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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 update

Between my and facebook, writing my book, online side business and working full time for a local sign company, and renovating my house, and making keepsake boxes, i've never had a spare moment for my old blog.... so i'm still around, doing lots and doing it well.
I haven't been making signs on my own for a year and a half - contracting to local Alliston Signs alot, but the business is closed for the moment due to a I'm getting active again in what ever i can to provide for my family.

contact: me @

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another proud store owner

I finished it within a month, including repainting all the green trim and a couple of little signs. One of my nicest signs in town, so befitting the store and the town bylaw about fitting in with the small-town old world feeling.
30" tall styrofoam letters, an inch off the wall with green halo lighting.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Herbert's Boots and Western Wear

I have been wanting to do this store for 5 years. But for the owner, Deiter, the timing wasn't right until now.

Here's the store as it is, and below the proposed changes. We're starting with the main lettering. Check back in a week when I'll have intermediate pics to show.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy New Year

I have been busy this past few months renovating my 105 year-old house and building a new large workshop for business. I've also had alot of interest in my graphic design and in my woodworking skills and so seem to be following those 'signs' also. Hence, see my 'Keepsakes' page on my updated website.

Whatever I'm creating, I'm doing it with skill, passion for quality, and to put a very satisfied grin on you, my customer.

Do you want something special for your business, home, estate, or public building ? I can create it for you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ready to install !

Next Morning. . . .
I took the sign out of my studio and here have photographed it in both the shade and in the direct sunlight. Details here show close ups of the sheen of the 'Smaltz' - crushed black glass, the colouring on the stones, the gold foil and the brushed aluminum.

I am very proud of this - one of my favourite and best !
I spent time preparing for install and got there to find the wind had picked up too much to safely install. Brenda was fine with that and was glad to present me with the ring she so lovingly crafted. So Saturday Morning I got there early, put up the scaffold, remove the old sign which was crumbling as I removed the screws, and bolted the frame work to the fascia. The sign went up easily and hooked on as planned. Two screws near the bottom back sides hold it from ever slipping of the z-bracket hook.
I will post here Tuesday her comments and include a picture of the sign installed, and also the ring she made for my Lady ! I presented it to her Friday night on the eve of our 2nd anniversary together ! Let's just say she was speechless !!!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Complete ! Last stages of a Sign in Progress

I will be installing it later today and finish off the details and description here as well as replace this picture with a better one, outside of my studio during the morning.
I took a few hours longer than I reckoned and had some other things to do, so I didn't finish assembly until a few minutes ago, 3 am. so i'm going to have to sleep in a little in the morning or i will be no good up a ladder.

Oh yeah, after the 30 hours of waiting for the black coating to dry enough to hold the smaltz securely, I stood the sign upright over a clean roll of paper shaking off the loose, unstuck smaltz, reclaiming about half of what I spread on.
In the morning before installing, I will make sure all screws are sealed, thin black calking around all the edges of the 'stone' board, to prevent moisture getting behind anything. I want this sign to look good for many years.

all else i'll say tonight is that I am Very Pleased with my finished product.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Step by Step in the creation of an exquisite Sign ( if I do say so myself ! )

Today, after 24 hours of drying time for the 3rd finish coat on certain areas of board, I applied the gold lettering on the surface and masked over specific areas around the lettering. This will give the gold lettering it's own gloss background. Then I applied the third coat of black to the whole sign, even over the masked letters. I added spar varnish and kerosene to this black gloss Benjamin Moore paint to increase it's stickiness and drying time. I removed the masking Then I poured One gallon of dry crushed black glass to the entire surface as shown in the photograph. I will let this dry for 30 hours before standing the sign on it's edge to shake off all the excess. This technique is called 'Smaltz' and was first used in the early 1900's to create a spectacular effect of sparkling black unlike any sign you've likely ever seen. My Dad taught me this which was rarely used mostly because of the cost in material and it is very labour intensive. It has not been used much since the advent of computer generated lettering in the 70's, mostly because a computer cannot, and I will bet cannot ever, reproduce this effect. I don't even know if it is available anymore; I've used almost all my supply that my Dad gave me 25 years ago. I last used it for the letters with a slightly different approach on the Museum-On-The-Boyne sign which can be seen on the institutional signs page of my website.
Enough said . . . . wait till Monday's post to see the final results.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Step by Step progress of a sign part two

