We offer two varieties of outdoor signs, natural wood and painted Extira (exterior grade MDF).
The standard natural wood options that we offer are Mahogany and Cypress.
We have two options for natural wood signs, cuts painted black and finished with spar urethane and, what we like to call cut and ship for those people who want to finish it themselves, the cuts will be unpainted and no finish will be be applied.
There are many flavors of Mahogany; the lumber, in the Mahogany family, that we use is called Sapele. Sapele contains an interlocking grain that produces light and dark ribbon stripes throughout the boards. Because of this tight grain, much finer detail can be carved into it without the fear of chipping. We offer this as an indoor sign but it will survive very well outside.
Sign sample Mahogany painted cuts
Sign sample Mahogany unpainted cuts AND unfinished
The Cypress color tends to be a light, yellowish brown, sapwood is nearly white and some boards can have scattered pockets of darker wood that have been attacked by fungi, which is sometimes called pecky cypress. The result of the lighter colors combined with painted cuts is a sign with great contrast. Cypress has a straight grain and medium to coarse texture, it carves more cleanly with less chipping than Cedar. It carves larger, bolder text (Bookman Old Style font for example) very well, but does not do as well when it comes to fine detail (Curlz is not a good font for Cypress). Cypress is rated as being durable to moderately durable in regards to decay resistance. Cypress with unpainted cuts is not an option.
Sign sample Cypress painted cuts
Painted Extira (Exterior Grade MDF)
MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, and CMI makes an amazing exterior grade version of it called Extira (CLICK HERE for more information about this product). We have signs that have been exposed to the elements year around for over 10 years and are showing no signs of deterioration. We offer two standard options for these signs. Option 1) we paint the Extira surface the color of your choice (black, blue, burgundy, cream, or green) then carve your sign. The cuts are the color of the material. Option 2) we carve your sign into the unpainted Extira then paint all of the cuts black so the surface of the sign is the color of the material. A third option, not listed on our site, is our "cut and ship" option. Here we simply carve the unpainted material and ship it to you and let you do the painting. This is our least expensive option; please contact us if this is something in which you are interested. The two edge options we offer are primitive and plain. With the plain edge we do nothing, with the primitive, we use a sander to remove the paint around the edge. The two things this accomplishes is, it frames your sign, and it hides any imperfections that are caused if the sign gets dropped. Probably 98% of the painted Extira signs we sell are shipped with primitive option option.