The Ben Lomond Fire Department will soon have a fresh look, in the form of a beautiful new sign created by volunteer firefighters and local businesses.
It all started when Firefighter Matt Boynton and others were cleaning up the front lawn of the department. Pausing for a moment, Boynton leaned against the existing sign and “almost completely knocked it over.”
Just a few days before, Boynton had been milling lumber with a friend, and as he attempted to repair the falling sign, he had an idea.
Why not build a new sign for the station?
“We talked to the Chief about it, and just ran with the idea,” Boynton said. “We got the slab of wood, started to plan out the sign, and then got working on it.”
But the slab isn’t just some random piece of wood. It’s an approximately 9-foot by 2 ½-foot solid piece of redwood heartwood that was felled right here in the San Lorenzo Valley. Isaac Hatch of Hatch’s Milling cut the tree, milled it, and donated the slab to BLFD.
The plain slab of redwood was then further processed by Litefoot Cabinetry in Watsonville, using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. The CNC machine used tools to “carve” the slab, creating indentations for the overall design.
In an effort to make the sign really stand out, Boynton and fellow Firefighter Hunter Anderson came up with a unique idea.
“If you look at our station insignia, you can see the axes in it,” said Boynton, who volunteered his time to hand paint the sign over the course of 2 days, for a total of about 16 hours. “We thought putting real axes into the sign would just look cool and give it a more 3D look.”
Work on the sign was put on hold during the summer when Boynton and Anderson were busy helping fight California wildfires.
“When summer came around, we both got pretty busy and it kind of fell to the wayside,” Boynton said. But once summer settled down, they returned to the sign.
When everyone was pleased with the final look, the sign was sealed. A frame was welded to strengthen the piece of wood, and it will be installed in the near future.