Day three - everything got a light sanding and its second finish coat. I welded studs on the back of the aluminum lettering so they will stand off the surface when finished. Then three coats of laquer to protect. I took the board for the coloured band and meticulously followed Brenda's design and copied the grain and colours of the stones she gave me as samples. The stones of course are smaller than a centimeter, The full size faux-stones are 6" tall. Day four I have cut the gold lettering ready to lay, and put two coats of premium high gloss clear UV coating to the faux-stones. Everything now is waiting for paint to dry thoroughly before the final two steps: coating the whole background with a black crushed glass and assembly - then for install - Friday hopefully.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Step by Step of Fascia Sign

I was walking along our mainstreet one Saturday with my fiance window shopping with My intention of seeing what kind of rings she might like for an engagement ring. She didn't like anything ordinary but she was interested in a Jewellery artisan.
I went back to the store on Monday with a design I had in mind for a ring with lapis lazuli and a diamond and so the ordering of her ring was in the works. I mentioned that I am a signmaker and she was definitely interested in trading our talents.

So I returned sometime later with several designs; back and forth with changes and so the final design here. It is a medium-high budget sign with extra special details.

Yesterday I cut the background of 3/4" crezon plywood, rounded the edges and filled them with bondo; cut 2 horizontal 2 x 6 's on a 45 down the centre and afixed one pair of them to the back for easy mounting, the other pair I framed for easy attachment to the wall. When the sign is complete, it will very easiy hang on the boards, level and secure.
Next I cut the 'stone' board from 2 x 8 clear kilndried pine.

Everything was primed/sealed front, back and edges, sanded 8 hours later and filled and coated again, this time with a premium undercoat.

Today I lightly sanded everything once again and put on the first of three finish coats.
Then I took a sheet of 1/8" sheet aluminum, brushed in horizontally with the belt sander extra carefully and Hand-cut the name Brenda Roy and spent a couple of hours filing and brushing the edges for a fine finish.
I also cut and bent 4 aluminum brackets - 2 long for the top back and 2 short for the bottom back so the sign will tilt forward for easier viewing from the narrow sidewalk. The sign next to this store is tilted outward and so I also wanted to do this so the sign would not be hidden from the one direction.

more to come on Monday

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Check out my new website

I'll keep this going for all the stuff I originally wrote, but updated info will most likely be on the website.
I have all the photos there.
I wish to thank Rimatas from SOS for helping me on the website and Rogers and Google for providing the place and software.

alliston creative services dot googlepages dot com ( no spaces )

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who Cares ? . . . . I DO !

As part of my services, I have introduced myself to various sign companies as being available for casual or specialised occasional contracts. One year ago, A large sign company had a specific project in mind and we agreed that I would give them 3 days a week for 5 months. Steady income for me yet I could still be active on smaller jobs on my own. Over those months, they Kept asking me to come on full time but I consistently said I did not want to give up what I enjoy doing, Designing and creating my own signs for my own customers. I did enjoy the challenge of this project very much - 68 solid aluminum sign stands for the Smithsonian Institute in NYC. By the time it was completed, I didn't have much going on and had enjoyed for a change having a steady income without the many and regular challenges of soliciting work, so I agreed somewhat reluctantly to come on board full time. I knew it was a mistake in very short order, but stuck with it for 5 months anyway. But the time came when I had to get out. There were quite a few reasons, namely safety issues, poor factory morale and a regular policy of shipping inferior quality product. This is exclusively a custom fabrication shop, a very large and prosperous one in fact, and yet substandard workmanship on High-end work for prominent customers paying the very top buck . . . wore away at my pride until my soul was in daily agony from being told to do what I knew was wrong.

A month ago I liberated myself and began once again Alliston Creative Services - back to full time self-employed operations. Hallelieuah - I am Free once again to create exquisite designs and bring them to fruition using quality techniques and materials and giving my customers Excellent Design and Value for their money To the very best of my very capable abilities !

I put my heart into my work and do what those big companies cannot do - Take Pride in my craft because I truly Care about doing it right ! I have boundless enthusiasm and Do My best for my client !

With 27 years in the Sign Business, My specialties are Well thought-out Planning, Design and hand-crafted custom architectural and commercial signage. I am based just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada but am available to provide my services to all North America.

I look forward to enquiries of any size where Quality of manufacture and Design are the paramount requirements. A confidential note with your email address in the comments below will not be visible in this blog and I will respond within a day.

Cliff Perry - The Signs Guy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 07

Still alive and rather well actually.

Following signs.

There doesn't have to be a lot of signs if there is clarity in the few.
So I have been following a single clear sign. Modeling a carpenter.
Taking care of the bills, temporarily not being self-employed; Taking care of myself and taking care of my new family ( 1 1/2 years now ) .

