Yearly Rant

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Topics include: Sign Making, Design, Fabrication, Letterheads, Sign Books.

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Mike Jackson
Site Admin
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:02 pm
Location: Jackson Hole, WY

Yearly Rant

Post by Mike Jackson » Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:38 am

Normally, I ask the Denver Chapter of the Letterheads for their support for this site. I haven't asked this year. After asking people to write SignMaking 101 Posts, and then doing about a dozen on my own, we only ever got a few more. After that, I have been stubbornly silent, (and also busy with other projects) just to see if the Forum would support itself without me spearheading almost all posts and topics. Apparently not. Only a few close friends have carried on.

I know quite a few people pat me on the back in various replies for the hard work and effort, but personally I rather see them spend the time to make a new thread sharing their information. I believe this site is a great resource, but I have plenty other things to do if others do not feel like participating.

Here are a few options:
A: Go ahead and pay for the site and just let it limp along, answering posts as a few stragglers ask them.

B: Close down the Forum, leaving only the base site.

C: Pass the software and site info to another person with more time and fresh energy.
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
Vintage Ornamental Clip art
Jackson Hole, WY

Photography site:
Teton Images
Jackson Hole photography blog:
Best of the Tetons

Billy Pickett
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:59 am

Post by Billy Pickett » Sun Sep 26, 2004 1:35 pm

...Even if new threads are too few, those three options all seem bad. Unless people start posting on more OFF TOPIC subjects the forum may be quiet sometimes. The pertinence of the things posted here are what make it so unique.

...I wish I could (personally) think of new, sign related threads to add every week but I can't.

...Mike you have done a great job trying to maintain momentum on the forum. I can see why you are tiring of trying, but I appreciate your work. If the forum has to die (eventually) I'll miss it and the vital information contributed by the talented and smart people who add to it.

Roger R.
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:06 pm
Location: Bessemer City, NC 28016

Post by Roger R. » Sun Sep 26, 2004 2:03 pm

Mike. I don't blame your rant. I made one reply to a post about train car lettering. My reply had to do with metal stencils Southern Railway made by hand that was used for all the lettering used on their trains. I guess I didn't understand the post. I thought someone might be interested in the process used by the railway to make these stencils but I was wrong.
I check this site about every night and think it could be a great place for information, especially for those that are interested in doing things by hand. Seems like this type of info don't matter anymore.
I sure would hate to see this site and you leave. Keep it up and hang in there!

Roger R.

Jill Marie Welsh
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 9:40 am
Location: Butler, PA USA

Post by Jill Marie Welsh » Sun Sep 26, 2004 4:19 pm

Mike I hope those three options are not the only choices.
I don't post that much here because even after 19 years of making signs,
I feel woefully inadequate to give advice on the types of signs done by
most of the regulars here. They are way out of my realm.
I tried to start a few topics, I tried to add to others.
I get a lot of flack about posting so much on Letterville.
Therefore I have tried to behave myself and stay on-topic in this forum.
I'm not sure exactly what IS off-topic...pricing?
The day-to-day drivel of dealing with clients who only want vynull on coro?
I'd like to post info about my upcoming meet, but was never sure if that was OK either.
This forum has a lot of potential.
But to me, it is kinda how I felt when I attended my first meet in 1994,
I want to pitch in and paint, but I am so intimidated by the sheer talent.
I would say more, but I'm afraid of coming off like a know-it-all.
I love making signs. I love learning the hows and whys.
I'd hate to see this forum close.

Brian the Brush UK
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2004 2:19 pm
Location: Yorkshire, England, UK

Post by Brian the Brush UK » Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:00 pm

Hi Mike,
I have not been registered with your web site very long and always find it to be very informative and helpful, the sharing of signwriting knowledge around the world can only be a good thing for the traditional signwriters who visit here, and the trade, I never get the chance to ' talk paint ' with many other signwriters as we are few and far between in the UK.
We must all stay positive ! !

With a stroke more imagination.

Jeff Umsted
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:55 pm
Location: Lapeer Mi.

Post by Jeff Umsted » Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:25 pm

Mike, I share many of the same thoughts that Jillbeans shared earlier. Feelings of being "woefully inadequate" to give advise and "intimidated by the sheer talent" here on this site.

I don't even have the honor of saying that I am a sign painter by trade or a glass artisan. I started a year and half ago on a journey that has lead me here to the masters of both trades. What started out being mischief in the garage has turned into something that I can honestly say I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. If I ever get paid for a job, great, but if this only remains a hobby then that is great too.

I am standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest, looking up, saying "This is one big hill!" But one step at a time I am making it to the top and it is great to get a push from here and letterville. A year and half ago I knew nothing about the things here, gold leaf, hand lettering, glue chipping, silvering, airbrushing, layout, design, etc I have done all of the above at least once, heck even broke my first masterpiece!:lol: I have come a long way from the bottom and I owe most of it to the people here and letterville. So for this, I thank everyone here, and especially you Mike, for keeping a place like this open for the newbies like me to come be inspired and move forward to my goals.

