I first came up with three various approaches to replicating the DFH American logo in wood at 2 foot by 14 inches. The first approach being a silk screen on flat wood. The second to personally hand rout each one. Or, third, to have a CNC computerized machine cut them out in which I would only have to paint them after they were cut.
We ended up going with the second option which was what I was hoping for because I knew it would look/feel the best as well as be a challenge of my skills. When doing production runs of any type you have to become mechanical and methodical in your approach to the project, trying to make all as similar as possible.
I had only one shot on each sign to be as perfect as can be. To try to achieve clean crisp stars my arms had to lock and move in an almost robotic fashion to control the torque of router from wanting to run and pull across the wood.
I had basically two mountains in front of me every night. The stack of wood that hadn't been routed yet and the routed stack. It's always a great moment when the done pile becomes larger than the "to-do" pile.
I tried a bunch of different techniques but the fastest and most effective way was a throw back to childhood. I applied the paint to each star with my index finger. So 50 stars times 50 signs times 3 applications of various whites equaled 7,500 finger painted stars. Needless to say my finger was pretty sore for many days to follow.
After the white was done I painted the stripes with 3 shades of red. Then sanded through creating a distressed look. Each sign was unique to itself in the way the distressing looked and truly loved each one.
I then aged the white paint with transparent coats of greys to add to the rustic feel. I used a gouge making slight indentations in the blue background as well as going back to the riffler rasp to distress the background more. After a final sand/clean-up they were clearcoated with a matte finish.
I can not say enough for the people at Dogfish Head for letting me be involved in such projects. There is a reason why their beer/product is amazing. It's the care for quality and appreciation/love for craft.