Sunday, 9 February 2014

Laurel & Hardy sign.

My good friend Malcolm Luckie, who lives in Germany has a Laurel & Hardy memorabilia collection and he asked if I could produce a couple of signs for him to fill a gap on the wall above some of his memorabilia. Malcolm asked if the first sign could be 8 feet long x about 10 inches high.  Malcolm is due to visit the U.K. sometime in March or April and he will pop in and collect the sign then, so I have a few months to get this right... I just hope Malcolm likes it when he see's it in the flesh.

Chatting to Malcolm on face book, he said he'd
wanted the sign 8 feet long and 10 inches
high, with Laurel & Hardy wording and maybe
2 bowler hats at each end. I produced a quick
design using 'microsoft word' and showed him.
He seemed happy with my design but I did say
that this design is not set in stone and may
change slightly. Malcolm was happy to trust
my judgement.

As I had 2 Laurel and Hardy signs to do for
Malcolm, and a sign for The Oil droppers, I
purchased a sheet of 8' x 4' ply and 6mm
thick. I then asked the guy at B&Q to cut the
board  to the sizes I required. Getting the cut
 board home is easy if you have a bay window.
Even with the furniture still in my bus
the ply still fitted in easily.
I also purchased some architrave
for the edges. Nice bare wood just
waiting to be primed.

The board was sanded down and 
given a coat of primer on both sides.
Then a good coat of undercoat with plenty
of sanding down in-between coats.

A close up of the architrave I purchased. I
didn't want the architrave to be too prominent,
otherwise it would take the focus off the sign.

Board and architrave undercoated in brilliant

Just another photo of all the woodwork under-
coated. I left it for a day then sanded the whole
lot down ready for glossing.

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I started
to think about the wording, the size of font and
the spacing. Here you can see how I worked out
what was going where. This is probably the
hardest part because it has to be right otherwise
the sign will look terrible with the wording and
design not being evenly spaced.

Once the board was dry, I noticed a few small
flaws in the surface, so I mixed up some filler
and made it good. Then more sanding before
another coat of undercoat.

The board sanded, primed, sanded, undercoated,
sanded, filled, sanded, 2nd undercoat
 and now finally ready for the gloss.

Brilliant white gloss applied to the board. Allow
to dry for at least 2 days.

Architrave has had a miter cuts and then
primed, under-coated and finished in one coat
gloss black.

After gluing and screwing the architrave to the
board, the contrast of the 2 colours looked
striking. The next step was to start laying the
design and wording down onto the board.
I decided to keep to the original design and
have a script font for the christian names
an a larger bolder font for the surnames.
I decided to change the positioning of
the christian names slightly.

In the original design the bowler hats at each
end had shading, I decided to paint the hats
in black with no shading for maximum contrast.
This however meant changing the design so
I could use the white of the board in the design
of the hats.

Pencil design almost done...

I like to get the whole design down before I
start painting, others like to paint as they go.

Equal spacing is so important, if you get this
part wrong it will stick out like a sore thumb
and make the sign look terrible. I will tidy up
the edges of the board at a later stage.

I decided to have the 2 bowler hats at each
end face inwards towards each other.

Once I was happy with the pencil design, time
to start sign writing. I like to start with the script

The script lettering all done, just starting on
the bold surnames.

A close up of the bowler hat design, using
the white background as an integral part of
the design. I think the stark contrast looks good.

Another view of the sign so far...

As I have a day job, I can only do the sign in
the evenings, and at weekends which makes
the whole job much longer.

Sign finished. The Stan Laurel end....

And the Oliver Hardy end.

The finished sign. I still need to touch up the
edges with black but apart from that it's

Whilst chatting to Malcolm via face book, he
asked if I could drill holes in the sign so it will
be ready to hang. To be honest I didn't want
to spoil the sign by drilling holes so I decided
to use these brass picture hangers. I have
used 3 along the top edge which is plenty
to hold the weight of this sign.

From the front these hangers are very discreet
and will hardly notice when the sign is hung up.

And this last photo was taken for 2 reasons,
No.1 this blog is about my 1969 Microbus
and other VW related topics, so I thought I'd
better add another photo of a VW.
Secondly it gives you the reader an idea of
how long this sign is in a perspective we can
all relate to.!

I have another sign for the Laurel and Hardy
collection to make, only this one is not so big.
I have showed Malcolm some pictures of this
sign and he seems to like it, which is always
a relief when the customer sees the sign
for the first time.


  1. That is amazing! You obviously have a lot more patience than me. It struck me one of those signs would be great to hang on the side of a camper at shows to advertise the brand.

  2. Thanks Custard Campers, That's a good idea.. I'm going to be selling some of my signs at some VW shows this year so might just do that!