There just need be one good sign for a meaningfull life, still it may be hard to follow it steadily, it is the one or at least Main . . . guide . . . to follow.

Always with room for improvement, I'm doing reasonably good right now.

Praise Life ! . . . Praise the Lord.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Trying to provide good service

For my town's recent Festival weekend, I thought that since about 15,000 people pass my house in three days, I could make some extra money while providing some custom products that most people wouldn't have access to normally. Sign companies most often market themselves to business and so this weekend, I provided an opportunity to the general public to without going out of their way, order and buy novelty and custom name signs and lettering for labeling things around their house; mugs, towel racks, coat hooks, books, street address signs, (both novelty and real address) Christmas box labeling, keepsakes boxes labeling by year and mailbox names and numbers. I spent weeks of evenings preparing samples for what I thought people would like to buy and it turns out I was wrong. People walking by on the sidewalk on the other side of street would not cross this not so busy road to even satisfy their curiousity. I sold about 6 things.
I still can't believe that i could be so wrong, maybe just my expecting to sell them to people on the way to the fairgrounds don't want to stop to spend, maybe expecting them to cross the meager two lanes, I don't know. I can't imagine what else. Anyway, live and learn, I won't be setting up a booth again. Maybe if I was to set up in some sort of show or exhibition, or even at the fairgrounds I may have done better, but these venues charge so much for space I would have to sell a very large amount to cover my overhead. work half or more of the best part of the first of three days to put money in someone else's pocket = don't think so.

At least now I know WHY sign companies don't market to the public.

But, if you do want a sign and are here on my site, You can email me ( by leaving a comment) and i will return your call to serve you. My comments are not published to view without my reviewing them first, and if I see you've left your return e-dress or phone number, I will not publish it, Just contact you. I don't do the mailing list sales or anything like that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

new signs for me to follow

'Signs' have led me back to working part-time for a large sign factory. I'm sort of 'enjoying' it working in a team environment producing large, elaborate, expensive signs.

I get to regularly put many of my skills to work, focusing on producing my best effort without worrying about: getting paid,
counting on when money is coming in,
did I estimate properly,
have I enough for materials,
is there a machine I should be using that I don't own,
complications of installation,
and best of all, not worrying about where the next job is coming from.

My Main concern is being 40 minutes away from my home, in case ever my daughter needs me quickly, if she's upset or sick or were hurt. I remained self employed for so long mostly because I wanted to be near, being a single dad. But the reasons above made it viable, for me to make the choice to return to 3 - 9 hour days.

My latest signs to be installed in Alliston at the end of my full-time business are: Healing Habits, - Hand cut and sculpted foam letters adhered to a blank store front. The typeface chosen by the client was Tempus, which lends itself very well to hand carving. A deep blue to go on a pale blue background makes these letters quite striking.

And the local Museum, finally, after months, got the signs with the new name up on the building. I had the signs done quite a while ago, but was waiting for the right timing for installing, which required a boom crane because of the very odd shaped roof making it inaccessible any other way. The Parks people are very pleased with my workmanship, and have said more signs will be coming my way in the near future. These signs I will gladly take the time to do, because I know that no one else around will do them as carefully and lovingly crafted as I will do them; I care about the pride of my town and will make sure the signs are excellent because i want to. I have a passion for Making signs with old-fashioned craftsmanship that few others anywhere have. Making a living from it, as crazy as it sounds, seems secondary, but I know I will make a fair and honest wage from doing them giving the client more-than excellent value for their money. Especially since I don't have massive overheads like most sign shops.

I will carry on with my one day a week maintenance job at the residential school, which I also enjoy very much, and fit only the choicest of sign jobs in the other day or two in my week. I will for the near future, not do piddly little jobs for clients who's first concern is 'how much' a sign will be rather than first talking about what kind of sign they want and it's purpose and it's image. With my steady p-t job, at least now I can afford to only take on work that I will be proud to create, using the most imaginative ideas and techniques to make something exquisite !

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm still here

Not as if I've been idle - contrare - I've been too buzy to blog. Such a journal takes time and brainspace of which I've had neither to spare. A sign of making my priorities. I'm not even sure who reads this blog, if any on a regular basis. I suppose I'm doing it for current and potential clients and possibly aquaintances who might want to see what I'm up to. I haven't had any unusual projects lately that I can comment on.

