Saturday, 6 February 2016

Campermart 2016

For this weeks blog I checked out the 'Campermart 2016' show. Campermart is the first VW event of the season and was held inside the Telford International Centre, in Shropshire on Sunday 31st January 2016. It promised to be a good event with lots of things planned by the organisers which included: A market area where traders would be selling everything VW related, (and some things that were not VW related !), There was also a BMX display, a roller derby, and a Ukulele workshop. The bus doctors were in attendance as usual, this is where you could get free advise on any problems you may have with your bus from very experienced people. As well as all this there were numerous vehicles on display. This is my first time at Campermart and I think it's orientated more towards the water cooled  T4 / T5 buses, rather than air-cooled VW's, although as my blog shows there were plenty of air-cooled vehicles at the show. As the owner of both an early bay and a T4, this was fine by me. The Telford  International centre is about 115 miles from my hometown of Aylesbury so it was quite an early start to get there for the opening time of 10.00am. 
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

I hadn't been to the Telford International Centre
before and wasn't sure what to expect, but I
certainly didn't expect a traffic queue that went
on for about a mile. Here are just 2 of the buses
that I slowly followed towards the show in my T4.

Once inside the international centre there was a
small display of vehicles including this lovely early
barn door split screen bus. The unusual colour
scheme stood out as it was so different.

This bus had some lovely faded Coca Cola
signwriting on it, and along with the patina
paint it looked awesome. I did those Radar
wheels which add just enough bling.

This RAT look bus really was nice. Even though
the red and yellow paint was faded the bus still
stood out and made an excellent choice of
vehicle to greet visitors as they entered the show.

This gorgeous 1970 early bay looked great with
what looks like Neptune Blue coloured patina
paint. The chrome bumpers add just enough
bright work which compliments the deluxe trim

This U.S. import looked great from every angle.
I do like roof racks on an early bay, not only do
they suit the bus but they are also so handy. I
did like the choice of polished alloy wheels,
which remind my of the old wolfrace slot mags
 that used to be around when I was a kid.

There were plenty of T4's and T5's on show but
this satin blue T4 caught my eye. This lowered
bus with it's satin blue paint with the retro white
scallops looked awesome. It also has some
really cool airbrushed murals.

This bus really did stand out from the others in
the hall. I loved this bus and could have looked
at it for hours.

The interior was just as nice as the exterior. The
blue and white theme carried on inside so looked
so nice. It certainly makes my grey T4 cab interior 

look very drab and boring.

This lovely 1967 Westfalia SO42 split screen
stood out. It has been lowered by 6" and has a
Creative Engineering rack and pinion steering
upgrade with CSP brakes.

The Westfalia interior is all original and looks
stunning, it really does have a nice 1960's

feel to this this bus.

The period food packaging looks great in the
door storage rack.

The rear end of this Westy rides on independent
suspension and has Beetle drum brakes. That

velvet green paint does look nice, which is why
I've decided to have my 1969 microbus painted
in the same colour. 

The motor is pretty much stock apart from the
twin Empi carbs, and the electronic ignition and
it is amazingly clean.

This 1966 frosted white over light grey split
screen looked fantastic. Apparently this bus was
bought from new by a farmer in California who
ran it around for a few years, then he blew the
engine and it became a storage / play shed on
the same farm for 35 years!

It was purchased by a friend of the present
owner, a local county sheriff for $100 and was
then shipped to the U.K. It has had a complete 

nut and bolt restoration and the present owners 
used it for their wedding day in 2015.

The new 1776 has twin weber carbs, adjustable
fuel pressure, electronic fuel pump and electronic
ignition. I liked the LED light fixed up in the engine

bay, it would certainly make working on the bus
during the evening / night so much easier.

This 1969 microbus in savanna beige and cloud
white caught my eye. It has been lowered and has
a 4" narrowed beam.

This lovely bus was originally from Michigan in
the U.S where it had some minor restoration
work carried out.

