Southwest Woodworks

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Brad L. Winesett
VA Class A Contractor
Radford, VA 24141
(540) 320-4324

Custom Signs

Custom routed signs can be created with many materials.  Don't let our name fool you, we do much more than wood only.  There are many materials suitable for signs, such as solid wood, MDO, urethane foam, polyethylene, PVC, and solid surface materials.  My CNC router can handle sizes up to 4' x 8' with as much as a 6" thickness.  (Lengths of 10' are possible with careful planning and design considerations.)   Below are some explanations of the most popular sign materials along with examples of each.  Many other sign samples are available in the gallery.

Installation is also available on both indoor and outdoor signs.  I can also create custom posts and brackets for hanging your sign. 
Solid wood is beautiful in every way, giving your home or business that warm welcome it deserves.  For indoor signs, any type of wood is appropriate.  Some of my favorites are red oak, cherry, and walnut  For outdoor signs, the choices become smaller when longevity of the sign is important.  The most commonly used wood for outdoor signage is Western red cedar (WRC, for short).  It is naturally rot resistant and insect repellant.  Even with WRC, proper finishes are important for longevity.  A WRC sign exposed fully to the sunlight and weather will require annual maintenance to keep it looking great for many years.  

Red Oak sign with polyethylene letters

Western Red Cedar sign with painted background


Urethane Foam is a widely used material for outdoor signs, which comes in many different thicknesses.  It is very easy to machine, accepts any type of paint, and is lightweight.  Urethane foam is also impervious to rot and insects.  The drawbacks are that it can dent easily, does not hold fasteners well, and has a moderate expense.

Urethane foam sign with raised lettering

Urethane foam 3D carving

Polyethylene is a type of polymer plastic.  This material is known as Color Core manufactured by King Plastics.  It originally started out being used for marine applications in boats.  The Color Core material comes in up to 4' x 8' sheets and several different color combinations that you can see here.  I also have physical samples so that you can take a look at in person.  Polyethylene is extremely durable outdoors.  It is vandal resistant, can be pressure washed, inert to most chemicals, and requires zero maintenance.  The main disadvantages are its higher weight and expansion/contraction with temperature. 

Polyethylene - Color Core sign

Polyethylene - Color Core sign
  MDO stands for Medium Density Overlay.  MDO is a high grade of exterior plywood which comes "overlaid" with an extremely smooth and water resistant resin paper.  MDO can be purchased factory primed or factory painted in white.  The factory finishes are extremely high quality and save on labor time.   

Last updated:  01/16/2015