The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Occident Flour sign in Fairbury, Illinois

We had an old building advertising sign that was just about faded away...........

Last August, [2016] I volunteered to repaint one of our small town’s old building advertising signs that is 68 feet wide and about 24 feet high. It was originally painted sometime before 1934.

One of the challenges on this project was the big missing letter “I” in Occident. I went online, and found a town in Minnesota that had restored the same sign, and I took a screen shot of their sign. The process I used to restore our “I” using the Minnesota screen shot was:

-imported the screen shot of the Minnesota “I” into Google Sketchup
-scaled the I to the size needed for our sign
-redrew the I in Sketchup
-printed out the new I on paper full-scale using Sketchup (I had to tape the 8.5×11 sheets of paper together to get the big I)
-glue the paper I onto 3/16” thick Luan, then cut the Luan to yield the wood pattern for our I
-take the new wood pattern for our I up the 24 ft. extension ladder
-lift one side of the ladder from the wall and slip in the wood pattern in place
-using a big lead pencil, trace the I pattern onto the brick
-tape the I using blue masking tape
-paint 3 coats of paint to make our new I

Luan seemed to be the optimum choice for making my template for the missing I. It is stiff enough and light enough to easily take up a ladder, and it is relatively inexpensive.

I also did a story about this project with the local Pontiac radio station.  You can listen to it here.


I made a Youtube video of this project as well.  It condenses 2 weeks of work down into 2 minutes :)