Sign Building

Greetings fellow small farm enthusiast.  Bootstrapping a small rural farm presents many challenges, such as building a sign and a farm stand.  We can learn from the authors of the Unix grep command that the fastest way to do work is to eliminate the work that needs to be done.  Therefore we combined the farm sign and farm stand into a single glorious entity.

Our initial goal was to build a farm sign that could be seen be from space but our local municipality has more specific ideas on allowable square footage and foot print.  After considering our logo, branding, marketing, three tab shingles, the golden ratio, and the sizes of standard construction lumber, we submitted a design that was unanimously approved by the town.

Construction began in earnest.  The initial step was to set posts 4 feet into the ground.  Attempts with post hold diggers and shovels were met with large rocks, and the farmers resorted to tractor-based excavation.  Complications involving a PTO driven auger arose, persisted, and were overcome.  40 bags of cement were poured.  Finally the two vertical support posts for the sign were in place.

The wood working for the sign was commissioned to the lowest bidder/sucker that was found just two states away.  An aspiring, upcoming, novice woodworker who’s strong suit was underestimating agreed to build the whole sign in 3 months, and in that time he delivered on more than half of the work.  The wood worker reports that he learned a lot about how to cut out letters using a bandsaw blade, how to change a broken bandsaw blade, how to use a jig saw in place of a bandsaw, what the minimum length of roofing nail is, and how to sort shingles by color.

One particularly challenging aspect of sign construction was how to mount a series of sign boards that indicate the products the farm currently has for sale such as eggs, honey, rabbit, and poison ivy.  A series of mounting solutions were explored, approximately 247 solutions in total including eye screws, vertical cables, clamp systems, tiny carabiners, turnbuckles, and a pneumatic stapler.  After the hired wood worker had carefully considered each solution for many hours and built multiple failed prototypes, he invited his only friend over, who studied the situation for 60 seconds and then arrived upon the correct solution.  So it was that the signs were mounted with a horizontal cable system using a remarkably simple tensioning system and some incredibly forgiving hooks and eye screws.

And so it was, the sign parts that were built 2 states away, shipped in a Honda fit, and left in a snow bank for a few days, came together to represent the farm for many years hence:

Last Updated on 2023-03-02

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