Shell Oil “Clamshell” Sign Restoration: Before and After
There are a lot of collectors who think that signs should never be restored or touched up in any way. Personally, I have never had a problem with it depending on the sign, where it would be used and how bad the condition was. You should be careful, however. In some cases, touching up a very valuable and rare sign may actually lessen the value of it. A lot of collectors will not even consider buying a sign that has had work done on it. But when I came across this 1941 ArtKraft Shell “Clamshell” sign I knew it was a great candidate to be made new again. This piece had once been a component of a Shell filling station sign. It was originally double-sided and placed on a pole. There were neon lights around the edges. And now that it was going to be the first thing you saw when you entered my office, I wanted it to be perfect.
As you can see from the “before” pictures, it had some chipping issues and had faded over the years. To correct it, the sign was lightly bead-blasted to rough up the porcelain finish and eliminate any rust. The missing porcelain was then repaired with body filler. The sign was hand-sanded, primed, hand-sanded again to get ready for paint. At this point the sign was painted with the base coat of yellow. Next came the tedious part of masking and taping off the red portion of the sign, which took many hours. The red was painted and the mask was peeled away. The sign was wet-sanded and then clear-coated and, most likely, wet sanded again.
I think it was well worth the effort. The sign is beautiful, a work of art and a wonderful piece of Americana.
This item is not for sale. We show restored items in this blog to encourage discussion, prompt questions and further the hobby.
This sign was painted with PPG paints. Not sure if the colors are 100% accurate to the original sign, but we liked them, so we used them.
Yellow DCC 83409
Red DCC 72356