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Metal Fabrication

Give a Small Child a Hammer

David Harding of Carrollton, TX-based A Sign of Excellence gets some help with a sign.

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David Harding, owner of Carrollton, TX-based A Sign of Excellence, needed some help hammering the ½-in.-thick HDU “copper” ring on the Coal Vines sign, so he assigned his 3½-year-old grandson, David Peña, the distressing task. “He thought it was great fun. I just had to keep him away from everything else with that hammer.” Harding himself added extra touches with ball-peen hammers, wrenches and claw hammers.

Modern Masters (Sun Valley, CA) Metal Effects copper paint with Metal Effects Permacoat Matte Patina sealer achieved the copper finish. The vinework was routed and handcarved from ½-in.-thick HDU. The gold drop shadow was routed from ½-in. HDU and finished with 22.7k Japanese Gold, loose gold that’s similar to glass gold. The grapes and prismatic lettering were routed and handcarved from 1-in. Sign*Foam® III HDU. Black Beauty smalt finished the background.

Harding had created the coal-fired-oven pizzeria’s sign in 2006 and created two more, almost twice the size (59 x 102 in.), in 2007. Because he doesn’t own a router, Harding asked neighbor and close friend Parker McWhorter of McWhorter Sign Graphics to use his MultiCam 3000 series router with a vacuum hold-down, automatic tool changer and various Belin bits, to help him with the original sign.

“Parker didn’t have 2.5-D soft¬ware, so we improvised to accomplish the beveled look,” Harding said. “We routed the letters’ perimeters with a 120° Belin conic bit and left approximately a ¼-in. step to allow us to shape the rest of the letter.” After the router cut the letters with a 1⁄8-in. Belin bit, the men used rasps, files and sandpaper to finish the bevels.

Last spring, McWhorter upgraded to the 2.5-D software, so the MultiCam cut the bevels with a ¼-in. Belin bit. Harding tweaked “where the computer diverged from how I thought the design should look.”

When McWhorter upgrades to 3-D software, Harding plans to build files on the scroll work and hammered copper texture.

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