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J&S Pendred

Man signwriting a canal boat by hand The result of signwriting on a canal boat
Do you use special paint? What makes that paint effective?

I use One Shot Signwriting Enamel. It’s an American, quality product which flows nicely, giving an even coverage. The drying time is good too.

In my experience, these things matter. They all help to make my craft easier. I’ve been running the business, and signwriting, with my brother, Andy, for more than 26 years now so I have tried and tested lots of different signwriting products.

What, would you say, has been your most unusual signwriting job?

I think laying on my back signwriting upside down. The job involved letters and numbers and all this was done under an aeroplane wing.

What are the most important qualities you need to be a traditional signwriter?

A good eye for overall design is absolutely necessary. You also need to be able to work in extreme temperatures – I have worked in some very hot and some particularly cold conditions. Vision is paramount; it’s vital that you are able to turn customers’ ideas into reality. And, of course, last but not least, you need plenty of patience!

“To anyone thinking of becoming a traditional signwriter, my advice is to keep smiling, every time on every job, when a passer-by calls out: "You spelt it wrong." You always look back at your work – just in case – it does happen!”

Slideshow CK