Ray Card Makes American Flag Signs

Ray Card has been a carpenter for 47 years. A proficient woodworker from Sag Harbor, he has carried out everything from doing work on a 14,000-sq.-foot house to compact work, from $30,000 cabinetry projects to repair service do the job.

None has been more significant to each him and his customers than his most latest endeavor producing handcrafted American flags that not only serve as a patriotic image to display screen, but fork out homage to people’s company.

“This whole thing started two many years in the past,” Card points out just one Saturday afternoon in his property store. “It was a shock two yrs ago when I had like a few work going, I experienced two fellas operating with me and all of a sudden people connect with me up and claimed, ‘You cannot work right here no more’ simply because of the pandemic.”

He was still left with the issue a lot of people were being inquiring as the COVID-19 shutdown began, “Now what am I likely to do?”

He speedily located a little something to keep his techniques sharp.

In his Sag Harbor shop, various of Card’s hand-manufactured models are on showJustin Meinken

“I was seeking on line a person working day and I observed a detail on YouTube about creating these wood flags. I claimed, ‘Well, hell, I can make ‘em!’ So I started out with a single or two and I did a fireplace section brand on them, and men in my section here in Sag Harbor, they scooped them suitable up.”

Thanks to social media and sharing images with his mates, he recognized there was a desire, not just for the attractive items, but for high-top quality work.

Ray’s Flags are created of pine, not plywood or fence submit like a lot of homemade flags that can be viewed close to the world-wide-web. “Some guys just make shit and sell ‘em,” he claims with a snicker.

Requests have been pouring in for the flags, normally 38 inches large by 19-and-a-50 % inches tall. He’s designed them with police office logos, with specific badges, and with the slender blue line symbolizing law enforcement support. For firefighters, there are flags with the slender pink line. He’s experienced distinctive get requests for flags with East Conclude department patches, which are all hand-painted onto the flag.

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Card puts the finishing touches on a fire section patch he painted on to a indicator.Justin Meinken

For his niece in North Carolina who is a nurse, he made a person with the caduceus medical image. A different niece is a dispatcher in Southold Town and he made her 1 with a headset.

He’s even done mixture styles with a half flag every single for two countries. For instance, soon after Russia started the war with Ukraine, he designed one with the American and Ukrainian flags and the text, “Pray for the persons of Ukraine.”

“Next matter I knew I was performing like 50 of ‘em, so I claimed, ‘Let me develop this.’ So that is when I started off generating like these coat racks,” he states pointing to a piece of pine painted with an American flag and hooks for hanging.

Also in Card’s repertoire are crosses and holders for problem cash, which are carried by an organization’s members bearing their insignia or emblem.

It commenced out as “a way to keep chaotic and to make a handful of bucks” during COVID. Soon after his daughter produced him a shirt for Xmas that says, “Ray’s Flags,” company playing cards then followed, a Fb website page called Ray’s Flags, and now it is a organization. But it is not so substantially a income-generating endeavor as a labor of love. He suggests it’s something with goal.

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Cutting strips of pineTaylor K. Vecsey

“I’ve performed it at each and every branch of the provider,” Card suggests. Requests have integrated placing the Navy SEALs’ Particular Warfare insignia — an eagle clutching a U.S. Navy anchor, trident, and flintlock-fashion pistol — and the Marine Corps emblem – the eagle, globe, and anchor — on the flag. Some merchandise have even been carried out in gold leaf.

He’s also made flags in honor of New York Metropolis police officers killed in the line of duty.

Card has constantly felt strongly about the flag. “I’m a fanatic for flags,” he suggests.

A previous sergeant in the Maritime Corps and a 40-calendar year member of the Sag Harbor Fire Division, services is crucial to him and the flag is the greatest image.

As a Vietnam veteran who served four decades, “I’ve buried a whole lot of fellas. I’ve folded a ton of flags,” he says.

