New Technology Revives Traditional Art of Sign Carving

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A revolutionary line of house signs from Clover Signs combines traditional hand carving with 21st century material, providing the durability the present demands while preserving ancient craftsmanship.

A revolutionary line of house signs from Clover Signs combines traditional hand carving with 21st century material, providing the durability the present demands while preserving ancient craftsmanship.

Through centuries, house signs have added a touch of class to the English home. Like many other crafts, however, sign carving struggles to keep pace in the modern competitive environment. Alongside the difficulty of finding skilled craftsmen is that of finding a suitable medium. Modern house signs must be both aesthetically pleasing and physically durable, a combination of qualities that is difficult to achieve using traditional materials.

Lettering and simple artwork can be chiselled in stone or cast in iron or brass, but the nature of these materials does not allow for intricate design and detailed use of colour. Finely carved or sculpted details require something softer. Traditionally, sign makers used wood for detailed sculpted signage. But wood warps and rots; paintwork quickly cracks and peels as the grain swells and shrinks with changes in temperature or moisture. Even with the best care, a wooden sign may only last a few years.

Recently, the use of High Density Urethane (HDU), a material originally developed for the manufacture of surfboards, has allowed sign makers to create a product that far outlasts its wooden counterparts. HDU can be machined, carved, and sculpted to achieve results that are as detailed and finely worked as wood signs while preventing weather-related damage to gilding and artwork. The material is completely weatherproof, so the signs do not decay or corrode and need no special care or maintenance.

Master Carver at Clover Signs, Harry Collins recently switched from wood to HDU, and is enthusiastic: 'The new material has changed everything about the way we work. It has completely eliminated the age-old problems of warping, splitting, and paint peeling. The products have guaranteed quality, and will never need varnishing.'

Although new in the UK, HDU has been in use for 20 years in the production of commercial signage in the USA. Clover Signs is the first UK company to make house signs using HDU, and the new products have been rapidly gaining popularity since their launch last year.

About Clover Signs:
Clover Signs is a house sign manufacturer based in London. Skilled craftsmen and artists carve, paint and gild each sign by hand. Every sign is unique, and can be ordered online from http://www.cloversigns.co.uk/ where a free design service allows customers to approve their sign or request modifications before any payment is made.

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Bernard Hibbs
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