How Old Plaques Can Be Restored

July 3, 2017 9:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Landmark signage and other types of cast bronze plaques are beautiful and informative. Yet, with time, they can become worn and lackluster. Signage located outside can weather, while indoor signage or plaques accessible to the public may suffer wear and tear from people touching them.

Whatever causes a plaque to be worn, the damage will only get worse if it’s not repaired by a professional. In fact, there’s actually a five-step process that’s used to bring cast bronze plaques back from the brink of deterioration. Take a look at each unique step and why the process must be handled by someone with experience and understanding of signage restoration:

  1. Sandblasting: Hand sandblasting is the first step—and the step with the smallest room for error. The sandblasting must be strong enough to wear away surface debris and calcification, but not so strong that it tarnishes the raised elements of the sign. At the end of this first step, the sign should be clean down to the raw bronze. It won’t look pretty, but it’ll be clean!
  2. Background color: Restoring the background color is next on the list. This helps create the foundation for the sign’s aesthetic and gives any raised lettering or imagery a look that “pops.” The background color is usually applied carefully by hand, to ensure it’s even and seamless.
  3. Buffing: Buffing is necessary to make the raised areas of the signage look smooth and natural. Buffing also helps to create a smooth, glossy shine that really offsets the background color. This is what gives cast bronze plaques their depth.
  4. Sanding: After the raised areas are buffed, they’ll need to be sanded again to remove any imperfections. This can lead to repeated buffing and another round of sanding if there’s compound buildup or any missed imperfections the first time through. It’s a process that requires a great deal of care and attention to ensure it comes out looking right.
  5. Clear coating: Finally, to seal all of the restored work, a two-part clear coat is added. The clear coat not only protects the background color and polished raised areas from weathering and abrasion, it also gives the entire plaque a gleaming, alluring look. This is what makes a good plaque shine when the sunlight hits it.

Depending on the size of the sign or the degree to which it has suffered abuse, this process can be time-consuming and tasking. Signs with lettering offer particular challenges because of the small nooks and crannies created by the letters. It all comes down to the experience of the restoration professional and their penchant for a job well done.

At Saxton Bronze Architectural Signage, we put in the time and effort to restore every cast bronze plaque to perfection. Whether it’s been standing for hundreds of years or has suffered catastrophic weathering, we’re prepared to use the five steps above to breathe new life into the old, important message it has to offer. To learn more, get in touch with us today!

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