The bus underwent further restoration once
it was in the U.K. The gorgeous interior is 
hand made by the present owner and is loosely
 based on the Devon conversion model.

This early bay sat just right, with a slight rack
towards the front. This really is a straight bus

that is so clean.

The painted Porsche 356 wheels look great with
the VW logo hub caps. I have 356 steels on my
early bay and I think they look far better than any

 alloy wheel, but that is just my opinion.!

This cool retro looking T5 made me stop in my
tracks. It has what looks like a cross between
an old airstream trailer and a caravan on the
back. The rear body was made from aluminium
(just like the airstream trailers) but in a sort of
caravan shape. The sides of this fantastic creation
are made from one sheet of alloy which must have
been a nightmare to create. 

This really is such an unusual creation, but I love
it. This would certainly stand out at a VW show.
The interior was amazing, I did have a quick look
inside, but due to the crowds I couldn't get a

decent photo.

Regular readers will know I have an unhealthy
 liking for panel vans and this cream over baby
 blue panel van looked gorgeous. It had a nice 
high stance, with white painted steel wheels 
and white wall tyres. The body of this old bay 
was so straight and so clean.

The interior of the panel van was stunning. It
had everything you could want and made to
such a incredibly high standard.

How comfortable does this interior look? The
standard of workmanship on this interior was
amazing. The LED lights in the roof panel 

illuminate the interior perfectly.

So that was a very brief review Campermart
2016. This review is shorter than my normal blog
reviews, not because there wasn't anything to 
photograph, but because the sheer number of people 
that attended this event made taking good photos 
of the show vehicles very difficult. Overall this 
show is a good start to the VW season with
plenty to do and see and well worth a look
 whether you're into your air cooled or water 
cooled Volkswagen's. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Oil Droppers VW Repair Shop 'A' Frame Sign.

As I write this weeks blog my 1969 VW microbus is in the 'Oil Droppers' workshop being prepped for a new coat of paint. Oil Droppers is a primarily an air cooled Volkswagen repair shop located just outside my hometown of Aylesbury, in Bucks. They offer a vast array of services for your air cooled ride including servicing, welding, restorations, M.O.T.s, and fabrication. I have known the owner Stuart, for over 35 years so when I mentioned to him about having my bus painted he said he could get my bus into the workshop and although it may take longer than normal, he said he could prep and paint it in between his other jobs to help keep the cost down for me. This was a nice gesture from him and so in return, as a way of saying thanks, I the owner of Stinky Pete's Signwriting decided to make him an 'A' frame sign so customers can see where his workshop is on the trading estate, because at present there is nothing showing where the workshop is located amongst the numerous other similar looking units on the trading estate.
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

This is the Oil Droppers workshop. As you can
see there isn't any signage 
to let customers 
know which unit is theirs. (apart from another 
of our signs that Stuart has put up on the right
of the small entrance door, but that isn't really
visible from a distance).

The is the Oil Droppers company logo that I
pinched off their web page:
I was looking at reproducing this logo on
a hand made wooden A frame sign.

Stinky Pete's have made numerous
wooden signs but I have never made an 
A frame sign before so I wasn't sure
 how big it should be or how it should be 
constructed so I decided to just make a
 start make and it up as I go along... I mean 
how hard can it be? I thought that the sign 
sounded about right at 3 feet x 2 feet so I went 
to B&Q and bought an 8 feet x 4 feet sheet of 
5mm exterior ply, and got them to cut the
 board down to size. I also purchased so baton 
to use as the frame and some chrome 
hinges and a length of chain.

The first thing to decide is which side of the
'cut to size' board I was going to use as the
 face of the sign. This one had a knot on one 
side so this side will be hidden on the inside.

The 2 3/4in x 3/4in baton (70mm x 15mm in 
modern terms!) is glued and screwed to the 
board. This will make the frame really strong 
and If this sign is looked after it should 
easily last for at least 10 - 15 years.

I didn't scrimp with the wood glue. This sign
needs to be solid and once the glue has dried

and the screws are inserted this should 
be a really solid structure.

