Powder coating can save metal items
It has been around quite a long time, but it just seems to have become popular in the last few years. It is called powder coat. I cannot explain it, and it is probably not that complicated.
Basically, you take a metal item and sandblast it, then you paint it with a special paint that is then baked in a big furnace or oven. The result is a finish that will withstand years of wear and tear and all kinds of weather. Most of the items end up with a glossy or shiny coat, but matte finishes are also available.
The photo you see of the welcome sign is a piece created by our grandson, Blake LaCrone of Wichita, Kansas. It is cut out of 1/8-inch steel with a plasma cutter. After one Illinois winter, it was totally rusted and not very welcome-ish.
Geoff Chiton, who used to be our neighbor and does most of my welding, told us we should get the welcome sign powder coated. He is a creative sort who now lives in Philo. His phone number is 684-2087. He does freelance design, fabrication and repair and has a yard full of his own creations or sculptures, most of which are powder coated.
He recommended that we contact Don Gorbet (407-4366), who owns a company called Creative Dust Powdercoating. You can see samples of his work at creativedust.net. He lives in Urbana, but his workshop is outside of Fithian. He prefers to do small items and does NOT do lawn furniture. Our welcome sign cost $50 and was done in a few days.
At my son's urging, my wife and I visited the restored garage of a guy, also in Philo, who would have to be classified as a neatnik. He had tons of old tools and equipment restored and powder coated, and the old garage was now so clean you could open a restaurant in there. He told us about a place in Charleston where he had his powder coating done. My son contacted the place, and he and I went to Charleston to see it firsthand. It is called R & B Powder Coat and is at 4670 W. State St. Their phone is 345-4600, and cellphone is 343-4717; website is rbpowdercoat.com.
They work four 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and they do big stuff. Their furnace will hold a large step van. While there, I saw a finished glider that would sit on your front porch — done in all white for $75 or $85. He did not remember how much without looking it up.
The company is owned by Rick Pemberton. His staff was mostly 20- to 30-year-old men who worked in unison, a precision group that really seemed to enjoy their work, knew what they were doing and were proud of their finished product. They are located about 3 miles west of Charleston.
I was impressed by what I saw and would recommend either location: the small operation in Fithian or the larger facility in Charleston.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be mailed to 807 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.