Restoring Large Wood Sign for Bridgewater Pharmacy
LONG MAINTENANCE PERIOD
Restoring large wood sign faces can be challenging! It had been roughly twenty years since I had built the sign for Patrick O’Shea, owner of the Bridgewater Pharmacy, an independently owned and operated pharmacy located in Bridgewater, Virginia. Independently owned pharmacies are becoming rare just like independently owned anything these days, and it’s good to know that the Bridgewater Pharmacy is still out there doing its thing!
Back when I had originally made the sign, I owned Tree Street Signs in Crimora, where we manufactured many cedar and redwood signs of this type for businesses and organizations across a wide spread, even outside of Virginia. This particular sign was challenging because of its size.
We fabricated the large panel from 2″ X 8″ CAHVG (clear, all-heart, vertical-grain) redwood boards, first running each board through the table saw to “plane” the edges flat for laminating the edges with West System Epoxy. We had to use long pipe clamps to hold the panel together while the epoxy set. After the glue cured, we sanded both sides of the panel with a sanding disc attached to an electric drill motor, starting with coarse grit and finishing with fine.
Once the wood was prepared, we primed the panels with a quality latex primer and then painted the panel with a quality oil-based enamel, in this case, One-Shot Brand Bulletin Paint. After that dried well, we cut a rubber stencil on our plotter and applied to both faces of the panel for sand-blasting. After blasting, we stained the background with our own homemade oil stain (70% Penetrol Oil with 30% Bulletin Enamel). This homemade stain works well on exterior cedar and redwood signs and does not peel and flake over time like paints would tend to do.
After staining the open background, we let dry and then peel off the stencil and the sign is ready to go, after minor touch ups here and there. For the Bridgewater sign, we had long steel side irons manufactured at the welding shop and used these to pierce the posts on each sign and hold the panel in place. The side iron design allows for adjustments over time as the wood posts may move.
The sign was overdue for maintenance but was still intact and good for another twenty years after repainting, When restoring the sign, I sealed a few vertical gaps in the boards with Liquid Nail, sanded the old paint off the letters, re-stained both sides of the entire sign with homemade oil stain, then tediously re-primed and re-painted all the lettering, borders, side-irons, and posts. The finished job made it look like Patrick had a nice, new sign, even though it was in it’s third decade of service!
For more information about new or restored exterior wood signs in Virginia, contact Mark Hackley, owner of Augusta Sign Company: (540)943-9818, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.