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Fixing a Stone House Number With a Single Hidden Pin
So, you have bought a lovely new stone house number, engraved beautifully with your house number, perhaps with an ornate border or a motif of your favourite pet. You have to fix the sign to your house. You could simply have the stone drilled and screw the sign using stainless steel screws and rawlplugs, however this will mean the screw heads showing on the face of the stone. Not a pretty sight! Or you could be smart and fix with a hidden pin.
You will need: A pencil, Ruler, An electric drill, cordless or mains. A suitable pin, stainless steel or copper or brass. (more later!) Two tungsten tipped drill bits. Epoxy resin adhesive. Cocktail sticks for mixing glue. Trimming knife. One stone house number sign 20mm or more thick.
The Sign: For this method the stone needs to be at least 20mm thick or thicker. Most natural stone house signs meet this requirement. The stone itself needs to be drill-able, not granite or quartzite. If you plan ahead, your sign-maker should be able to drill the sign for you. This single pin fixing will hold a sign up to 10 kilo’s depending on the quality of the pin.
The Pin: The pin needs to be as rustproof and corrosion proof as possible. The ideal pin would be 3-5mm diameter stainless steel approx 50-75mm long. Some hardware stores stock stainless steel rod. Alternatively look for copper or brass rod. Another option is to improvise, use a stainless steel or brass bolt and cut the head off. Or have you got any tent-pegs? These are often made from strong rust resistant steel alloy, and will be a perfect 5-7mm thickness. For a lighter weight sign 2-4 kilo’s you could use a three inch galvanised nail. You may be thinking that if you cut the head off a nail (which you have to do!) the end will rust, it will not, Trust me!.
The Drill Bits: The first drill bit needs to be near to the diameter size of your chosen pin, just one or two millimetres larger than the diameter of the pin. The second drill bit needs to be bigger than the pin. Quite a lot bigger, Twice as big is good, three times as big is OK too, but the exact size is not critical. Adhesive:
Epoxy usually comes as a two part adhesive or with a separate hardener. It is ideal for this job but it can be expensive. Normally you mix the two parts together in equal quantities and the resin cures within a few minutes. Check the packaging for the normal curing times, this will vary according to temperature. As Epoxy resins harden they go through a stage where they are touch dry but can be easily cut with a knife, this is the ideal stage to clean off excess glue.
You could also use a car body filler adhesive based on polyester resin or even a gunned builders adhesive. Have a look at what is on on your workshop shelves before lashing out. Simply make sure the adhesive is suitable for exterior use and is waterproof.
Step 1. lay your number sign face down on a workbench with the top of the sign facing away from you. Mark a small cross in the centre of the sign and about 40mm from the top. Fit the smaller of your drill bits into your drill. You do not want to drill through you beautiful new sign so wrap some bright coloured electricians tape around the drill bit 10mm or so from the tip to act as a depth gauge. (If you have a thicker sign you can drill deeper!) Start drilling as normal at 90 degrees to the stone, then when you have a shallow start tilt the drill back towards yourself and drill an angled hole into the stone at approx 45 degree angle. (The exact angle is not at all critical, do not worry about it too much!) Caution do not drill too deep! 10-12 mm is sufficient, watch your depth gauge! Do it in small stages, clear the drill frequently to remove the build up of dust in the hole.
Step 2. Mix a tiny amount of epoxy, blow the dust out of the hole in the back of the sign, and using a wooden cocktail stick or long matchstick fill the hole with glue. Push in the pin and then pull the pin in and out of the hole twisting backwards and forwards to ensure the pin is coated with adhesive and the dust is no longer lining the hole acting as a barrier between epoxy and stone. If necessary remove pin to add more epoxy. Allow to harden, keep checking the hardness and cut off excess glue when just touch dry.
Step 3. You now have a secured pin sticking out of the back of your stone sign at a downward angle. Mark on your wall where you want the sign to be located. I suggest if you are drilling brickwork you try to drill into a horizontal joint of the wall. Using the larger of your two drills drill a downward angled hole at least 10-12mm deeper than the length of your pin. The angle needs to be as near to the same angle as possible as your pin. Get a friend to help you eye up the right angle and guide the drill. Now try locating the pin in the hole, if the hole is nearly right the sign will drop into the hole and the number will simply hang securely in position! At this point the stone sign is quite secure and would hang safely like this for decades!
If the pin does not fit correctly, do not panic, simply use the drill as a router, angling it up and down reaming the hole wider and wider until the pin drops into place. You will notice you can swivel the sign to the left and right as the stone hangs on the pin, it is simple to set the numbers upright and level simply by tilting the sign.
Step 4: Now to fix the sign permanently. Blow the surplus dust out of the hole, mix more epoxy, enough to fill the hole and a bit more. Fill the hole and stir the epoxy around in the hole with a cocktail stick to mix in the brick dust. Put a dab of epoxy on the back of the stone around the pin and push the number sign into place. Use a spirit level or carefully level the sign by eye. Once the epoxy has cured the sign is securely and permanently fixed. You will notice that the pin, be it stainless steel or galvanised nail is completely encased in waterproof resin and so will not rust or corrode.
Your number sign will hang there safe and sound as long as the wall survives!
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