TPW TV–Sign of the Times

Willie Steinhauser

Willie Steinhauser showing off one of his signs.

This is Passport to Texas

Ask Willie Steinhauser, “what’s your sign?” and he’ll say: all of them. That’s because he makes the iconic wooden signs with yellow lettering you see at Texas state parks.

They go throughout the entire state park system, small or large, and I make them all.

From his workshop at Bastrop SP, Willie explains that the old-school method of hand carving signs has given way to new technology.

I just type in what that sign’s supposed to say; [I] save it on a drive [and] the machine actually comes across and carves out the pattern. It’s a printer if you want to use that comparison, but it has got a router bit. The machine basically just does all the work.

Occasionally, Willie receives unusual sign requests.

I had an order for a sign, it was two signs, actually, for Big Bend Ranch State Park. One side said simply, Nowhere. And the other sign that went with it said The Other Side of Nowhere. I assume these signs go out somewhere in the desert and they’re mounted on the same post opposite each other. So that’s probably the most unusual sign I’ve made.

Watch Willie in his workshop the week of July 28 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

It’s not a bad gig to have. I enjoy doing what I do, I like doing it.

We receive support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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