My fingers have healed very well, although my middle one is a quarter inch shorter than before and it still hurts when I press on it but i've gotten very use to this minor pain in daily use. Miraclulous tho' that it's grown back as much as it has. I look at this incedent as a Sign from God to keep my mind on my work, and to not try to do too much at once, especially when using power tools. I was overtired, rushed and thinking about too many things when it happened. Thank God it didn't slow me down too much. And it brought my son closer as he helped me amazingly well that first couple of weeks. I couldn't have got through them without him.

So I have to get back to work and if you find anything interesting here, especially in the blogs of last year, let me know by comments so i know who's out there, and it may inspire me to write more often.

Monday, February 06, 2006

been to busy to blog

December seemed to disappear with Christmas things going on at the church, and a few signs and handyman / painting jobs.

January was a blur - I'd taken on a large project with a deadline and then promptly injured myself.

Feb, I'm back to work almost normal. a lot of catching up to do.

Signs - The museum job is my number one priority, followed by an awkward small street sign that I have to refit with lights and plexi which is a big nusance which I wish i'd never taken on. It looked so simple yet I have spent countless hours and still it isn't right. At first it was suppose to be solar lit, which I knew nothing about and it turned out would cause more than a thousand dollars just for parts. Now I will go with LEDs which I likewise have had to learn about and is not as expensive but still a nusance to do. I don't like doing things micky-mouse, and properly in this case needs a whole day of which i never seem to have, especially since i now will make no money on. But I will do it, luckily the client has endless patience and is not in a hurry, especially with the snow on the ground, it has to wait till the ground is soft enough to drill a post hole to mount it.

This is another kind of sign a sign that I should not take on things which I know nothing about, and although that is how I learned about 1/3 of what I know, I couldn't have guessed how complicated it could be.

A sign i should stick to what I know, which is beautiful, handmade signs of wood, plexi, foam and aluminum. interior painting. Cabinetwork. fixups / handywork for residential and light commercial.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

my signs of late

signs led me to getting a two morning a week one year contract as a handyman at a country resort. I feel good about having a regular connection with the same people in several respects. It is nice to have steady work, varied work and challenges, responsibility and trust from the employer who knows your good record.

It allows me to be home for my kids before and afterschool and also leaves me plenty of time in a week to carry on with my sign work. Winter is very often slow in this business.

I've got a bunch of small projects on which I need to clear up. It is a bit of a burden knowing that some clients wait a little longer than they ought to. Sorry, Folks. Being a single dad I have a strong commitment to my family, and since rarely are my signs required with an urgent and specific install date, I have been known to shuffle things around to help be a better Dad.

I have the local Museum contract to make new signs. I designed these signs with several option s and i knew I would enjoy making them by any method they selected of my layouts

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Steam Train Restoration Project

Well it was an awesome weekend. Friday Night, I drove to Tottenham, just 15 minutes away from me, (north of Toronto 100km) and met 29 other volunteer signpainters from around Ontario to line up the weekend's work. Together we assembled, painted and vinyled the lettering, logos and pictorials on and around the heritage steam trains and station. The project was organised by one of the local men, Russel, and he had a bunch of his shop's people out and many and much of the work that could be done in preparation before was done at his shop. The volunteers of the tourist attraction station pre-painted the sheds and trains before ready for all our graphics.

Saturday Morning was chaos like I've seen rarely in my career. Everyone going back and forth with paper patterns, looking for the correct information, finding the right materials, paint, drawings, and positioning and within a couple of hours everyone was heads up with brushes in hands working in Beautiful, actually Perfect signwriting weather. Lettering on the 60 year old boxcars and hoppers with 30 coats of paint and rust and splittered wood would have been considered a nightmare but for we were all doing this for our fun and fellowship and the greater cause. If we were doing this as a profit making job, we would have been cursing ourselves for taking it on, but under the group community spirit effort, it was fun. We all Knew of the problems of each of the things we were doing so we could somehow joyfully commisserate because no one else knew better of the conditions than fellow signwriters. Like telling a friend or family of how bad the surface was and how the paint was drying almost before coming off the brush, they might nod there head in un-understanding sympathy. With your fellows around, you just carry on and get it done despite conditions. And we have all had worse ones. Like painting upside down on brick with 70 km winds etc.

I had never attended a Letterheads Meet before, Letterheads being an informal gathering of the signmaking clan from around the world. The meets are usually everywhere else but local to me, a majority seem to be in the States, and i've never gone due to time and money and also a bit of shyness thinking I could never match the skills of these infamous masters of the brush. After this weekend, I tip my hat to each of the individual's skills but importantly realise that I too have very comparible skills to any of them, indeed doing it much longer than most of them with being in the business for nearly 30 years. Well, I will definitely intend on attending more Meets in the future, maybe every other year or so, and hopefully getting more socialising, trading stories and seeing portfolios as is usual with these Letterheads meets.

