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4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
#769148 Tue Sep 28 2021 12:31 PM
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I bought this a few years ago.

Part of a huge sign for 4 STAR GAS.

They were located in and around Grand Rapids Michigan.

First shot is after general cleaning.

Second photo is after using a caustic porcelain cleaner.

Last photo is with most of the sign coated with Feed-N-Wax.

Now I have to get a can built and redo the neon.

Later . . .

Jim

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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #769153 Tue Sep 28 2021 01:25 PM
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Looks good Jim

Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #769155 Tue Sep 28 2021 01:56 PM
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Original sign that my piece is from.

The 4 STAR letters are 12" tall - so you can see how BIG the original sign was . . .

Later . . .

Jim

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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #769164 Tue Sep 28 2021 05:52 PM
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Impressive, can you give more details on your cleaning process?

Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #769170 Wed Sep 29 2021 05:41 AM
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The first photo is after cleaning with Windex and a 'fast cut' polish compound using a pneumatic buffing wheel.

Not a lot of change to the fading in the Cobalt. But I thought it was worth a shot.

As you can see, the sign appears to have spent some time horizontal with some 2 by 4's laid across it.

The second photo is after cleaning with ZAP! and a red Scotch-Bright pad.

I didn't try to scratch the surface with the Scotch-Bright pad, just a bit of pressure to clean up gunk and work the ZAP! into the hazy porcelain.

This removed a lot of the hazing. I might do this step and the next again before the new neon is installed.

Final photo is with the RH side coated with Feed-N-Wax.

As you can see, this really evens out the Cobalt and richens up the color.

The Feed-N-Wax will usually last about 4-6 months - then it needs to be reapplied.

But the sign looks much better even without the Feed-N-Wax.

Later . . .

Jim

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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770012 Tue Oct 26 2021 07:49 PM
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So Jim and I have been messaging back and forth a bit. I was quite excited to see someone else with a Four Star sign. I have always loved old neon signs since I was a kid, and the one in the earlier post was near my home where I grew up. My dad would get gas at that station every now and again. I remember that station very well. In highschool I worked for a neon shop on Grand Rapids. The boss there collected old porcelain neon signs, and I wanted one or two myself. I remember that the station in the picture closed in 1999. They had old steel tanks and didn't want to invest in new tanks. This was the end of Four Star which was a local chain in the Grand Rapids area. The station sat vacant for years, and I tried several times to get a few parts of the old sign, but could never find the owner. One day in the early 2000s, they tore the building down, and I figured that was my chance. To my great disappointment, the next day by the time I got out of school, the sign had been demolished and was crushed in a dumpster. There was one sign left on the other side of town on Plainfield Avenue. I tried several times to get that sign, but again to no luck.....

Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770013 Tue Oct 26 2021 07:54 PM
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...and again one day I drove by and it was just gone. At some point they tore down the old station and the sign and built a Jimmy John's where it had once stood. Fast forward to 2012. I was driving home from work, when I saw from the freeway a sign in a trailer. I knew the road went to a scrapyard. I got off the freeway just in time to see the car and trailer pull into the junkyard. I chased it in as it went over the scale.

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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770017 Tue Oct 26 2021 08:09 PM
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I just happend to know the yard and yard boss well. He set it aside for me, and I was able to convince him to store it for me until the weekend. I talked to the guy who brought it in. He said he had tried for years to get it, but to no avail. Turns out the company that owned it was in Wisconsin. They'd never return his call either. Then one day a wind storm blew some parts off it, and the city condemned it as a public safety hazard. The company contacted this guy to tear it down. His plan was to reconstruct it on his property. Tradgity struck the poor old sign once again at the new owner's property. He was storing it on his trailer when a powerful thunderstorm blew it over and off the trailer distorying most of the neon and one side completely. The man decided to take the good side and hang it on the side of his barn, and scrap what was left, and that's where I come in. That Saturday, I had 4 hours of free reign to salvage as much as I could. I was able to save the 4-Star section, the four stars side panel, and the yellow arrow. The gas pannel was just too big to take home and was very damaged. I had to leave it. I was very happy to get what I did.

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Last edited by Mike618b; Tue Oct 26 2021 08:10 PM.
Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770020 Tue Oct 26 2021 08:13 PM
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Here's a scale model I built years ago just for fun.

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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770300 Tue Nov 02 2021 08:19 PM
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Great story and hope you can get it back in shape and enjoy!


Michael F. Moran
Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770698 Sat Nov 13 2021 03:36 PM
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Re: 4 STAR neon sign restoration . . .
T-way #770701 Sat Nov 13 2021 05:09 PM
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That would be a double stroke neon sign.

Mine is single stroke.

Shape is different too.

Later . . .

Jim


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