Plaque Restoration: Making the old, new again.

A well-made plaque can last for generations to come, acting as a bridge between the past, the present and the future. However, unless the plaque is looked after carefully and regularly, the ravages of time and the elements will take their toll, and can put a treasured memory at risk. Fortunately, the Sheridan’s Badges and Engraving team are here to help – we have the equipment, the skills and the experience to bring most plaques back from a shabby, hard-to-read state to their former glory, so you can once more be proud to display your restored, stunning plaque.

For a start we don’t restore plastic plaques, just get a new one made. The most commonly restored plaques are made from brass, stainless steel or cast bronze and, rarely, copper.

The first step in the plaque restoration process is to supply close up photos of the plaque with the damaged areas as well as an overall photo of the entire plaque. Providing dimensions will help us to determine how big of a job it will be and allow us to estimate a price for restoration. If the price is within budget, we require you to uninstall the plaque and deliver it to our factory. We will then further examine the plaque and inform you if there are any unforeseen issues. 

Plaque Restoration Process

A plaque is generally restored to its original condition by the following steps

  1. Removing old lacquer and wax or paint from the text, if there is any. 
  2. Give it a gentle linishing with a fine abrasive belt. 
  3. Recolour the text 
  4. Relacquer coat. 

Brass may have some serious surface imperfections that may be impossible to remove. We believe this shows its history and is a good reason to cherish its antiquity, besides, we cannot restore it only replace it. As brass naturally tarnishes, a decision is to be made whether to apply surface protection or let it age gracefully. 

Stainless steel plaques are a very durable material. Often it just needs a good scrub with warm soapy water. If it is located near the coast, it stands a good chance of discolouration referred to as tea staining. Removal requires the use of some fairly serious chemicals (not one’s you are likely to find around the home) and elbow grease. 

Cast bronze plaques are the Rolls Royce of plaques. They essentially do not tarnish or rust and can take a fair amount of weathering and vandalism. They are more likely to be stolen rather than damaged. The main task is to remove the deteriorated background colouring, clean the raised detailing then recolour and recoat. 

The coating on anodised aluminium plaques is unable to be repaired. If the coating is in good condition, the text can be recoloured. If not, the best option is to replace the plaque.  

Here are a few plaques that we are unable to restore:

  • Reverse Embossed Tin and Aluminium Plates
  • Laser Etched Stainless Steel
  • Photo Engraved Alumnimum and Stainless Steel 
  • Dye Printed Anodised Aluminium 
  • Plastic Laminated Plates/Plaques

With that in mind, we’d like to share some of our work with you. 

These stunning plaques commemorate brave soldiers who served in the two World Wars, lest we forget:

 

Plaque Restoration Example - Memorial Plaque

Plaque Restoration Example - Memorial Plaque

 

Note the improved visibility of the text, the shine; you wouldn’t realise without looking carefully that the second plaque was created almost a century ago!

And this plaque is a little piece of Perthshire (i.e. Perth) history, now restored to beauty:

 

Plaque Restoration Example - Perth Landmark Plaque

 

As a long-established business of over a century, and one of WA’s oldest family businesses, we’ve played a role in WA history in our own right, creating badges, plaques, trophies and much more for many organisations large and small over the generations – we’ve even contributed some of our work to the WA Museum (more on that here, if you’re curious!)

Want to know more? Here at our workshop in Perth, our high-quality engraving, badgemaking, trophies and plaques are making waves! Check out our recent showcase blogs on the story of plaques and all about engraving, as well as our various products such as medallions, plaques and trophies available for sale. And keep an eye on our blog for more insight into our company, our work and our techniques.

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