License Plate

You Don’t Have To Go To Jail To Make Your Own Custom License Plate….

License PlateOur friend Jeff Smith recently asked us to create a license plate for the front of his car that would reflect both his personal and business philosophy.  This stainless steel beauty is 1/16″ thick with plasma-cut lettering and a hand-set, painted steel anvil.  A contrast color backing plate make the letters easy to read even from a distance.

Give us a call and let us help you design a plate that is as unique as you are.

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Lucy B Bar

Belly Up To Lucy B’s custom Zinc Bar

 Lucy B Bar

Next time you’re in Gulf Shores, stop by the newly opened Lucy B. Goode restaurant, located next to LuLu’s at Homeport.

Owner Lucy Buffett commissioned us to fabricate this massive zinc-topped bar for her newest casual dining establishment.  As you can see, the results are pretty spectacular.

In addition to presenting a sleek and modern look,  Zinc material has natural anti-microbial properties that make it the perfect low-maintenance top for a bar, kitchen island or counter top.

Let us know what you think!

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Maintenance Tips for your Aluminum or Steel Fence – Perfect Children’s Outdoor Chore

kid-hose-car

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ian_munroe/3648914405/

Cleaning an aluminum or steel fence is so easy most of the time even a child can do it. Typically it takes little more than a water house and a soft scrub brush with the option of a bucket of warm, soapy water. So…

MATERIALS:

  1. Water Hose
  2. Soft Scrub Brush
  3. Warm Soapy Water (optional)

FREQUENCY

Putting some attention into your steel fence once a year should be plenty often. Try to keep and unmaintained foliage away from the metal, as it will hold moisture against it, hastening potential rust and deterioration.

CLEANING PROCESS

Most of the time you can clean your metal fence by simply spraying it off with a water hose. If you do come across tough stains or areas that need a little scrubbing, the following procedure should clean the surface.

  • Step 1: prepare a bucket of soapy water by filling a bucket with warm water and mixing in a metal-safe cleaning solution (one that won’t increase chances of rust development – just ask at your local hardware store – we like Pensacola Hardware).
  • Step 2: Dip the soft bristle scrub brush in the soapy waterand scrub the soiled areas of the fence.
  • Step 3: Rinse by spraying off with a water hose.

So when the kids are looking for that little bit of extra allowance, or trying to make up for breaking the cookie jar, “To the yard, kiddo!”.

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Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cable Rail on Waterfront

Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cable Rail

Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cable Rail

A custom balcony or stair railing can always add beauty to a building or home and the Renaissance Man team enjoy elaborate and ornate projects, but sometimes the location itself emanates such beauty that the design goal is simply to add a safety feature with as little interference as possible, which is most definitely the case on this project.

Aluminum & Stainless Cable Railing

Aluminum & Stainless Cable Railing

Pictured here at the Preisser Residence, facing the Gulf of Mexico are two balconies on a stately three-story home embraced in a wreath of semi-tropical foliage.

Cable Rail Tension Ends

Cable Rail Tension Ends

We used an ultra-smooth, comfortable aluminum framework with a black finish just glossy enough to catch the sun, supplemented between the posts with stainless steel cabling that is stretched tight at either end and passes seamlessly through precisely placed holes at the mid-posts, secured by bolts visible only by a thin steel collar and softly rounded divot. The measurements echo the geometry of the stair and balcony planks.

Measurements Echo Structural Geometry

Measurements Echo Structural Geometry

A design like this is not only a near-transparent safety feature, but it is also virtually maintenance-free; corrosion/weather resistant and easy to clean. Click on any image for a full slideshow tour of the completed project.

Steel Cable passing through Mid-Rails

Steel Cable passing through Mid-Rails

Meeting of Cable and Aluminum Bar Designs

Meeting of Cable and Aluminum Bar Designs

Cable Rail Secured with Divots

Cable Rail Secured with Divots

Cable Rail Secured with Divots

Cable Rail Secured with Divots – Detail

Wreath of Foliage

Wreath of Foliage

Symmetry

Symmetry

Geometry Matches Structural

Geometry Matches Structural

Catching the Sun's Light

Catching the Sun’s Light

Soft Corners

Soft Corners

Near Transparency

Near Transparency

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A Vessel Designed to Sink, Still Afloat

DSCN4171Realistically, many of us will not be diving down into the Gulf of Mexico to explore the Renaissance Man crew and Frank Patti’s latest endeavor, but it’s not too late to see this magnificent project in person because she’s docked behind the Joe Patti seafood market from now ’till Mid-June. It’s already received a bunch of attention from local press, and locals have been requesting as many memorial plaques as we can keep up with. Some of the plaques may even even end up being mounted under water.

