Winterwood - Copper Panel Sign. All handmade from the design to the metalwork to the wood frame!
|My sign supports - Dad and my husband. Sign is 2' 10" x 4' 4" with the frame.|
Here's the short version of the process, heavily skewed toward the metalwork (since that's what I did), involved in making this 2' x 4' sign:
- Find a source for large sheets of copper in the thickness you want. I suggest 16-18g for such a large project. I found the best prices at Storm Copper Components, Co
My 3 copper panels - all shiny and blank!
- Draw the design to scale, on thin paper. Check the design for weak spots/potential problem areas, perform necessary edits, and make sure panels and pattern are square.
- Adhere the final design to the copper panels (rubber cement is perfect for this - it holds the pattern in place but removes cleanly).
Edited design drawn on thin paper and adhered to the panels - ready for sawing!
- Mark all areas that need to be pierced and center punch (to keep drill from sliding) - you don't want to accidentally pierce solid areas. I center punched all corners and points to make it easier to manage the saw blade.
- Drill. Use as small of a drill bit as possible - a flex shaft or dremel tool is handy here! Wear safety glasses - you will most likely break a bit or four.....Drill from the front to the back so the burrs are on the back.
- Remove burrs. Burrs will catch your saw blades and usually cause them to break. I used a power sander on the backside with rough grit sandpaper (100 grit) to remove burrs. THIS WILL LEAVE DEEP MARKS so another technique might be better here for you. I eventually sanded the entire back like this - it leaves a nice random pattern that (helpfully) obscures any additional scratching that may occur.
Detail showing drill holes and some sawing. Look at all those holes around the antlers?!
- Saw. Finally, the fun part! I used 3 sizes of jewelers saws to hand saw these panels (2.5 inch, 6 inch, and 12 inch). With a good workspace and technique, the copper cuts like butter (okay, maybe frozen butter....).
- Hammer/Texture. If desired - I textured the trees. If the copper is tarnishing, you should clean up the tarnish with steel wool or fine sandpaper first.
- Finishing. This is my least favorite part - use fine files,
sandpaper, steel wool, and/or flex shaft/dremel tools to clean up lines,
remove scratches and tarnish, and, well, finish the piece! Start with
the back and then move to the front - this means the front will be the most pristine. Wearing gloves during the final sanding/polishing stage will not only keep your hands cleaner, but it will keep hand
oils off the copper, slowing down further tarnishing/etching on the surface.
Details - Whitetail Deer, Tree textures and a Heron, Turkeys, and a Black Bear. Finished and clear coated.
- Clear Coat or other surface treatments. Other treatments include flame coloring, a variety of patinas, painting, or leaving it bare for the elements to alter over time! I chose to keep the sign shiny copper and needed a clear coat to prevent tarnishing. Everbrite has 2 solutions for copper - I used ProtectaClear and was very pleased with how it turned out! Follow their preparation and safety directions very carefully for the best result.
- Mount and Hang. We mounted the panels in an all wood frame, secured with bolts. It will be hung in a few months, as the exterior of the new home is completed.
|The finished sign all ready for hanging!|
I'm glad to be done, but I loved working in metal again and I have additional project lined up for the New Year - I'm thinking smaller metal artworks for indoor decor.....
To see more of my families' works, please visit their websites or contact them through these pages:
Tessa Shadis - Ravens Aerie on DA
Caleb Shadis - Make-A-Few Etsy Shop
Larissa Shadis - Candid Creations on DA