Category Archives: Just what we THINK

Just What We Think About The World Around Us

Eagle Scout Final Projects: Helping the Community with Good Deeds

The Eagle Scout final project is the largest project in the entire scouting community. But what do you have to do?


Pewter POW MIA Sign

A Memorial to Those Who Fought For Us


Well, that is really up to the scout. They can do almost anything they get approval for, but one of the projects that we see is a military memorial for a city or park, because the Eagle Scout Final Project cannot specifically help a business or individual.

Our custom signs are a great touch for any memorial, but they’re even better for an Eagle Scout project. Because our signs are lighter than cast metal and only a quarter of the cost, you can spend less time on fundraising and more time on developing the rest of the project. In addition, our signs can be easily mounted on a stake or wall with our selection of mounting styles. On top of the ease for installation, our signs are durable and weather-proof.

If you know any Eagle Scouts who have finished projects using any of our signs, let us know! We love to see our signs doing what we designed them to do. And we support improving local parks and communities.

Remember, all signs from Atlas Signs and Plaques are made from American Materials and Labor.

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How to Patina, Part I

Bronze Gate House Sign with Verdi Patina

Bronze Gate House Sign with Verdi Patina

What is Patina?
Commonly pronounced in the US as pa tee’ne, or puh tee’nuh”.

Most broadly defined as the observed and physical change in a surface over time caused by exposure to oxygen or other environmental elements and compounds.

Bronze Horse at Hilton Resort, Hawaii

Hilton Resort, Hawaii

On metal, it is the film of corrosion on the surface caused primarily by the reaction of the metal with oxygen. To put it in perspective, think of an old penny, a rusty pipe, or the Statue of Liberty. However, there is more to it; The natural rate of change depends upon the aggressiveness of the environment. Since the level of pollutants, rainfall, and acidity vary locally, the rate, chemical make-up, and therefore the color and depth of the patina will also vary. Rates of patina build-up and color will change year-to-year, and even seasonally.

Paris Door Knob

Paris Door Knob

Patina is not confined to metal. It can also refer to the change over time in wood or the long-term change in furniture or other items, caused not only by oxidation, but by repeated cleaning, rubbing and polishing. To summarize, patina is the rich and often lustrous natural toning once only available by waiting months, decades, or eons. Because of the time factor, surfaces with a fine patina often command a premium price.

Bronze Statue, London

Bronze Statue, London

At Metal Facades, copper, bronze and brass are among our most popular coatings. These have some similarities in the way they naturally patina. Although other elements can be included in the mix, bronze and brass are primarily alloys of  copper along with tin and zinc, respectively. The natural coating that develops on these copper-based metals can range from brown to green, all in a multitude of shades and hues, depending on time and environment. The desirable green shades (formations of copper carbonate) used to be called Verdigris, but in modern times are usually shortened to Verde or Verdi. (We use Verdi).

Bronze Statue, Florence Italy

Bronze Statue, Florence Italy

The layer of patina, interestingly, can protect against continuing corrosion and is encouraged to provide a protective barrier against further deterioration. However, this is less likely to be the case in larger cities or areas with higher levels of natural or industrial pollution. In these cases, the green and blue colors are mainly from copper sulfides and are not protective, allowing corrosion to wreck the havoc of deterioration beneath the surface. Areas of harmful or beneficial patina can flake-off allowing the patina process begins anew on that area. This phenomenon, can be responsible (along with pigeon poop) for some of the wilder examples of patinas shown.

While we have been reviewing copper and copper alloys, common rust in all its splendid coloring, is a patina effect on iron and iron alloys such a steel. Rust is iron oxide formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or atmospheric water vapor.  We think rust is beautiful!!

Kitchen Backsplash, Iron with Rust Patina

Kitchen Backsplash, Iron with Rust Patina

Golden Gate Bridge Column Plaque

Golden Gate Bridge Column Plaque

Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge Plaque

Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge Plaque

Great Natural Patina on Golden Gate Bridge

Great Natural Patina

Unknown to many, even aluminum forms a surface oxidation (patina) of aluminum oxide almost immediately. It often goes unnoticed because it is, most commonly, in a whitish crystalline form. Like the patina on copper and copper alloys, the surface oxidation on aluminum protects the metal against further deterioration.