DSCN4163Here are a few photos we snapped, but especially with the beautiful weather, we hope you find a few minutes to check out the project for yourself down on the waterfront. In case you don’t know, Joe Patti is at the southernmost point of A Street, where it intersects with Main.

It will be interesting, for those who do dive the reef, to see how the colors look under water as opposed to above. Pensacola BeachImagine sitting down for an underwater cocktail with friends at this miniature Florabama. Might even run into a mermaid or merman out looking for a hot date, but be careful if you ever want to walk again, ’cause love can be tricky and you may end up with a tail in place of legs. Pensacola Beach Water TowerBut if you can keep the old heart from getting the best of you, you may want to suggest a submerged virtual tour of the area including a visit to Pensacola Beach, a historic walk – or swim – through some local history including some ghost ships, the five flags which have flown over the city and maybe even catch a blue angels air show before calling it a day (or night).

DSCN4269DSCN4260As you may know, you can click on any of the images to the side and above this writing to view a slideshow of the project and of course we appreciate your comments, questions, confusion and even voiced resentment – we know we know – a lot to be jealous of but Renaissance Man Inc has been years in the making and not everything we get to do is quite this cool.

DSCN4247DSCN4271

Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in finding out about purchasing a memorial plaque, or contact Emerald Coast Keeper directly and we’ll get you set up.

Call Sava Varazo at (850) 712-9566 to Request a Memorial Plaque.



 

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A Tree Grows in East Hill

steel-tree
So, you have a particular spot on your lawn where nothing seems to grow. How do you address that in a creative and artistic way?

You call Renaissance Man.

Homeowners on 10th Avenue did exactly that, and the resulting steel tree blends beautifully with their existing landscaping.

It stands approximately 12 ft tall and is crafted of steel pipe. It has a hand-painted finish and an interior irrigation system to water hanging plants.

A few sentimental items were included such as the owners’ initials “carved” into the bark, custom wind chimes and a copper wire bird’s nest perched on a branch.

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Collaboration with Frank Patti on The Joe Patti Memorial Reef Project

Frank Patti, Jr.

Frank Patti, Jr. poses with the stainless steel Joe Patti sign.

Frank Patti, Jr. (of the Patti family) has a really awesome shipyard on the northern end of Bayou Chico, in which he does things like making two of the most powerful tugboats in history. So we’re pretty psyched to be collaborating with Patti Marine Enterprises, along with the Emerald Coastkeeper organization, in what is turning out to be one of the most interesting projects we’ve done yet; an artificial reef, decorated by original Kevin Marchetti sculptural stainless steel figures.

Kevin and Frank Discuss the Sinking

Kevin and Frank Discuss the Sinking

The structural framework of the “Joe Patti Memorial Reef” consists of a 175′ barge, donated by Frank Patti, Jr., which will be sunk at a location 41/2 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass in 55 to 60 feet of water – easily accessible even novice recreational divers. The unique aspect about this project will be the structures welded to the deck, which will bring more marine life. The images will encompass area landmarks and personal plaques, telling the story of iconic people, places and history of our beloved Pensacola. Divers will see replicas of the Joe Patti’s sign, the Pensacola Beach Ball and Beach Sign, the Blue Angels in formation, the Five Flags of Pensacola, and other area landmarks like the FloraBama, and they are selling memorial plaques, so you or your idea can also live on in perpetuity (see details below). All structures will be cut from 3/8″ stainless steel and welded double continuous to the deck. The steel module is 175′ long, 80′ wide and 10′ deep with large and small openings cut into the deck to enhance all types of marine life.

The 175' Barge

The 175′ Barge, still above water.

Frank Patti, Jr. developed the concept for the aging barge which has been used as a floating work platform for the past 20 years plus. Frank Patti, Sr. acquired the barge after it was used to repair the Pensacola Bay Bridge which had been damaged by the tug and barge accident in 1989. Frank Jr. hauled the barge out of the water twice for repairs, but decided a third time would be meaningless. Instead of scrapping the structure, he decided to do something significant. He wanted to honor the Patti family, who are legendary in the marine and fishing industries, and incorporate other landmarks that are synonymous with the area. Sava Varasso, of the “Coast Keepers”, is spearheading the project and donations from individuals that will help fund restoration projects, such as sea grass and shoreline restoration, and monitoring of impaired bodies of water.

