Signs of the Times - October 2015 - 64

Sealing the Deal

Art Sign Works (Murrieta, CA)
began as Paul Williamson's garage
enterprise in neighboring Fallbrook;
two years later, business had grown
such that he moved into his current, 11-person, 7,500-sq.-ft shop.
Christie Valenzuela, his daughter
and the shop's lead salesperson,
said HDU signage and metal-coated
plaques represent approximately
80% of the shop's business, which
sells to both wholesale and retail
clients, with most being garnered
through the shop's website.
For most past work, Art Sign
Works used 15-lb. Coastal Enterprises' PrecisionBoard HDU, but
it's recently upgraded to 20-and
30-lb. material. The shop typically
fortifies its single-sided, 1.5-in.thick and double-sided, 2-in.-thick
signs by installing flat-bar, metal
frames around the perimeter, or
steel-tube backing for larger jobs.
For wall-mounted signs, the shop
installs L-brackets or Z-clips.
Art Sign Works begins by carving
signs on its ShopBot 5 x 10-ft. CNC
router with Alpha HSD spindles
that range from 1/16 to 1¾ in. thick,
a V-shaped, double-flute-plunger
and ball-nose bits. After fabricators
rout the faces, they impart more
detail by sandblasting with 60-80grit aluminum oxide at 120psi;
with metal-coated faces, they raise
the grit and lower the blasting psi.
As the featured sign attests,
Art Sign Works frequently works
directly with government organizations for HDU-sign and wallplaque projects. Valenzuela said,
"We enjoy working with various
government agencies, and value
their business, but they present
issues commercial businesses
don't. We often encounter cashflow issues with government contracts. We aren't paid up front, and
contracting offers often demand
that all specs be met on a contract that could be a 50-page document. We also sometimes have to
pay bid and performance bonds in
advance, and have to write detailed
technical, management and cost
Despite government work's hurdles, she said it's grown to encompass up to 40% of their business.
64 SIGNS OF THE TIMES October 2015


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Signs of the Times - October 2015