I thought it would look good if the sign had
 rounded corners at the top of the sign, just for 
aesthetics really, so out came my trusty jigsaw 
and a few moments later and after a little sanding 
with some medium grade sandpaper the sign 
had lovely rounded corners.

The first side of the A frame is done and waiting
a rub down ready for a coat of primer.

With the second side made I put the two sides 
together so I could get an idea of how the 
sign will look once completed and how big 
it will be. I'm pleased with the size, which is
just about right, not bad for total guesswork!

A look at how the frame was constructed. A
simple design, but with the baton being glued
and screwed to the board it should be really
sturdy and hopefully last for years.

The two boards are hinged at the top by a pair
of chrome hinges. I used chrome hinges for 2
reasons, firstly to add a bit of bling to the sign,
and secondly because as this sign will spend
most of the time outside, I thought chrome
hinges may last longer that normal steel ones.

Once the hinges were in the correct position,
and the 2 boards closed properly I removed
them as the next job was to prime both sides 
of the whole frame. Normal wood primer 
was used for this.

With all four sides of the sign primed and
allowed to dry, I again stood them together

to get a better look of how the sign will look
when finished and I have to say it's starting 
to look good

After rubbing the whole sign down using a
medium grade sandpaper, the whole sign
was undercoated. Once dry any imperfections
were filled, rubbed down and undercoated

Time for the gloss top coat to be put on. I put
the gloss on quick thickly and let it dry for 2 days.
By putting the paint on thickly, and by keeping
the board laid flat most of the brush marks
should disappear as the paint settles thus
 giving a lovely smooth finish.

This is the time consuming part as the paint
has to dry properly. Each side needs to dry
for 2 days, and as I'm restricted for space
each side of the sign was done separately.

The second side of the sign is glossed. The
paint is still wet when I took this photo but most
of the brush stokes will disappear once the paint
has settled and dried.

Once the gloss was dry the sign was 
ready for the design to go on, I thought 
the sign would look good with a old skool 
pinstripe around the edge. I decided that
a thick stripe on the outer edge with a 

thinner stripe on the inside would give the
sign a cool retro look.

Striping wood is completely different from
striping a vehicle where the body work is 
perfectly smooth as no matter much sanding
you do wood is never totally smooth, therefore
much harder to get nice neat stripes. It's been 
a while since I've done any striping but I think 
the end result looks acceptable.

Once the stripes were done I once again
stood the boards up to see what it would look like,
 and noticed you could see the inside of the back 
board, and that it looked bare. So I striped the
 insides too which I thinks finishes it off nicely.

Time to start designing the artwork. To be honest
I hadn't printed out the Oil Droppers logo so I just
drew a circular Maltese cross as this was what I

thought from memory the Oil Droppers logo had.

The Maltese cross and the word Open have
been drawn onto the board using my Stabilo
pencil. I thought it looked OK, but we had a
 visitor come to us and before the design
 was even finished they gave what can only 
be described as "constructive criticism" (!) 
and after looking at the design I had drawn 
and by looking at the Oil Droppers logo on 
their web page to refresh my memory I 
decided to get the eraser out and start all 
over again. That's the beauty of using a 
Stabilo pencil, not only will they draw on
virtually any surface it you don't like what
you have drawn you simply get a regular 
eraser and rub it out and start again.

This time I did printed out the logo to
refer to so I could ensure the design was
 as close to the Oil Droppers logo as
 possible. The logo is actually quite difficult 
to draw as it's not only a curved design but it's 
symmetrical as well, which always proves 
tricky. This photo was taken with the flash
on the camera which shows how smooth the 
board is from applying the gloss thickly and 
leaving to dry for 2 days.

Once I was happy with the design of the logo,
it was time to start painting so
 out came the
 'One Shot' signwriters paint and I started adding 
some colour. The drawn lines are basically 
used a guide, as you start painting you can see 
much more clearly of any minor adjustments 
to the line thickness that may be required.

The logo is starting to take shape...

