full time metal fabricator/artist

Storefront signage for THRIVE

I’m pleased with how the project turned out, the letters are 18″ tall and made out of .25″ plate steel, the carrot sculptures are both 36″ tall.

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The client wanted the letters to be rusted, as you can see, they aren’t, after deliberate conversation and discussing the options, the client chose the above pictured recommendation to maximize contrast against a reclaimed wood marquee that has already been built for this project.
*marquee measures 4′ x 8′.

First I did research to find out what font the restaurant had on their business cards since they couldn’t redily get a hold of their designer, it was closest to Gothic 13, I then drafted the proofs for the sign using Gothic 13, here’s a link to the 1:1 scale proof with the business card sample in the corner.

After the proofs were approved, I got to work laying out the letters.

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Then I drilled pilot holes for all the starting points where I’d be cutting that weren’t on the edge of the steel, this steps critical for clean cuts, the cleaner your cuts, the less time you spend fixing the problems sloppy cuts make.

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And here’s a video of said letters after they’re cut out.

After all the letters were cut out and the edges were dressed, I needed to make anchor points to the back of the letters with .375″ (3/8) all thread, I made a jig out of some scrap angle iron, washers, and a small block of .5″ steel, this would allow to me to quickly install the all thread and weld it into place.

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The next step was to make sure all the studs had nuts threaded properly, after I got all the nuts on, I used some blue loctite to keep the nuts in place, this keeps them from being lost and the thread safe while being stored or in transit.

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Time to paint, I cut some pipe that fit over the all thread so I could paint it without worries of spraying the threads, after the steel.was completely wiped down with acetone, I laid a total of four coats of matte black to all the sides then let it cure for 24 hours.

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After the past fully cured, I gently placed each letter in a vise by the all thread (I used duct tape and cardboard on the jaws of the vise to keep the all thread safe) then ground down the outer edges at about a 70° angle to shiny bare steel to create contrast to the letters, this was a nerve wracking process understanding a simple mistake could lead to hours of rework because air grinders make light work of a freshly cured paint job, slowly and methodically I beveled all the edges and the letters look great! As soon as each letter was beveled, I took it to a spray room and clear coated the entire letter to seal in the shine of the steel, stopping oxidation and further protecting the paint job, three more clear coat applications, and the project is complete.

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I’ll update this post after the sign ends up in the air with an address for you to check out the sign if you’re here in Portland.

I also made the carrot sculptures a week before I made these letters, I’ll write about that when the time is available.

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Thanks for reading.
More to come.

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