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)

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Just Kampers Christmas Open Day. (part 2 of 2)

Firstly let me me wish all my readers a Happy New Year. The first blog review of 2016 is part 2 of 2 of the Just Kampers Xmas Open Day that they held at their head office and distribution warehouse on Saturday 12th December. Just Kampers are a Volkswagen automotive parts and accessories supplier based in Odiham, in Hampshire RG29 1JE here in the U.K. and for no particular reason they are my favourite supplier of parts for both my 1969 microbus and my newly acquired 1999 T4 transporter. You can check out their very easy to navigate and extremely comprehensive website here:  (you may need to copy and paste) This Xmas open day event, now in its 3rd year promised to be a friendly fun family day to enable them to thank all their customers in person and to wish us all a Happy Christmas. They said on their facebook page that there will be hot chocolate with whipped cream and marsh mellows, hot dogs, mince pies, and a host of activities to keep the children occupied. There is also going to be Santa's post box, Santa's camper photo booth and a decorated VW competition and of course lots of discounted lines from their huge inventory of stock. As Odiham is about 65 / 70 miles from my hometown, I decided to shoot down there in the new T4, as opposed to taking my 1969 microbus as it would be much quicker and cheaper. I attended the Just Kampers open day back in June, and that was a great day out, so I was hoping for a similar sort of day at their Christmas open day. You can check that blog entry here: (again you may need to copy and paste the address) The review continues as I wander around looking at all the vehicles.
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 lovely looking 1988 white T25 was parked
up in the 'white bus' line up. I do like the square
double headlights on a T25 as opposed to the 

single round light unit's, and the 'Empi' style 5 
spoke wheels.

This solid looking bus had a pop top, although
I'm not sure who did the conversion. Having a
pop top in a bus gives so much extra headroom
which can only be a good thing. The dark maroon
stripe around the body looked good and helped
this bus to really stand out.

Another white T25, This time it's a stunning 1989
Westfalia. This really was straight and solid
looking and the aftermarket wheels were a good
choice to compliment the overall look.

The all white body, including the bumpers looked
good. This super straight T25 really was a nice

looking bus, and being a real 'Westy' it had the
nice well equipped interior. 

I don't know if these 5 owners knew each other
or not, but they arrived at the Just Kampers meet
in convoy. It did look good as they came up the
drive towards the Xmas meet. I spent some time
looking around these T4's and got a few idea's
of what would look good on my '99.

All the T4's and the T5 looked good, but this
super bright green T4 caught my eye. The simple
two tone colours of bright green and black works
so well.

The big slab of bright green colour shouldn't
work, but it does. The black aftermarket wheels
and tinted side window are just enough to break
up the bright paintwork.

It wasn't planned but the white buses ended up
parking next to each other. From left to right:
1970 early bay, 1988 T25, 1989 T25 Westfalia
 and my 1999 T4.

OK, it's not a VW but this Morris Minor 1000 is
a true British classic. This 1970 series 3 was
produced from 1956 - 1971 and had the larger
948cc engine. The series 3 had the split screen
windscreen replaced with the curved one piece
unit and it also had the larger rear window.

This old 'Moggy' really was a solid looking car
and lovely and straight. The paint might have
been original as it looked aged and just right.

Another look along the 'white' bus line up. There
are 3 generations of the Volkswagen bus here,
and you can see how they have evolved over
the years. Each model is as good as the next
in their own way.

As part of the Xmas fun, JK had arranged a
'Best decorated VW' competition and the two
young ladies that came along in this 1973
Beetle did a great job in decorating their bug.

This really was a nice looking car, which was
very straight and solid looking. The two tone
colour scheme was unusual but really looked

The two young ladies (just in the photo on the
left of this photo) must have spent about an hour
decorating their bug, but it was well worth all the
effort the ladies put in. I don't know if they won
the competition, but I think they should have.  

This 1972 late bay looked as though it may have
been a Riveria conversion with that style of pop 

top (?) It had a very distinctive cow pattern design 
paint scheme which really stood out. I did like the 
bison horns on the roof rack.

This bus certainly stands out. It's always nice to
see how owners of any type of bus have put
their own interpretation and personality into 
their vehicles.

A fun sticker on the rear of the late bay says it

This lovely lowered 1967 / 68 beetle came along
to the Just Kampers Xmas meet. I saw this bug
drive into the car park and it sounded lovely.