Overall, for me it was a very satisfying, joyful, interesting - just a Great Weekend.
And gladly too, my daughter was being pleasingly occupied By my new love of life so my mind was at ease to enjoy it fully.

Letterheads has a website too if you're interested, although I've only browsed it a long time ago, as I don't get much time to sit and browse.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jobs on the go . . .

just finished a 4 x 8 v shaped billboard for a car dealership - Boyer Chevrolet.
just finished a bunch of directional and information signage for a small wharehouse.

last week I started a bunch of little signs for a vintage clothing store,
some woodworking for residential,
a Solar lit estate driveway sign,
Wray's Pharmacy storefront restoration
An Awning for Cupid & Pysche Jewellery, an A Board, a post sign
quoting on several retail projects and contractor site boards.
graphics on a carpet for a school
This week and next I will finish some of these projects,
plus start on graphics for a kitchen showroom and vehicle

and some Signs for my trailer to promote my business locally, which I have never done because I was building up word of mouth, but it's a small town and I need more local work to carry me through the winter. Winter and Summer, this business is often slow, Fall is the busiest followed by Spring.

Happy Hundred Days My Darling Bambi !

My Personal Signs I'm following.

In 2005, I have begun more and more to accept Jesus as my personal saviour this year. I needed help in so many little and big ways in improving my life and although there is always someone around to fill a gap in one's happiness, there is only one that is able at filling many and more and more gaps in my life.
The more I ask him to walk with me, the more I feel he does. And Hanging around with this admired buddy for help in every aspect of one's life, having someone there all the time who's always helpful, and selflessly so, is a very good thing ! Takes me back to days of my favourite scoutmaster, a few old mentors I've had, and an imaginary childhood buddy named Scott who knew how to do everything right. I'm starting my first official school year as a youth group leader, after being asked to fill in in march which ended up continuing till June. I shake my head in wonder, when I think that 30 years ago, I was originally brought to Christ through my then youth group leaders.

Many, many signs in my life have pointed me in this direction, I too often have seemed to stray when following signs that I try to make for myself.
I've spent a good deal of my life making signs to order for other people's needs. I need my own sign and now I feel I have accepted it's presence. I find by just out-loud asking him for what-to-do, I get an answer every time I listen for his reply.
The Sign of the Cross !

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blowin off steam ! - not like you might think !

The Letterheads, for anyone outside of the signbiz, seems to be an informally organised coalition of old fashioned Sign Artists from around the world who's mandate is to get together with many other sign artists for a weekend, in various locations to exchange ideas, techniques and comraderie with fellow sign people and of course, Paint Signs. They have been organising these events for 30 years or more and have featured the results of these Letterheads Meets in several of the various Sign Trade Magazines. This is how I've admired from afar these fellow's works for all these years. I have never made an effort to participate usually because they are mostly in the States, or I've just been unavailable.

Well, with my one - off 13 minute CBC radio Documentary that has now aired three times, some people in the sign biz actually heard this and contacted me, and I have now been invited to participate in a Letterheads - type of meet which also happens to be just down the road from me. At the end of this month somewhere between 12 and 20 sign artists will meet at the Tottenham South Simcoe Railway which is a heritage operating steam train, to reproduce the old graphics on all the signs on and around the train. I can't believe this opportunity for me to participate !! Wow - I can't wait. When I first got the phone call, I started getting all nervous thinking I'd never meet the standards of these amazing Sign Masters, but then after a few days and looking over my own portfolio, my confidence has agreed that I am qualified. I've often thought I was better than your average sign writer, certainly imagination-with-design-wise, but these letterhead type of guys do super amazing stuff. Well, I have to now admit I've done my own amazing stuff too, although since I've rarely actually talked with others in my trade, I can't say I've had much feedback from my peers. So this chance I will take to work along side of others in a fellowship, volunteer way with the goal of producing an outstanding bunch of reproduction signwork. Doing old style has always been my favourite, especially with my 10 years of European and British Pub signage experience.

And in a very bizarre coincidence, just a few days before I received this phone call, I had Just installed a reproduction sign for the former Alliston Station of the train line which no longer runs through Alliston, but there is a little parkette beside the Zehrs store dedicated to that train station. very weird !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So If you get a chance to ever go to Tottenham to check out the steam train and indeed ride on it, maybe you'll appreciate signs in a new way that you may not have looked at them before.

