We make our signs with white pine boards that we purchase from sawmills as shorts. This means that we are using only the pieces that are too short for typical lumber applications. It would be a shame to take a long board and then cut it up into many little pieces, so this is a good arrangement both for us and the sawmill.
All of the boards are kiln dried, and we carefully select only sections of the boards that are free of knots. We try our best to avoid pieces that will warp, split or bleed sap. This is one of our greatest challenges.
There are over ten steps involved in making the signs. After we bring the boards back to the shop, we have to select the usable pieces, cut them to length, rip them to width, rout the key-slot in the back, paint them, print them, belt sand them, hand sand them, apply an antique wash to them, apply a finish to the edges, and finally wrap them in newsprint.
Our process is indeed labor intensive. We do use power tools for the woodworking, but the rest of the steps are done entirely by hand. Most of the time we wait until the orders come in before applying the final antique finish, as it is very difficult to store the signs without incurring scratches to the finish. This is the reason for falling behind schedule during the busy summer months when everyone orders at the same time.
If any sign should ever warp, split or bleed sap, please let us know and we'll happily replace it with a new one. We try our best to use only quality pieces, but wood is subject to change, especially with all the temperature and humidity fluctuations that occur throughout the year. It's still a better choice than pressboard.
Nostalgic Wooden Signs - Made in N.H.