So far so good, although the red isn't finished
I started to apply the black so I could ensure
equal thickness of the lines. This is just my
preferred method of signwriting. At this point
I was looking at the sign and started to think
that the word 'Open' didn't look quite right, so
out came the eraser once again, and time for
another redesign to be added as the whole point 

of this sign is for customers to be able to easily
 identify the Oil Droppers workshop.

After deciding what I was going to put in place
of the word Open, I drew the wording using
a similar font to Showcard Gothic, and as I
already had the black One Shot paint out I
started to paint the wording. I think this font

suits the sign with the retro pinstriping around
the outer edge.

After a few more hours the main side of
the sign was finished. Visitors should easily
be able to find the workshop as the sign looks
quite striking. I decided to put the opening

hours on the sign as the old sign I made for
 them a few years ago still had the old 
opening hours of 08.00 - 6.00 on it. You can
see from this photo how vibrant the sign is in
natural light as opposed to the photo above
which taken in indoors with artificial light.

One side of the A frame is finished, just the other
side to do now.

I thought on this side, I would list just some
of the services that Oil Droppers offer. I also
thought I'd use the wording from the company
logo but without the Maltese cross as I thought
 it would look OK.

Once I was happy with the design I started
to paint with the red One Shot paint. 
I have
 printed off the logo and taped it to the board
to refer to and use as a guide.

The logo is painted as per the printed off version,
but it doesn't look quite right. It looks too dark. 

I wasn't happy with the Oil Droppers logo, as
I thought there was too much black, but I decided
to carry on and list some of the services that they
offer and see if the logo grows on me...

The second side of the sign finished. I kept
looking at the second board and I still wasn't
happy with it. It looked too dark, it didn't have
the same striking appearance as the first side.

So I decided to change the colour of the inside
of the 'O' and above the word 'Droppers' and also
on top of the 'I'. This helped to make it a bit brighter
but it still wasn't very bright. After some more
thought and several cups of tea, I decided to
use the Oil Dropper red and add some wording
across the bottom and add a pinstripe in between
the services offered.

This looks much better now. The idea is to
have the logo side facing away from the workshop
so customers can see where the workshop is, and
so they can see a few of the services Oil Droppers
offer as they exit the workshop, but of course it's
up to Stuart where he puts the sign.

Once the sign was touched up, and everything
checked, and before loading it into my T4 to take
to Oil Droppers I decided to take some photos
in natural light. I think the sign stands out,
especially against my monochrome T4.

The reverse side of the sign also looks good
now. It's not as bright as the front but then it's
not supposed to be.

On the bottom of the inside of the sign I added
a signature with our contact details. You never

know it may hopefully generate more work...? 

The top of the A frame is held together with
2 chrome hinges at the top and a chain at the
bottom. The chain is held by chrome eyelets
screwed into the framework. Once in position
the eyelets protruded about 3/4 inch so I decided
to put them in the vice and bend them over to
stop anyone catching their shins on them as
they walked past.

The A frame in the closed position show how
the bent eyelets work to keep them almost flush
with the sign.

This photo was taken from about 30 feet and
the sign really stands out. This should help
potential customers find the workshop.

The sign outside the Oil Droppers workshop.
At least customers will be able to identify which
unit belongs to Oil Droppers.
A better photo of the A frame sign in all it's glory.
The sign certainly stands out.
That was how we, here at Stinky Pete's Signwriting
produced the A frame sign for the Oil Droppers 
VW repair shop. Look out for my blog write up on
how they re-painted my 1969 microbus in the very
near future. The Volkswagen show season here 
in the U.K is almost with us again for another year, 
starting with Camper Mart 2016 tomorrow (Sunday 
31st January) so I'll write a blog review about that
 show and publish it for next Saturday, then hopefully 
soon I'll be able to start posting blog reviews on a 
regular weekly basis as normal. My blog reviews 
are posted on Saturday mornings. You can check 
out the Oil Droppers web page here:
(you may need to copy and paste the link)