Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Wordless Wednesday Wrap-up... Numero Uno"

My relative reluctance to embrace the often-used feature, "Wordless Wednesdays," that many bloggers employ may have been evident in that I dipped my toe into the shallow end by running a photograph of ... words. But while I may have had my tongue firmly planted in cheek, I should provide an explanation of that signage, since I'm always asked about it... even if it is a year later!

It's a sign that I made from some scraps that I had in the garage, most specifically old fence pickets that had been out in the weather for many years. When we replaced some sections of our 6' stockade style fencing, I saved a few pickets just in case I needed some here and there in the future. Well, the future has rapidly rushed by and at this point the next act regarding several hundred feet of fencing will be a total replacement. So little pickets, come to poppa.

The homemade sign measures just under 8" x 60" and graces the more visible side of my workbench. It was designed and built quite quickly out in my garage workshop from entirely on-hand materials, with the exception of the letters.

I showcased the real imperfections of the pickets for 'character and realism.' The 3-1/2" high wood letters were purchased at Hobby Lobby and given a spray of flat black before being glued in place. I chickened out when considering whether to distress them.

I ran each of the four pickets down my table saw, ripping off the rounded face so three would lie flat against a 1/4" hardboard backing for easy gluing and screwing. The fourth was then  further ripped into a suitably proportioned surrounding frame. The backside of each picket is what is actually visible.

Any clean edge of the frame that had been ripped on the saw was given an alcohol and ink wash and blended with the twenty year old fencing better than I could have hoped. 

Full disclosure here. I had originally planned to wash the background in white and the surrounding frame in black to more closely approximate a depot sign, but I decided against it for two reasons. One is that I really liked how this looked as is, especially in contrast against my workbench wall. And two is that I really, really didn't want to screw this up trying to weather and age at a 1:1 scale!

Overall though, I'm pleased with the result and the ambience it contributes to the train lounge. I have built a second, similar one from my last remaining pickets and am contemplating how to finish that, including lettering. But I promise to be more adventurous with that one whenever I do get around to it.



Oooops!... seems that some careless CSX track construction caused flooding in this lovely historic town twice within a week. At least it's not on the order of Ellicott City's woes further down the line.


  1. My gosh, it has been so long, I nearly forgot how to write a comment on your blog, Jim! A really nice sign. I wondered where you found those letters. But, be careful. You might have the makings of a startup business.

    1. Apologies for the lack of a reply, Chuck, but Google somewhere along the way changed settings on message notifications that I only discovered because fellow-blogger Pierre Oliver recently recounted his own adventures with such... anyway, if you had trouble posting a comment after all of this time, imagine how much trouble I had doing an entire post with photos, multiple fonts, etc... a start-up business?... c'mon, I just retired... plus I doubt anyone could afford my time!