This early bug had the Cal-look with the bumpers
removed, lowered and sitting on those 8 spoke
Empi wheels.

This really was a nice looking bug. The single
colour coat of paint and lack of chrome trim add
to the overall look of this gorgeous bug.

The Volkswagen beetle really has an iconic
shape that is recognised all over the world. They
have so much shape and flowing contours as
opposed to the vehicles of today.

Another look along the T4 line up, it was good
to have a look around these T4's and get some
idea's for my  bus. I think a rear wiper could be
added to my list of things to do in the future.

This lovely old bug arrived mid-morning and
parked up next to my '99. This 1970 bug had a
few signs of wear and tear but that didn't matter
as it was still on the road and being enjoyed by
the owner, just as it should be.

It looks as though this bug has recently had a
new rear apron, as it was in red oxide primer,
but at least it's a sign that this is a work in
progress car. This 45 year bug looked mostly
original from what I could see, and it looked great.

On the back seat of the bug, the owner had this
cool looking music box made from an old

Looking across the front of the beetle towards
the Just Kampers warehouse. The T4/5 line up
on the left and my '99 T4 on the right.

This gorgeous 1972 white over red late bay
was parked up in the 'overflow' car park. This
bus named 'Ruby', was riding at standard height
which I always think looks great. 

The super straight body and almost perfect paint
gives off a lovely sharp reflection. The black Empi
5 spoke wheels and clear rear light lenses add to
this buses overall cool look.

A fun sticker in the back of this late bay, a caption
that I think most of us bay window owners can
relate to, as we have all been there sometime.

Another look at the 'white' bus line up. It's strange
how all the white vehicles seemed to park next to
each other.

This lovely 1984 high top T25 looked really cool
in it's white over orange paint scheme. These
high tops are brilliant as there is so much more
room inside compared to a tin top or even a pop
top model.

The shape of the high top roof makes this bus
look like it's doing 70mph standing still.! I did
like the tinted windows which give some stark
contrast against the bright orange paint.

A look across the front of the Just Kampers
warehouse and the fantastic diversity of
Volkswagen's that attended the Xmas open day.

Just another look of that cal-look beetle parked
in front of the lime green T4, a nice contrast of
colour and shapes.

In part one of the review I showed you the great
refreshment stall Just Kampers had erected
inside their warehouse. All the tea / coffee/ hot
chocolate and hot dogs were free, with just a
small donation required to go to their chosen 

charity, Cancer Research. The amount raised 
was just over £240 ($357) which was a great 
effort by everyone who donated. Oh, and I just
couldn't resist a cup of hot chocolate with little
marshmallow pieces.

As well as refreshments, JK had these cool
surf themed stickers, and again all donations
received went into the charity pot.

A nice reflection showing my '99 T4 Transporter
in the super straight, and super shiny body panel
of a blue T4 parked opposite me.

This lovely 1975 late bay finished in white over
mid yellow looked great parked up in the car
park. I did like the standard ride height and the
overall look of this bus. The 2 bow roof rack
over the cab looked good and goes to prove
that you can have a pop top bus and a roof rack.

This bay really was nice and clean and straight
and the perfect pastel yellow paint accentuated
how straight and solid the body really was.

Just another picture of the gorgeous red 1967
Karmann Cabrio that featured in part one of my
blog review for no other reason, than I think
this is one cool ride.

On the way out you have to go round the back
of the Just Kampers building as you head
towards the main road. As I drove past I spotted
this lovely early bay parked up. I assume it
belongs to another JK employee..? It did look
really nice, just a shame it was hidden around
the back because I would have liked to have had 

a better look at it.

So that was my 2 part review of the Just Kampers
Xmas open day. It's nice to go to an international
Volkswagen parts supplier and find out the people
that work there are just like me and you. They all
drive Volkswagen's and really do know what they
are talking about. I arrived in my T4 and the guy
that owns the Fire bus (in part 1 of the review)
came up to me as I got out and started chatting 
to me as if he'd known me for years. we chatted
about my 1969 microbus and he told me all about
his split screen. How many parts suppliers do you
know that are that friendly? This was, just like the
JK open day I attended in the summer a very well 
organised and set out and very well attended. 
A huge thank you to everyone involved at JK for 
helping put on another fantastic open day.