Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
In the previous Online Exclusive article we showed some interesting variations on post covers and how they can dramatically improve the impression that a sign makes. Now here’s a slick way to fabricate post covers with minimal hassle or material waste from Jim Arsenault, Smokin’ Signs, Sanford, Maine.
Jim’s approach lets you fabricate four 5 5/8-in. square post covers that are 8-ft. long from a single sheet of material. Rabbeting the edges makes the covers self-squaring during assembly, which you do with 2-in. masking tape instead of clamps or fasteners. Jim made a small section of a cover and photographed the process to show the key steps.
Rip eight pieces of overlaid plywood to the width that you want the post cover to be. Jim uses ½-in. overlaid plywood, but you could use ¾-in. as well. Use the table saw or a router to cut a rabbet the length of each piece, on the inside, leaving a 1/16-in.-thick fin protruding from the edge.
He applies West Systems epoxy to each rabbet, then clamps each end to hold it in position. He runs a strip of 2-in. masking tape the length of each joint along the fin, then he pulls the tape over to hold the fin to the butt end of the other piece. The tape provides more than enough strength to hold the joint together until the epoxy bonds.
Remove the clamps and let dry overnight. “You can check it for square,” Jim says, “but I find that if my rabbets were properly cut, it will be self-squaring.”
The next day he runs a hand plane along the edge of each joint, removing any epoxy as well as any of the fin that might protrude above the surface. Then he sands, primes and paints with 100% acrylic exterior paint.
Will they last? “The posts on the sign were built this way 15 years ago,” Jim says. “Just recently I built the new sign faces and refinished the post covers. They were in fine shape.”
You’ll find a detailed explanation of Jim’s process in the January/February 2017 of SignCraft.