Decorative Sign Bracket Retrospective

The following images, in a chronological format, show some of the decorative sign brackets I have made over the years.
All are hand-forged, with the exception of the “Toldt Woods” sign, and parts of the “Carroll College” archway.
The image below of the “Faces II” bracket was not only my first sign bracket, but my very first commission. Believe it or not, I made this piece for $250.00 back in 1991, before I was a full-time smith.

The above bracket, as well as the bracket below were both inspired by “Catalogue of Drawings for Wrought Ironwork” by CoSira. The “United Methodist Church” bracket was one of my first commissions back in 1993 as a full-time smith.

The “Toldt Woods” sign is largely fabricated (cut and MIG welded), and the letters are laser cut. The image shows off a wonderful shadow.

The “Delivery” sign and bracket was all forged, with many forge welds (also known as fire welds, or traditional welding without electricity.) The letters are laser cut. It was made for the largest home in Wisconsin. Located in Ellison Bay, the home boasts 32,000 sq.ft. This piece dates back to 1995.

The “Carroll College” archway was commissioned in 1998. The archway itself was bent hot by utilizing bending forks. Because of its size, I chose to MIG weld the arch together, rather than forge welding, which would have been difficult, and clumsy in a one-man shop. The letters that spell out the name were laser cut, however the “1846” and other details in the 14- gauge sheet were pierced by hand using small chisels. All the other details were hand-forged. The span from pier to pier is fifteen feet.

As Carroll College was originally a Christian based college, there are several symbols reflecting this heritage, such as the small “trefoil” (Trinity of God), and the “eternal flame” (God’s all encompassing glory and grace.)
The “ANABA” sign was purposely simple, with an oval scroll. The sign itself is also metal. Do not get “ANABA” confused with “ABANA”. Anaba is a tea-room, while ABANA is a blacksmith association (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America.)

My latest bracket, made in January of 2008, is this piece for “Sam Meyer.” This bracket is also entirely forged, with half-laps where the scrolls intersect.
Sign Sam Meyer sign B+WNote: When designing sign brackets, one should always check the local codes beforehand. Many municipalities require wind restraints (also known as swing restraints) for the sign itself, usually required for cantilever style signs. (See the “ANABA” bracket above.) Others have projection and height restrictions, as well as design restrictions. Often, the design must be submitted to a town, village or city review board for approval, along with specifics on the materials and dimensions.
…….Dan Nauman
“A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.”…..Fats Domino, Singer.

3 comments to “Decorative Sign Bracket Retrospective”

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  1. VK Cheshier - October 21, 2009 Reply

    Hello Dan,
    Thanks for the invite to this blog. I’ve been fascinated on signs that look more like artwork. When Pat Nowak sent me images from a trip to Italy (one photo was of a scaled-model ship with sails, made of copper and its base and “rope” bracket, made of iron), I realized that signs are more than sources of info…rather they are beacons, if you will, hailing the individuals to learn more of who they represent. Not only the recipient of the sign, but the one who created it as well.
    Thanks again,

  2. Dan Klare - March 19, 2010 Reply

    I am looking for a neat sign bracket for our house side entrance porch. Wouold like to know if you coould make another one like your Anaba Tea Room sign?
    Please advise.
    Thank you
    Dan Klare
    Cincinnati, OH

    • bighornforge - March 22, 2010 Reply

      Hello Dan,
      I would be interested in making a bracket for you. You may contact me at (262) 626-2208, or e-mail me at so we can discuss specifics, i.e. size and shape of sign, size of bracket, style, color(s), budget, etc.
      ……Dan Nauman

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