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Some of Card’s operate on show including a Maritime Corps’ motivated flag, as he served four decadesTaylor K. Vecsey

Next the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults, “I spent three months down at the Trade Center immediately after the towers went down.” He says he was one of 4 volunteers who acquired to stand on the ramp in the course of the closing ceremonies and he carried one of 343 flags (just one for each of the firefighters killed).

“I made use of to carry around 20 flags in my truck, I utilised to get ‘em from the lumber yard. They ended up like 12 bucks a piece,” he recalls. If he saw a tattered American flag traveling, he would replace it and present to just take the worn-out one particular to the American Legion, where by they are disposed of appropriately in a flag-burning ceremony.

Questioned what the flag implies to him, he says merely: “God. Place. Liberty.”

“I just often had a thing for the American flag. I indicate, there is very little additional attractive. Observing the American flag flying,” he proceeds.

“I’ve gotten grief on the net from different people stating, ‘You desecrate the flag’,” states Card, but he is familiar with the protocols all far too nicely. “No, I’m not. That is a facsimile of a flag. A flag is a cloth item which is made. That is the distinction,” he points out.”

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Card performing on the starting levels of an American flag indication.Taylor K. Vecsey

Various of the flags he’s created have been in honor of New York Town firemen who have died of 9/11-connected health problems, like Ray Pfeifer who fought for health care positive aspects for individuals who survived the terrorist attacks and expended time digging for survivors and bodies. In 2017, he died from troubles of cancers.

The procedure of building the flag indications commences with a 1-by-12-foot piece of pine that he buys from Riverhead Building Source and then cuts into inch-and-a-50 percent-wide strips with a desk observed. “I’ll rip up 13 pieces of pine and this is my jig,” he says, demonstrating his setup. “And then I’ll just stack them all.”

He reorganizes the stack on his desk and points to a knot on 1 of the parts of wooden. “When you have a knot, you make that arrive up in the union (section) because which is gonna be darkish blue, you won’t even see it,” he clarifies.

He makes use of a wedge to keep the 13 pieces together though he attaches them with wooden throughout the back. Subsequent arrives the sanding to sleek the wooden.

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Two illustrations of his workTaylor K. Vecsey

After the Outdated Glory Blue paint is used in the union, he puts on the first coat of sealer. Then it’s ready for the 50 white stars in the canton on the higher remaining, completed with a stencil. If there is any lettering or writing on the particular flag indication he is performing on, he’ll do that up coming.

While Outdated Glory is, of program, crimson, white and blue, handful of of his styles have white on the stripes “because every person likes the much more normal glance, as an alternative of getting a bright white.” He takes a torch to the wood to give it a rustic appear.

It usually takes him 4 to 5 several hours each individual to complete a normal flag.

He applies 4 coats of exterior h2o-dependent polyurethane. “They’ll very last,” he states. “They hold up. You could depart them outside in the weather. Nothing’s gonna materialize to them.”

It does not truly feel like operate to him. “This is therapy. It retains the head likely.”

“Everybody states that, you know, it is artwork. No, it is not. It’s the flag!” Card states.

Does he take into account himself a craftsman?

“I never know. I would say I’m a good woodworker. Craftsman is a significant phrase. Now you could choose a craftsman — he could develop that table 25 occasions that’d be particularly the exact same. Every time, the end seems superior and every thing else. A superior woodworker could do the same point, but he can make that more, 10 other variations of that.”

“I take pleasure in what I do. I indicate, that’s the other change. You have to like what you are doing. A lot of guys go to perform just about every day, but it is just a occupation, right? I do not. I have never ever finished that.”

This short article appeared in the July 2022 version of Driving The Hedges. Read the entire electronic edition right here. For earlier Master Craftsman columns, simply click right here. Have a Learn Craftsman to propose? E-mail [email protected]

Ray Card, American flags, Signs
Card puts the finishing touches on 1 of his most recent functions.Justin Meinken


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