Create the design: 1 hour The customer wanted an urban/ rustic look and we determined her budget. She left the rest up to me, and liked the design I came up with.
Laminate background panel: 1 hour The background panel was four rough-sawn planks, drilled and through-bolted with four pieces of threaded rod. Once assembled, the edges were squared.
Mortise posts: 1.5 hours With a router and a template, I mortised the posts to accept the panel.
Assemble posts and panel: 1.5 hours I screwed through the posts and into the panel with 10-in. long Timberlok wood screws.
Prep the faces: 1.5 hours Using a grinder, I cleaned up the edges of the 3/8-in. steel faces the fabricator had distressed with the torch. The faces are 3-by-7-ft.
Rust the faces: 1 hour I created a coat of rust on the panels using rock salt and vinegar then sprayed them with PPG gloss clear coat.
Mount graphics to faces: 2 hours I used silicone adhesive to bond the graphics to the steel panels. I followed that with a coat of PPG matte clear over everything, then applied the vinyl film to the surfaces.
Mount face and install: 2 hours I fastened the steel faces to the wood background using lags and stainless steel spacers. We brought the completed sign to the site, lifted it off the trailer with a Gradall excavator and dropped it in the post holes.

What does it cost to produce this freestanding sign?

Rusted steel and rough sawn wood deliver an urban/rustic look

By Braun Bleamer

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017

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Planks and posts: $200
Two 30-by-84-by-3/8-in. steel faces: $300
PVC letters: $150
Total materials: $650

Design and prep file: 1 hour
Laminate panel: 1 hour
Assemble sign structure: 4 hours
Rust and clear coat steel faces: 1 hour
Mount graphics: 2 hours
Install: 2 hours
Total time: 11 hours
The Little Gap Kitchen & Bar is just down the road from my shop. The owner said she wanted a new sign with an Urban/Rustic look. She had no logo, so I was able to come up with one for the sign. I did the design knowing that if price became an issue I could drop some of the features, like the rusty steel faces, to get the price down. As it was she liked the whole concept, which was great.

There was a delay in getting the final approval and deposit, so by the time I had that, the grand opening was just around the corner. I had to get creative to push it through the shop in time.

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Braun Bleamer’s shop, Jet Signs Inc., is in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.

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