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I never worried about signing things like big kitchen installations or paneled libraries. But I always liked to sign pieces of furniture. When I was making a lot of chessboards, I always signed and dated them on the underside.

Pieces of furniture offer any number of places where one can sign the work without it showing on any critical surface. The bottom panel, the underside of a web frame, anywhere on an unfinished back – all common locations for makers to place their mark. Sometimes, the pieces are simply signed with pencil or "permanent" ink. Often there is a label attached with the maker's signature, date and other pertinent information.

I always liked the idea of marking pieces with a brand which would be much more permanent than any of the other options. But I never got around to getting a brand made. I did not like the standard "Handcrafted by…." brands that are readily available and I never took the time to inquire about custom made brands. But recently, I found myself in a situation in which I have to mark the bottoms of some turned pieces and there is very little room for signing. I decided a small brand would be just the ticket. So I had one made and since I have been using it, I wonder why I never had one made before. It's a great way to permanently mark pieces.

My custom brand was made by Sean at Buckeye Engraving ( and he did a beautiful job cutting my tiny logo into a small piece of brass. He can make virtually any design and his prices are very reasonable. If you have been thinking about having a brand made for marking your work, I cannot recommend this method (or source) highly enough.


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Staged payments

My agreements with clients always call for staged payments. There is a small deposit on signing. Then a larger deposit to total 50 percent once the design is finalized and drawings are completed. Then next payment is upon completion of all casework.