Popular Science Monthly
��Some Short Guts to Hasten Work in Sign Painting
THE prime factor in getting out sign work is speed. The expert who is not speedy is not in it. His work may not be perfect, but this is not so much con- sidered if he can hustle it out. There is great competition in this art, or business, and I have known of one of the finest and oldest established shops going under be-
���Fig. 1. A scale sketch of letters to be made one foot or more in height from original
cause it could not attain the quick gait. Nor could it come down to doing such work as present day requirements demand. All this being true, it is surprising that so many will take the longest and most laborious way of doing certain kinds of sign work, that can be done in a far better way. Some think that the expert sign painter has merely to take a survey of the job before him and form in his mind's eye the whole lay-out, without bothering with calculations or measurements. It is doubt- ful if any sign painter now living could do this. It is perfectly proper to train the eye for this work, for that will enable the work- man often to do certain work without taking time to measure or lay it off ac- curately. A large portion of sign work is done in this way. But he should not rely too much upon the eye alone. For certain large sign work, the "scale sketch" is the thing. It enables one to get all the letters right as to form and space; otherwise there would be some trouble at the end of a line,
��Fig. 2. Dividing lines in which an enlarged layout can be made by measurement
say, where letters would either have to be cramped or extended.
Perhaps the most convenient scale is that of i in. to I ft., giving eight eighths of I in., thus representing I ft. or 12 in. In Fig. I is shown a 12-in. letter in this scale. With this scale you get the
��proper widths of both vertical and hori- zontal strokes, and this will be found a great advantage when the lettering is from 2 to 5 ft. in height.
The scale sketch is particularly useful when the sign work is high above the ground, and must be done from a scaffold or ladder; still more especially where the lettering takes a line so long that the swing stage must be moved once or more. Or when done from a ladder which must be moved several times. You simply take the sketch up with you, and set out the letters. Of course, the surface that is to be lettered must be measured and laid off in spaces the size the letters are to be when finished. Then it is simply a matter of reproducing the letters from the scale sketch to the wall. And with two or more copies, two or more painters can work on the letters, each with a certain part of the work to do. Or the workman may begin at the end, or in the middle, anywhere, sure that the work will be perfect.
This laying out of a sign at an altitude may be done where possible by counting the rows of bricks, four to the foot, or if there are no bricks, the width of the sign can be had by measuring along the base
���Fig. 3. Large elliptical curves may be drawn by angular lines, then jdrawn in freehand
of the building, this for making the scale sketch. The width may be laid off on the wall with the rule.
The illustration Fig. 2 is not drawn to a scale, but is intended to show, by its dividing lines, how a man working from a ladder could set out and paint in the letters as he goes along, always measuring from the last upright on the sketch. Get the dimensions as previously suggested, from the ground, etc. The upright lines serve as a guide and the lettering is fancy, not standard. This is a very easy and quick method of lettering, and gives a good appearing sign, too.
Large sweeps or elliptical curves are dif- ficult to form from ladder or stage. An easy way to form such sweeps, as they are called by the workmen, is shown in Fig. 3. The sketch explains itself very clearly.