If you are new to my blog - My most interesting stories are generally back in November and December of 04 Archives - click on them down the right side of this page. ( that was when I started this blog and was writing daily. )

Friday, September 02, 2005

Amazing !

The summer is truly over ! The phone is ringing off the hook. Everyone suddenly wants signs. September in this country / culture ( not sure where the division is ) signifies starting anew even more I think than January first. Two weeks ago, I wasn't sure what I was doing, as of yesterday I have the next two 1/2 months booked. I actually will have to turn work away if the phone continues to ring, although it's not likely to too much because I have never advertised so it's mostly word of mouth, referals and previous clients. Which is great ! And with all of this, I seem to want to make a new posting here ! Can't guarantee this will be daily, we'll see.

So here's my schedule for me, and any of my clients who might want to keep tabs on their jobs.

Alliston Historical Society - I've had this job for a while and it just doesn't seem to get to the top of the pile. When someone tells me no hurry, I seem to take it seriously and it gets put off. I expect to finish it today. A 16" x 10' plywood sign, white, for the parkette where the ancient train station was. Done in the lettering style of 1880's denoting Alliston and the distance to the two next stops.

Fraser Avenue Studios - got the materials in this week, ready to cut a half dozen small hallway and laneway signs out of Alumicor - a durable sheet material that has a plastic core with thin aluminum laminated to either side. Lightweight, cheep, can take a bit of abuse and is precoated with white on one side, black on the other. Vinyl lettering for information going on these for this Toronto art studio building.

Cupid And Psyche - Aurora store. replace awning , a steel post sign by the sidewalk with a ironwork hanging bracket and the store logo on a d/s wood blank. will start at the end of today.
Design work finalised in May - go ahead now .

Boyer Chevrolet Dealership. Moving to new site needs two billboards on posts. finalising details over the next few days. First talked about in December.

Stock Exchange - clothing store, Newmarket. more signs, this time for a new archway for the parking lot. more 'Words of the week'.

And somewhere in the next couple of weeks I should be starting the framing on a new house, and right after, the trimwork and hardwood flooring on another new house.

Canine Lover's Lane - an end of driveway sign for a rural residence which is to be illuminated by solar lights. I am exploring the most efficient way of doing this.

Better get cracking so I'll Sign Off !

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Summer's Over

The lazy days of summer end and September seems to bring everyone to renewed getup and go. The phone has started ringing again, and I will be making signs once more. It sure was a slow summer for me, but a great one personally. I have been following signs in my life, and these have led me in a good and interesting direction. I may now, it seems, continue with self employment and carry on not only making signs, but using my other skills and talents to procure my living needs. Wood has always been a part of my life, creating furnishings, buildings, restoring it, painting it and so working with it in these ways will be more in the foreground. I'm also considering being available for supply teaching at my local high school, in the wood or metal shop.
I'm not sure for whom I writing this for now, my 'market' is changing, my life is changing as all our lives change, and I rarely spend any time on the computer any more at all. So this will not be a daily posting, it only was really that first couple of months - see November and December Archives for postings which i put a lot of effort into for interesting reading about the sign business.
Until I feel the urge to write again, . . . . .

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Following new signs

I haven't actively pursued signwork in several months. I still have a few previous clients i am doing work for but nothing new. This small town is covered well by one, or maybe two youngsters with the big expensive equipment needed to keep up with the times. So I will continue to do hand made signs if the calls comes through, but otherwise I'm going to frame houses for the summer. Lots of work, sun, money, and weekends off.
I will look for further signs of what my maker might have in mind for me.

But for interesting reading about my (previous) life in the sign business, start with my November Posts - archives to the right -

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Check out my earlier Blogs

I haven't promoted this site much this winter or spring, indeed, It's been very hard to keep it up. Business has been very slow in this small town and unless I start travelling to the surrounding cities of Barrie, Newmarket where the distance is far and the competition is stiff, I will be doing other things - cabinetmaking, machine work. And I'd prefer not to travel because I'd rather be close to my kids.

The kids store decided after 4 designs that they were going to make the sign themselves on the cheap and good luck to them. Same with the optician ( 9 designs ). Same with the juice bar. (7 designs). I am a Fool for not getting a deposit sooner if only to cover my design time. I may be a very good sign maker/artist but rotten business guy, going to small business and expecting them to see value in having a proper sign. Mind you, most do, I just bad-lucked out on getting 3 bummers in a row.

The florist shop and the cabinetmaker are going ahead, both with good budgets and will get themselves attractive eye catching signs in the next week. Other than that, I don't know yet.

