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January 2019

United States Capitol Visitor Center – Days 1-6

2019-01-25T16:02:40-07:00January 25th, 2019|How we do it|

Project Overview Metal Facades (now Atlas Signs and Plaques) was contacted in December 2008 by the prestigious firm, Hadley Exhibits, of Buffalo New York and asked to bid on an exciting project using the LuminOre® metalizing process. The project turned out to be two rectangular frames 16 x 23 feet that Hadley was constructing from High-Density Polyurethane Foam (HDU). The same material that is the favorite of Atlas Signs and Plaques for custom handcrafted signs and plaques. Outer Frame, Unpacked and Ready for the Transformation The frame, quite massive, about 9 x 9 x 9 inches, and required metal coating on three of the four sides. Nestled within the foam frame is a smaller aluminum inner sub-frame meant to house 6 flat screen tv monitors and a large clock. This framework is about 17 feet long and 28 inches tall. Again, 2 of these. The plan is to [...]

United States Capitol Visitor Center – Days 7-10

2019-01-25T16:02:51-07:00January 25th, 2019|How we do it|

Readying and Applying Metal Patina Day 7: January 22, 2009. With the spray application of LuminOre® Bronze completed, the outer frame project is nearing the half-way point. The sprayed metal requires some time to cure and fully harden prior to the finishing steps. Despite the frigid temperatures, shop heat is left at 74 degrees overnight to aid the process. We can’t wait to see the gas bill for this month. During the cure process, the metal coating develops a bit of a sticky glaze on the outside which must be removed before patination and final finishing. Again, mostly hand work. We usually remove the glaze with a light abrasive blast, and this was no exception. Some of day 7 is spent sandblasting, but the remainder of our time is used to hand-tune the frame surface so we have a nice even metal base that will take the patina and give [...]

What is Oil Rubbed Bronze?

2019-01-29T12:03:25-07:00January 25th, 2019|How we do it|

Oil Rubbed Bronze isn’t Bronze at all, it is Copper with a Patina Finish. The other answer is that Oil Rubbed Bronze can be anything the manufacturer or craftsperson wants it to be. Since there is no true definition, most agree in broad terms that Oil Rubbed Bronze should have darker brown tones with a bit of the metal base material showing through. No Solicitors Abandon All Hope Bronze Raised Sign How you get there is another story, and often you can’t get there at all. Many are happy to give the illusion of oil rubbed bronze by faux-finishing the piece or using a spray paint of some sort. This makes it very difficult to have a little metal showing through, since we are talking paint in this case. Look at oil rubbed bronze furniture, lamps, kitchen and bath accessories. You will usually find that the coloration is [...]

Looking Back At The United States Capitol Visitor Center

2019-01-29T12:25:14-07:00January 24th, 2019|How we do it|

United States Capitol Visitor Center Project   When Atlas Signs and Plaques (formerly Metal Facades) completes projects destined for interesting places, we ask our clients, “if possible, can you send us photos of the installation or completed project”. We were particularly interested in seeing the installation process of the two large frames that were metal coated for our client, Hadley Exhibits of Buffalo NY, and destined for each end of the United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC). The Capitol Visitor Center has won major design awards and will be seen by 4 million visitors each year. Mr. Norbert Witkowski, Production Coordinator for Hadley was kind enough to send some photos of the installation process and the page above from Event Design. The frames were originally to be cast bronze, but the hollow limestone walls couldn’t handle the weight. So unknown to most, the 17 x 23 foot frames [...]

How To Apply Finishes To HDU Or HDP Foam Projects

2019-01-29T12:26:48-07:00January 23rd, 2019|How we do it|

HDU Foam Ready for the Finish   The Finish Completes the Project High-Density Urethane (HDU) and High-Density Polyurethane (HDP) (different names for the same basic product) is a wonderful material for hand carving, shaping, and machining. Having a closed cell structure, an even consistency and no grain make it a dream to work with whether making prototypes for casting, or toys for the grandchildren. It cuts effortlessly with all kinds of saws and rotary tools, and, because it is without grain, is much safer than wood for hand carving. Enamel on Background of Aluminum Coated HDU   When completed, HDU foam is easily finished with readily available paints, stains, and dyes making it highly desirable as a medium for the craft person or hobbyist. It is utilized extensively in the sign industry because it is easily worked, environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and impervious to rot, petroleum, water, [...]

Tell Me, Exactly What I Am Buying From Atlas Signs And Plaques

2019-01-29T12:11:45-07:00January 23rd, 2019|How we do it|

No Soliciting Signs, Address Plaques, MIA and Military, Man Cave, Privacy and Message Signs Custom Made at Atlas Signs and Plaques   The signs and plaques that we create are not castings from a dirty polluting foundry. Our signs and plaques have a base of modern High Density Urethane (HDU) board. This is a product that was developed for the aerospace industry and has been used for signage for over 40 years. We coat our HDU signs and plaques with a cold applied, real metal coating that is in use world-wide as an architectural and industrial coating. It is a well-proven, tough, and beautiful coating that gives the look of cast metal without the limitations. Read our blog post about the metal coating we use. Our signs and plaques are very durable, but will not stand up to repeated abuse. If you wish to embed a plaque in [...]

How to Patina, Part II

2019-01-22T10:28:07-07:00January 21st, 2019|How we do it|

How We Do It We look forward to the way metal ages over time, but waiting years for this weathering process is not always the most practical way to enjoy the coloration changes. Patination is the art of applying coloration to metals. It can be done to add a sense of mood and drama to an object, to enhance and highlight detail or to accelerate the aging process. The patinator can utilize compounds to hasten the natural process or can add other patina colors such as blue, red, or black. VFW Plaque Detail Artists have been using patina since, least the 1800s. Sculptor, Auguste Rodin used patinas on many of his bronze pieces. Likewise American Western Artist Frederick Remington, used patinas on his 22 famous statues depicting Cowboy and Western American life. Atlas with the Weight of the World In addition to the naturally occurring browns [...]

How Good Are Your Signs And Plaques In the Winter

2019-01-27T15:52:21-07:00January 21st, 2019|Atlas Posts (All), How we do it|

Calypso Address Numbers in Pewter - March 29, 2009, Lake Mills WI USA   Atlas Signs and Plaques are Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to the suitability of LuminOre® and HDU for exterior applications. According to the LuminOre® manufacturer specs, the process has undergone ASTM testing equivalent to 30 years weatherization. Our experience with the product has been fantastic, both with client projects we have completed over the past years, and with our own informal testing in Wisconsin and Colorado. As an example, we sprayed a design on a piece of limestone and left it to the Wisconsin elements for four seasons of hot, wet, dry, and cold. The coated limestone has been left to fend for itself and has undergone countless freeze-thaw cycles. It has been left on the wet earth, rained on, baked, and left under salt-laden snow for months. We are amazed, but never surprised, when [...]