I don't post much and when I do it's usually a how to question or clarification on a process. I feel bad always asking for help and feel worse not being able to offer much advise to other that seek info. I will always toss in my $.02 worth if I think it can help the individual. I don't know what else to say Mike, do what you need to do, and there will be no hard feeling from me. I can only be thankful for the time that I spend here and look forward to meeting you and the others someday.

Jeff Umsted
Jeff Umsted
Lapeer, Michigan

Ralph Thorne
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:09 pm

Post by Ralph Thorne » Sun Sep 26, 2004 8:47 pm


As Jill said, I too feel "woefully inadequate" in posting replies. I read the forum every couple of days and am indebted to all of the people posting
this great information. Thanks to all of you!


Robare M. Novou
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 11:18 am
Location: Milwaukee

Post this!

Post by Robare M. Novou » Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:55 pm

I have been posting! Where are the posts I make going?

Does anyone else have this problem?


Robare M. Novou
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 11:18 am
Location: Milwaukee

Post This Two!

Post by Robare M. Novou » Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:59 pm

Well finally a post gets through! And wouldn't you know it, its the one where I sound upset. Thats right, the nice long informative ones end up in cyber space, and the short angry ones end up on the site.

This site must have a mind of its own.

RMN :x

Mike Jackson
Site Admin
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:02 pm
Location: Jackson Hole, WY

Post by Mike Jackson » Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:28 pm

Hi again,
Last week, John Yarnell made a post. The forum sat for most of a week without a single post or response. Not too long ago, I posted a couple of scenery photos, with an introductory statement that read something like "With the apparent lack of anything to talk about...."

I am just airing out a bit of frustration. I have made an attempt to make this forum the most informative one around...not necessarily the busiest, but the most focused. I can live with a few lulls, but after I spent the time to make a bunch of Signmaking 101 posts and then pleaded with the rest to continue them, not many responded. I created a long list of ideas that popped into my head one afternoon just to spur additional posts. The Catch-22 post go read a bunch, so I know people had a chance to see the list.

Here it is again:
Paint additives
Sharpening router bits
Chisels and sharpening tools
Table saws and other power tools
Wood panel lamination
Wood glues and clamps
Wood finishes
Sign Hangers, straps, hooks, etc.
Wood Carving
Wall dogging
Ladders, scaffolds, walkboards, ladder jacks, etc
Glass etching, gilding, chipping, etc.
Pen and ink tools
Interesting magazines
Faux finishes (marble, granite, wood)
Woodworking jigs
Nifty, time saving tools
Marketing tools and techniques
General tips and time savers
Screen printing for small shops
HDU techniques, paints, primers, finishes
HDU carving and milling
Calligraphy techniques, tools, supplies

Besides all the veteran sign people here, there has to be something in that list that even the most entry level sign maker could talk about. I mean..."Interesting Magazines". How about interesting sites?

You could even tell slightly embarrassing stories like this one I heard a long time ago: The guy said he drove 125 miles to put up a sign. He should have known better but he used the key to the ignition of the truck to open a can of paint. Of course, it broke off. Moral: Use another key when away from the shop, or have an extra key.

You don't have to be an award winning sign maker to make a post that others can learn from. Maybe others put this forum on an unreasonably high pedestal?

I don't have the time and energy anymore to keep pushing new posts onto this board. I don't mind posting at all, but I have felt a pressure to keep posts coming in one after another. There are people here that have been painting longer than me and paint more than me. Where are their tips and tricks?

I've even suggested that other people crack open their old Atkinson books and pull out any paragraph that has interesting information and techniques to discuss. A total newbie can do this! There are hundreds of books on the sign trade. Seems there would be thousands and thousands of little buried gems of information just waiting to find a new audience.

I asked Danny Baronian to do the step by steps on Doming. He knew more about it than me and had done quite a bit or research to bypass some of the expensive kits being sold. He spent a lot of time and money buying the variety of epoxies and then spent a lot of time and energy shooting the photos and making the posts. Hooray for Danny. I never expected everyone to tackle a project like that, but I would hope everyone here has something to offer...on some level. Also, special thanks to Larry White! He's done more than his fair share of posts showing step by steps and jobs in progress.

I have mixed feelings about this forum. I am proud of it and I want to see it do well. At the same time, I often feel like shutting up and let the forum survive on it's own without me spearheading it. If there are not enough responses to make it even slightly worthwhile, I'd just as soon shut it down and move on. I costs roughly $300 per year for the main site ( and another $100 per year for the Forum. ( I paid for the yearly Internic registration for another year a few months ago. The storage fee for the main site is a monthly fee and the Forum will come up for renewal in April. It will remain up and going until then, and we'll have to decide then whether to renew the service. The "rant" has absolutely nothing to do with the money—only the effort.

Believe me, I did not like making the post, but it needed to be said. Thanks to all who have offered encouraging words. I am not the kind of person who really needs to hear them. I'd prefer to see informative posts!

Mike Jackson: Administrator
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
Vintage Ornamental Clip art
Jackson Hole, WY

Photography site:
Teton Images
Jackson Hole photography blog:
Best of the Tetons

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