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Hand carved wooden signs by Erl
since 1976

The Redwoods, Forests & Environment ....And Roots

"The Art Of Life Is Balance"


The Redwoods (Sequoia Sempervirons & Sequoia Gigantia) are superior woods: they outperform / outgrow every tree and brush species in their ranges and make the very best wood signboards. I custom carve signs in Clear Heart Vertical Grain redwood. Redwood is one of the most stable woods known. Managed thoughtfully, Redwood forests are a sustainable resource.

Our Redwoods are NOT an endangered species.

No other commercial softwood, or any hardwood I know of, produced in North America takes and holds "paint" finishes better than Redwood. Red Cedar doesn't even come close. Because the best boards make the best signs, we Hand Select our boards from several sources, and are proud to offer Redwood Signs and Lettering second to no one else's - carved on one of the best outdoor woods in the sign business !!

Don't Be fooled. No matter the spin of some folks out there, Red Cedar wood (Thuja Plicata) is not a superior sign wood compared to either of the common redwood species. Please consider that flat grain cedar (or redwood) with knots is not a better sign substrate than clear heart vertical grain redwood without "knots"---Which is my wood. Look at my sign pictures very closely. Do you see any knots? How often will you find a tiny birdseye? They are rare on my boards. Bottom Line*: No way is a flat grain (or VG) cedar signboard with even tiny knots going to outperfom clear heart, vertical grain, redwood
.....* Doubt me? Compare cedar and redwood in the USDA Forest Service Wood Handbook
.....** Quote from my Mom: "You do everything the hard way."

Built To Last - Burien (Seattle) Washington


I carve by hand. CAD (computer aided design) programmed routing isn't always the best way. Think about this: the original plates for the U.S. bank notes in your pocket weren't engraved (....all that detail!) by machine. They are cut by practiced hand and eye.

So far, so good ....aye: me ....no docs---no meds---no "nerve damage". --Erl Syverstad

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The monument sign on the left was designed, built and installed by me in 1984. As of 8/7/2008, it is still in use. The main sign is made of premium VG redwood, incise carved (intaglio). The triangle was hand carved, 6 coat sealed, primed and sized, then surfaced with 23k European gold leaf. The main sign lettering is leafed also. The VG 2x4 redwood name plaques are sand (blasted) carved. The posts are creosoted timbers salvaged from the Lucille Sreet Bridge, Seattle. They are, in the least, 65 years old.

Incidentaklly, about a year after this project was completed, one guy left and a new sign was produced for the new guy. I did it on a perfect VG cedar board. matching the color perfectly. After a year, all the color "washed out".Point: on cedar, one may have to lay extra coats. My brother-in-law Had the same thing happen on his custom built, cedar sided house. It was stained 2 times. With redwood, one coat would have sufficed.

D@mn Barred Owls


The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling (The Spotted Owl Fiasco)

"First of all, how do we even know they're telling the truth about species being (threatened, endangered or) extinct? THEY LIED about the Spotted Owl." --Darren Weeks

"....Then, we overlay the Endangered Species Act ....that verification and time did not prove out. .... Heaven forbid, when they found that a Spotted Owl had put a nest in a (Nevada) K-Mart sign, the next thing we thought we were going to have to do was go out and put K-Mart signs up in the forest. ....But the whole system's reaction was 'We made a wrong assumption and we have done an awful lot of harm with this assumption.' " --Governor Otter (ID), NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES' NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REPORT

"The owl also may once again push the limits of what the Endangered Species Act really means in Northwest forests. It may turn out the act can't be much help to the owl, if it's basically being bullied out of its home by the barred owl." --Seattle Times, April 16, 2003

"In February 2003, after completing a 12-month review as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the California spotted owl, a native bird found in forests of the Sierra Nevada, the central coast range, and major mountain ranges of southern California, doesn't warrant ANY protection under the ESA."

"Due to overregulation which virtually stopped logging in Pacific forests, regulations which the Service (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) now claim were never needed to "save" the spotted owl, forest fires are soaring (see chart). What isn't logged by humans is now burned by Mother Nature. Amazingly, all these fires appear to have not bothered the birds one bit. They simply flew away when threatened, begging the question: If all this fire didn't burn the birds out, why was logging considered such a dire threat?" --Teresa Platt


My Father, Erling---b.1921 d.1990


One One Thousandth Syverstad

He is (still) first, a precision man. He turned down "supervisor", retiring as a long running lead jig builder for the Boeing Company. He was known in this craft as a unique one who could "read" thousandths between 100ths on a machinists scale. Skeptics with a micrometer, more often than not, proved him right.The aircraft and boats you and I fly and float on exist because of his eye to precision hand crafting and attention to detail.

Henry Ford I noted Jig Builders as the "Princes Of The Manufacturing World".*

My Father used to say,"the difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a little longer".

On the subject of lies, deceivers, misleaders (most of our politicians, et al!), ad men (and women)---ad infinitum: my father provided no quarter in his mind for them.

* From "FORD The Men and the Machine" by Robert Lacey


Un-finished Redwood Lattice / Fretting


Weathered Cedar, Redwood And Other Woods

Which is the un-colored / naturally aged redwood in this picture? Which is cedar or other woods? Which woods gray out faster, whether slightly sheltered or not? Note the high roof which overhangs the decking edge by 20 inches.

The rail cap is of red fir (Douglas Fir) which was stained with a semi-transparent sealer / stain. Top, middle and bottom rails are red fir that has never been sealed or stained. Gussets are red cedar, and once upon a time, colored to match the never colored or finished fretted redwood (5/16" x 2 1/2") lattice, below. The corner post is pressure treated with copper naphthalate. It has never been sealed nor stained. Note that it has weathered to a natural greenish gray.The floating baluster / stanchion is again, unfinished red fir. The decking is un-finished red cedar. Deck apron is again un-finished red cedar. Skirting is stained with Olympic "Cape Cod Gray"...

See how the less sheltered and horizontal surfaces weather to gray faster than the vertical? ....and that redwood tends to retain inherent colors longer, weathering to a reddish gray, while cedar and most other un-treated woods typically weather to gray shades of gray?


Un-finished Redwood Fretwork


Redwood Typically Weathers To A Very Nice Patina!

The other woods in this picture, as detailed above, have been variously colored, except the cedar steps and fretted "1 x 6" redwood. These boards were gang cut on a bandsaw, all five at once. Again, note how silver gray the cedar has become.



Un-finished Red Cedar


Red Cedar Sign And Screens

Look Ma ...no roof, no shelter and no redwood patina !!


Cedar vs. Redwood


A Redwood Sign Made In 1982!

The sign, the frame and the shingled goose in this picture have never been sealed, oiled nor stained. Can you tell which is redwood and which is cedar? These items have been weathering together since about 1986. They face east.

The background is red fir ("Doug" Fir) plywood siding which was sealed / oiled with redwood pigmented Behr #81 (discontinued).

Notice the cupping on the upper horizontal piece of the frame. Heck. If I had used even a mediocre second growth piece of redwood of a smaller dimension, this wouldn't have happened---something to do someday, puttering around! Fix it!


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Erl's Carved Signs
23520 41st Avenue East
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 847-2747

e-Mail: erl@SemperSigns.com


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