Meanwhile, I'm keeping this blog open because I put alot into it, especially the earlier posts October - November. Check them out !

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Jewellery Store opens in the morning and all went well. Didn't get the blizzard Thank God, and it was only - 10c to -15c windchill, I hate installing up ladders any colder than that.
10 awnings, briliant white with a dashing and bold pink and grey letters and two curly lines forming a heart. They look very Posh, and The client and all the staff seemed to be pleased.

But because of the shifting around and around of the awnings in my workspace due to size of both, there are the four smaller ones that didn't get finished till tonight. So they'll be up in the morning with the Aboard and other small lettering.

So after today I will be cracking on with the other projects listed below.

Monday, February 28, 2005

I took down the ten awnings the next day and have spent the past week shuffling them around in my limited space.

Cleaning every square inch underside and outside.
Touching up the metal framework.
Removing the old vinyl lettering and stripes.
Removing the old sticky adhesive.
Brushing corners and rolling surfaces.
Three coats. Inside and out.
I'd planned on 3 days. Call it five because i hadn't counted on the vinyl being As stuck as it was, nor did I notice before that 5 of the 10 were blue colour on the underside too. But like all my work, I take pride it doing it properly.

Next, the logo and wording all cut out of 3 colours of vinyl, in several sizes on the plotter.
That all needs weeding and masking and cut and arranged, layed in place and stuck down.

Plus, there's an A board, and 2 suspended signs, Hours sign, door lettering
and I have still to remove the old window lettering which I shall do amidst a blizzardy storm that is called for, because the store opens Thursday.
So I hope to have the majority of all done tomorrow for Wednesday install.

And I've already been asked to redo the signage at their other store 40 miles away.

The several other jobs I have are each in the design stage:

A juice bar becomes a bistro.

Cabinetmaker: A sleek Logo required, then unusual sign to follow. I've been given artistic licence and a decent budget. He wants spectacular, and i'm going to deliver.

Kids clothing moving to new premises.

The local Museum needs a few things on which I am bidding.

Deluxe custom message board for a florist.

Finally, I am making some signs for myself.

I built a high sided trailer for general installations and there are 6 inset panels of which I shall put a different sign ( 16 x 44 ) in each. Different materials, colours, layouts.

  1. 2 foot x 2 foot birdhouse shape, cobalt blue 'roof' reflective orange surface and . . . .
  2. reproduction 1900's tradesman's shingle.
  3. relief rectangle rounded corners lemon yellow, with emerald green and process blue lettering.
  4. plain coroplast blank with vinyl stripes, and descriptive wording,
  5. 6" x 24 " x 2 " etched foam blank with phone number, silver foil on blue.
  6. simple 16 x 44 blank in brown with gold foil centred name.

And the list of I wanna do's goes on and on.

And being a single Dad as well, I couldn't do any of this without the help of my good friends. Thank you.

ps: Both my kids have said that it's pretty neat to live around a house where signs are constantly been made, then they see them up on the stores. They point at the name in the corner and say, "See, My Dad made that sign". I think that's neat.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Lawyer's sign went up yesterday - Client well pleased. spent the rest of the afternoon spring cleaning and organising my studio.

First is completing the designs for the jewellery store. On the computer.
I have to source the best price on a particular kind of coating for the existing awnings (10 ) and order the vinyl for their logo used at the their two other stores.
I have to travel to pick up their ABoard from the old store which is closing and take down a couple of signs that will need revamping.

While I'm in that town, I will drop into a few stores to offer my services.

Next I have four different proposals which all need preliminary sketches which will take me the rest of the day.

I will also make another attempt at getting photos onto this page.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Flipping through my archives will uncover many an interesting blurb about me and the sign business. I've covered a lot but recently haven't had the time to add here.

I'm going to follow the stages of work I have on the go for the next while and try to post here everyday.

I have on the go:

Lawyers sign: A double sided wood 30" x 48" ( 60cm x 125 ) . Lots' of airbrushing, hand lettering, elaborate frame, - I'm almost done.

Jewellery store: still finialising the designs this week - 10 awnings to come off the building, repainted and lettered, replaced.

Gym wanting window display boards. Designs done, just waiting to get around to them. wanted in the next week or so.

Juice bar restaurant moving to new premises - working on designs.

Kids clothes store moving to new premises - working on designs.

The Local Museum - a woodworking project that I have to now make the plans for and final pricing.

and several projects In the proposal stage.

