bandsaw out the shape, then paint it black and coat it with fiberglass resin.

Will that work, or do you have better ideas?
 

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try pvc boards.
+1. Local sign companies that produce outdoor commercial signs for companies in every part of the country make them from PVC material. Laminate boards cut from 1" thick sheets using a good exterior urethane glue. Then cut the letter on a band saw.

Your other option is what is called an extended face. That's when the letter is cut from thin material and then built up to proper thickness using thin metal walls. The letter is hollow.

If it must be wood, try a good hard wood like oak or cedar with a coat or two of exterior paint, or spar varnish. Wood is hard to keep nice in exterior applications, but with regular care it will last for many years.

Just forget the word cheap exists.

Anything cheap will last less time than it takes to make the letter.
 

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+1. Local sign companies that produce outdoor commercial signs for companies in every part of the country make them from PVC material. Laminate boards cut from 1" thick sheets using a good exterior urethane glue. Then cut the letter on a band saw.

Your other option is what is called an extended face. That's when the letter is cut from thin material and then built up to proper thickness using thin metal walls. The letter is hollow.

If it must be wood, try a good hard wood like oak or cedar with a coat or two of exterior paint, or spar varnish. Wood is hard to keep nice in exterior applications, but with regular care it will last for many years.

Just forget the word cheap exists.

Anything cheap will last less time than it takes to make the letter.
I use to make signs and letters were made from a urethane HD foam board, I forget the exact name it comes 1/2" -3" thick
it also cost $300 a sheet

laminate MDO plywood together then cut on a band saw a good Exterior industrial paint like Pit-tech will work well. the problem with painting it with fiberglass resin alone(no cloth) is the cloth or matt is what gives it strength. It may flake off
 

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The material developed for the Interstate Highway System is a Medium Density Overlay(MDO). It's a waterproof plywood coated with a paper, resin impregnated material that makes for a sealed, smooth paintable surface. It's easily worked with standard woodworking tools. It's very commonly used by municipalities for their sign making needs.
 
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