CB Kearney

CB Kearney

A Good Sign


Tacko Restaurant, San Francisco

It is always fun when I get a chance to make something special for a friend.


Nick tending bar at one of his restaurants, Underdogs.

A while back my childhood friend, my brother from another mother (We were born on the same day, same year.) Nick Fasanella called me to make a few things for his latest restaurant venture, Tacko. Tacko is a combination of Nick’s interest in boating and his love of tacos. Nick wanted a traditional boat name board for his latest taqueria’s sign, some New England style shutters and some other carved signs for the restaurant’s interior.

Since the sign and the shutters were going to be out in all kinds of San Francisco weather, I decided to Spanish cedar. Spanish cedar is also great for carving. The sign is nine feet long and fifteen inches tall, so I needed to glue up and rip the sign blank.


Preparing the sign blank


After the blank was prepared, I printed out some full size letters and used spray adhesive to attach them in just the right spot. Since the sign was going to be painted black, I used some black spray paint to create the negative of the letters. I don’t always take this step. Often I just freehand the lettering but these letters are so tall I took this extra step to speed up the process.


Layout of the sign


In the photo above you can see a printed out letter C and the beginning of the center line layout of letters.

Next, I began carving out the letters. The letters are so tall and the carving ended up so deep that I could not carve it with a single pass. I started with a v-tool to get the basic shape and then switched to a straight chisel to widen and deepen the v-groove in the letters.


Carving mid-stream (Notice the small “compost” sign I also carved)



Shot of the finished sign

After the letter carving was done I carved some traditional name board ends, painted it semi-gloss black, added the gold leaf paint and sourced some invisible french cleat sign brackets from the great vendor Hook & Lattice.

And a few shots of the sign up at Tacko.


Be sure to visit Tacko when you are in San Francisco or Nick’s other spot, The Taco Shop at Underdogs for some of the best tasting tacos that this East Coast gringo has ever had.