Now, i'm going to finish the lawyers sign - finishing coats on the frame, airbrushing a feather and ink bottle.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Accurate Measuring

Something very little has always had me scratching my head. 99.9% of people do this, if they have to measure and mark something.
Let’s say it’s a piece of wood.
The tab of the measuring tape is hooked on the end. . .
The tape is pulled out to expose the number one needs it measured to . .
They take a pencil, bring it to the little tick they need to mark. . .
Then they draw a little mark on the board with the pencil.

Then they draw it backandforthandbackandforth Again and Again .
They are inadvertently making the mark thicker and thicker so that it is sometimes almost a couple of millimetres wide. So when you go to cut it to the mark, you don’t know which side of the mark to go to.
When Accuracy is important, and in this business it is, Why would one go to the trouble of making an accurate mark then make it inaccurate the same second ? This invariably results in a sloppy fit, although it’s not much, it can be critical.

When you make a mark with the pencil, make ONE mark, not 2,3,4. In the name of accuracy.

Anal – I’ve been called many times over this tiny thing. But Dang, it just makes sense.

And speaking of tape measures - The End of a tape measure – that little tab - IS SUPPOSE TO BE WIGGLY. For a similar reason to above. The tab will wiggle precisely the Thickness of the tab. If you’re measuring the inside of something it will move in that 1/16” , or the outside of something it will move out that 16th.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Alliston Creative Services

That's what I call myself, Others call me The Signs guy.

My Specialty is Unique Design.
Logo, Sign and advertisement design;

I also make by hand High Quality, Durable signs for Estates, Retail, Commercial, Industrial.

26 years experience,
With the training of my Father, a Master Craftsman of 33 years experience and my Uncle, a Master Joiner ( cabinetmaker ).
I was accepted into the Guild of Master Craftsmen, London, England in '89.

I have designed and built signs in Belgium, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Malta, Turketstan and USA for small and prominent companies.

I am one of the diminishing breed of Signwriters, Gilders and airbrush Artists.
I was also one of the first sign people in Canada to use the new vinyl cutting technology.

And besides all my training and experience, I'm passionate about my design, my client getting the best, and, I'm naturally good at it too !

With this very computer, I can work with you and even arrange all the details of manufacture through my many connections in Europe and Americas. And even Easier in Canada.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Finishing up for the Year End 2004

The Church Sign went up easy and the few I have seen are very pleased.
I will have to wait for eleven degrees celcius to paint the exsisting posts and a couple of finishing touches.

I would like to mention, that summer 2003, after having been asked by several people to stop in, I did, and for a non-practicing christian, I really enjoyed and felt very uplifted by the whole experience. Lots of Joyous Singing, very nice tunes, totally non-pretentious surroundings but comfortable and ordinary folk wearing great big smiles; I may not know the lord personally, but I saw a whole bunch of people I knew knew ! Time flew and it was over.
That is the Alliston Christian Fellowship. Great Philanthropists in our Town, too.

The School Signs: ready to install when it's above -20c (for my fingers sake)

The plastic signs, I ended up having plenty for Christmas, and some to start of the count in January. This is an ongoing project, I make to order, 12 at a time. I hope to making a couple of dozen a week for a couple of months. Then it may get bigger !

The cottage sign Impressed the whole family, indeed I did very nice carving of the script if I do sayso myself. And this was one of my favourite creations of the year. Actually I make all my signs with passion for my craft and definitely have my own Style of design.

The bulletin board project - revisions are with the client.

I did not yet get my pictures on this site. I have tried several times to ski the learning curve of web publishing and although slightly frustrated at this Hello and piscasa programs, I am enjoying learning all sorts of tech-end. I absolutely could not yet Design someone's webpage; I tip my hats to them. Especially the old guysers like me whom find it extra challenging.

The second month of blogs goes into archives tonight, and the articles are all over the place, I know. The format is not what I want for what this site has become.
But for the meantime, I hope Some people have found some things Interesting. I know there are some people are checking it out, that's a sign of some worth. But creating this site has been very worthwhile to me and if no one else is even reading this now, I feel this pleasure from typing it anyway; getting comments from you would be a bonus.

My personal favourite posts areThe Evolution of the sign,Dec 1st & a miscellany day, Nov 24th.

Thank you Blogger people and google for providing a great public service for free.
Thank you Bloggers everywhere !
Thank you readers
Thank you friends
Thank you Neighbours.

Tomorrow may come, and for thousands it wont. But The disaster in Indiasia should be a SIGN to us all to end each day being sure that we have done our best with life.
Life shows us lots of signs pointing us in the right direction in life, If only we Follow the Signs.
Cliff Perry, the Signs Guy