Sign Restoration part 1

About a month and a half back, I was asked to help restore an old sign frame from a historic building undergoing renovation. It’s a decent sized piece. I’ll do a few photo-posts about the process of restoring it.

Here’s a (very poor) photo of the whole thing — almost 4′ wide and 8.5′ tall.

It looked like it could have some issues, with rust and damage to the lamp brackets.

You can see serious rotting in the bottom post

The cap for the post had some rust issues

When we talked about the project, we were pretty sure the lamps were retrofit — the wire was cloth-taped to the frame and painted over many times. The brackets were bent and in need of replacement. We decided I would re-forge them out of thicker material, keeping the same shape so to keep the historical accuracy. (This leads me down the whole path of thought about what’s important to save and celebrate, versus things that are clearly not durable, but that’s a subject for a different post.) There was a question about when the retrofit happened. When I pulled off the wiring, I discovered it was not plastic wrapped wire as I’d originally believed, but cloth wrapped copper in lead conduit. How exciting! It placed the lighting at easily 70 years old.

It’s getting sandblasted, repaired, and the bracket replaced. Following that, I’m going to have it hot-dipped in zinc, for weather protection. I’ll replace all the hardware that needs replacing, and then paint it with a nice strong outdoor paint.

The next update in this series will be about sandblasting, the new lamp bracket, and what happens after that!

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