Sunday, December 2, 2018

Book of Shadows Signage v3.0 (part 4)

Well, it's been a year and a half since the last post about the new sign for the store, and over two years since I started making it, but the new sign has finally been installed at the store. Thanksgiving morning, 5am, I woke up and decided, "Today is the day"- and Voilà!

I already posted about the making of the main sign, and the making of the fretwork accent pieces, so here I will just post about the installation and give you a few pics of the finished sign in situ.

Before I could install the sign, I had to re-face the marquee with some new plywood, as the old T1-11 was badly rotted. Ideally I should have ripped down the rotted T1-11 and replaced it, but with the building in as bad of shape as it is, I thought it better to just leave it and sheath over it with some fresh plywood.

Each piece of plywood was pre-cut (5ft tall) and pre-painted before going up on the marquee. They were given three coats of brown exterior house paint, on both sides, and I even used some paintable siliconized acrylic caulking around the edges of each board after the second coat. Hopefully, this will help keep water from deteriorating the plywood prematurely. Each panel was lifted up by hand, with the help of a ground man, and screwed to the marquee face with a prodigious amount of screws. I got as many as I could into the studs, and then just peppered the rest with screws, hoping I would hit something solid underneath. The last panel, on the right side in the picture, was about 2.5 inches too wide. But I was not about to take it down, trim it, reseal and repaint the cut edge and put it back up. It was a HUGE effort to get those panels in place. I am afraid of heights, so working on the porch roof was very difficult and stressful. It can just hang over the right edge by a couple of inches. No one will care. Most people won't even notice.

Raising the panels in place and securing them was easy compared to the sign itself. The main sign is a full sheet of plywood, plus the weight of all the lettering attached to it. My ground man (Delvin is his name) and I muscled the sign up onto the porch roof and let it rest on some 2x4 blocks nailed to the porch roof, while I climbed back up onto the roof and then man-handled it up the rest of the way from there. It was a Herculean task, but by some miracle, I got it up there and rested the bottom edge on a pair of screws that were set into the marquee at the correct height for the bottom edge of the sign (this screw-ledge trick is also how I put the panels in place). After the sign was nudged into its final position, and a couple of screws driven in to secure it, I could remove the ledge-screws. Since the sign was being screwed into the fresh plywood facing, it didn't really matter if the screws went into the studs, but I tried to get some in the studs anyway.
That damned backwards "a" still haunts me.
So that was one day's work, just getting the panels and main sign up. Then I had to wait a few days for good weather until I could finish adding the decorative pieces that flank the sign.

Before I could hang the fretwork pieces, I had to fabricate some brackets for them. I didn't want to drill through the copper facing (or even through the wood) so I cut some pieces of steel and drilled and countersunk holes for screws. I screwed the brackets onto the fret pieces from the back side, and then through the front side I could drive the screws in to attach it to the building. I painted the brackets brown so that they would blend in with the marquee and become invisible.

On the second day of hanging, I was all alone with no ground man. Luckily, the pieces I had to hang were much smaller and lighter. I just took my time and walked them up the ladder one piece at a time. I did have to get up and down the ladder a few times to make sure the fret pieces were straight. It's very hard to tell if something looks straight from up close like that, and measurements can only get you so far.

Only one last thing to hang- the 30" tall brass carriage lights. I bought these things from a flea market about eight years ago. I paid $1. For the pair. Seriously, one dollar. The finish was a bit worn and there was a little corrosion, but I cleaned them up as best as I could (without exerting too much effort) with some polishing compound. I tested that they worked before hanging them, but I'm not sure if I will be able to wire them up. In any event they needed some kind of bracket as well, since they will not be mounted to a gang box like they were designed to be.

The bracket I came up with was a little hacked together, but I was under a time crunch. They were made from 3/4" oak recycled shelving material. I designed them to have a hole in the back for the wires to poke through. Then, when I got them up on the roof, I drilled a 1" hole through the marquee for the wires to feed through. The plan is to wire them from the inside of the building after they are hung. This I can do any time and in any weather. Or not at all, if I never get around to it.  In any event, the mounting bracket now gave me something to screw to the plywood on the marquee.

And that's just about it. For now anyway. There are two more details to be taken care of, but I wasn't going to delay this post any longer. I need to install some flashing along the top edge of the marquee to serve as a drip edge. There used to be some roll roofing that hung over it (you can still see remnants of it in the pics) but it had to be ripped down to put up the panels (and it was rotted). I bought some brown aluminum gutter that I plan to re-bend and hang upside-down over the front edge to serve as a flashing (and no, I don't plan on making another post just for that little finishing detail). And the other thing is to wire the lights (assuming that ever happens).

So, two and a half years in the making, and it is finally finished (90%, anyway). And I do like the way it looks. Hopefully, it will survive the weather for at least a few years. I'm certainly not looking forward to doing it again.

Here are a few more finished pics. The sun was going down and the front of the store was in shadow, so next chance I get I will take some pics with better light and add them to the end here.

See Also:
Book of Shadows Signage v3.0 (part 1)
Book of Shadows Signage v3.0 (part 2)
Book of Shadows Signage v3.0 (part 3)


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