Occasionally, we’re asked to repair not only signs, but also wood art and other outdoor items that have been damaged by UV exposure, weather or vandalism. Because custom service is part of Paxton Signs’ business model, these types of projects aren’t only interesting, they’re also sometimes challenging. For example, a recent project involved a retired Navy captain and his beloved carved, wooden eagle. The eagle was quite old, weathered, and in need of TLC.

The decades since his service to our country hadn’t diminished the captain’s respect for this cherished national symbol. His question: Could we repair the eagle that needed new wing tips and then freshen and refinish it after years of outdoor exposure? Further, could we create a replica twice the size of the original, say, 6 feet across?

Yes, yes and yes. Even though we prefer to use more exact carving techniques, the goal of the project was to repair the eagle, and then duplicate it, twice the size, all according to the original artist’s vision and workmanship.

Because the original eagle was old, its finish was the first consideration. Using the wrong refinishing product could make the result worse than the original. In the end, and not being able to determine the original finish, we decided on paint and faux techniques to restore its appearance.

The wing tips required repairing, then preparing the original surface for new replacements. We did this by sanding and shaping them to accept the new tips that were also shaped, carved and then glued to the prepared surface. Once painted, the repair is invisible.

The captain was thrilled with the finished large replica. It will grace his property entrance. The smaller, original eagle will soon be ready to display close by.


The repair process, shown below, followed by the finished, large replica.

Top left: Original eagle.  Top Center: Wingtip repair.  Top, right: A finished wingtip.  Bottom: Finished large replica, 6 ft across.

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