Wide variations in patina are normal whether naturally developed or artist applied. Several items from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge are shown because we think it is very interesting that even items from the same era and environment can differ so greatly. Also contrast the Golden Gate examples, which are only 70 years old with some the centuries old European pieces.

Go to Part II: How We Do It

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Apparently, Hobby Lobby Doesn’t Think Women Should Go Fishing

Is Hobby Lobby Sexist


Maybe Hobby Lobby thinks that women should just clean and cook the fish, then feed her big strong fisherMAN before doing the dishes.

For men fishermen at Hobby LobbyTheir signage seen recently in Madison Wisconsin’s new east side Hobby Lobby Store has this offensive sign excluding women from receiving a fishing motif gift. Funny thing is that there are no signs excluding men in the entire store.

Come on Hobby Lobby, get real. We think fishing is just as gender neutral as voting, driving, knitting, hunting, and playing bridge.

Does Hobby Lobby believe that woman can't fishWhat else does Hobby Lobby think women should not do?

Does Hobby Lobby believe women should not drive?

Does Hobby Lobby Believe There Should be No Woman VotingDoes Hobby Lobby think women can not hunt?

Does Hobby Lobby Think Women Should DriveDoes Hobby Lobby think women should not vote?

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A Beware of Dog Sign is The Best Way to Keep Burglars Away, Says 20/20

Beware of Dog Sign in Arts and Crafts StyleAs seen on the May 5, 2013 airing of ABC’s 20/20

In this episode, a convicted burglar, on parole and allegedly reformed, said in reference to what made a home unattractive to thieves. “Beware of Dog Sign, not going near it”. “An automatic No-No.”

Humorous Beware of Dogs PlaqueWith a home burglary occurring every 15 seconds it seems worthwhile to pay attention to what the 4-time convicted felon, Chris Paterson told ABC’s investigative reporter, Deborah Roberts. Paterson said; “People make it so easy for burglars to victimize them”. He looked for shrubbery that obscured his entry and exit, window air conditioners that could be pushed in, a build-up of newspapers and mail, and even Facebook postings announcing upcoming vacations. Although security systems were a deterrent, he admitted to robbing protected homes with the realization that they are often not armed.

Armed with the knowledge that you really don’t even need the dog, just the sign, you could go down to the local hardware store and get an ugly “beware of dog” sign in black and neon red. But this is going to make your beautiful home seem like a junk yard. The best idea is to visit Atlas Signs and Plaques and choose a Security Sign that will work to keep thieves away while enhancing the look of your home. Since every creation from Atlas is custom, you can even inject a little humor, or get a plaque suited to your specific home style. With personalized signs to fit Arts and Crafts, Modern, Victorian, or Prairie styles, you are certain to get what you really want from Atlas Signs and Plaques.


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Commas: Are Those Little Things Dangling Into the Next Line Causing You to Lose Sleep?

“Who gives a *bleep* about an Oxford Comma?”- Vampire Weekend, Oxford Comma.


Picture of a Comma

The Comma: Know It, Love It

The comma, is a very, very, tricky, punctuation mark, to use, but, what’s even worse is when it’s used improperly such as in the first part of this sentence, it makes things very hard, to read. The preceeding sentence is an example of terrible comma misuse and outright abuse. But the rules for using a comma are quite complicated.

Now, this is partly because of what the comma signifies: a short pause. When we talk, we usually talk in bursts of between three to seven words. So if the comma signifies a short pause, we should sprinkle our writing with them, right? Not quite. Commas actually have a fairly specific usage guidelines and are usually just there to clarify something.

One very common joke is the distinction between “Let’s eat, Grandma,” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” The comma in the first sentence specifies the target of the sentence, effectively saying, “Grandma, let us eat.” However, the second implies that the object of the verb “eat” is Grandma and therefore supports cannibalism and matricide, which isn’t a very good idea (usually). Continue reading

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