Ready for Your Plaque

Ready for Your Plaque

Initially, a basic 2-foot-by-3-foot plaque costs $600 and a custom one costs $1,000.
After the first 40 plaques, the cost will be higher, though how much higher has not been determined.
People and businesses who buy plaques will receive a year Emerald Coastkeeper membership. For details or to order a plaque, call Sava Varazo, Coastkeeper director, at (850) 712-9566.

What other area landmarks or organizations to you think should be represented on the reef?

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Historic Cast Iron and Rivoted Steel at the Maitland Art Center

Antique Steel and Cast Iron Metalwork at Maitland Art Center

Antique Steel and Cast Iron Metalwork at Maitland Art Center

The Renaissance Man team have completed antique metal restoration work on another recognized Florida State Historic Site. The Maitland Art Center was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect, André Smith (1880-1959). Their slogan is Discover, Engage, Inspire and we were honored and thrilled to be engaged for the restoration of their wrought iron entrance gate. The Art Center is one of the few surviving examples of “Mayan Revival” or fantasy architecture in the Southeast, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Antique Metalwork in the Pensacola  Shop

Back in the Pensacola Shop

It is, as they say, a small world and those who are involved in Florida’s historic art and architecture are a closely knit family so it ended up being though our work with the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum that Casey Jones of the Art Center was able to track down a shop with the experience to handle the restoration of such a valued historic landmark as not only a fence and gate of André Smith’s design, but an element of the center in which his life’s work was culminated.

Antique Metalwork Restoration in Progress

Restoration in Progress Back at the Shop

For this project, Kevin ended up transporting the historic metalwork hundreds of miles back to the Pensacola shop for the restoration of the historic riveted steel and cast iron fancywork and gate. The metalwork needed to be first sandblasted, then treated with two different compounds. First a tannic acid treatment for rust removal, and secondly a bath of phosphoric acid, which transforms the iron oxide  created by rusting to iron phosphate, which creates it’s own protective coating on the iron and steel.

Finally the historic metalwork was ready to be primed and painted in colors matching the original. The re-installation was assisted by Maitland Art Center’s own Mike DiSimone, who had been so helpful on the initial trip, that Renaissance Man asked if he would be willing to lend his skills in the projects completion.

We’re including a few more images of the antique steel and cast iron metalwork here as well as some additional pics to give you an idea of the magnificence of this historic location. Click on any image for slideshow and comments are always welcomed.

IMG_0561 IMG_0550-2 IMG_0537 IMG_0587 IMG_0585 IMG_0584  IMG_0577 IMG_0575 IMG_0566 IMG_0565 IMG_0563 IMG_0526 IMG_0517 IMG_0516 IMG_0515

 

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Antique Wrought Iron Restoration at Pensacola Lighthouse Museum

Pensacola Lighthouse Interior Lenses

Pensacola Lighthouse Interior Lenses

Recently we were contacted by Matt Kuehne of the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum and asked to do some evaluation and potential restoration of the antique metalwork on the lighthouse.

Renaissance man has done quite a bit of restoration and repair of antique wrought iron metal work over the years and we were particularly excited by this project because of it’s historic significance… not to mention the romance of all things nautical.

The first stage in the process of a restoration project such as this is to identify the type of metal which we are working with. All irons and steels are simply iron ores with different carbon content and the level of carbon in wrought iron is very low. Its fibrous appearance is because of the oxidized metal impurities, or slag in the iron. Antique wrought iron work is usually identifiable by a lack of welding at the connections as compared with steel. By the time welding was invented wrought iron had gone out of style in favor of the stronger modern steels.

Wrought and Cast Iron Stairs at Pensacola Lighthouse

Stair Treads

Back in 1859, when this lighthouse was built as a guiding beacon to ships near the Panhandle’s coast, the stairs were probably fashioned from iron ore processed in a bloomery, where the hot iron would be fashioned into sheets or rods of different sizes and shapes after having been drawn from the smelting oven. The iron would then be re-heated until glowing red hot, held with heavy iron tongs and worked gradually into shape with a variety of pounding, shaping and turing tools.

Antique Metal Restoration at Pensacola Lighthouse

James & Kevin at top of Pensacola Lighthouse

Antique wrought iron is actually more similar to cast-iron than steel and though not as strong as steel, is more resistant to corrosion. But 150 years of salty, humid air will certainly take a toll and unfortunately the metalwork in recent years had been poorly maintained and we identified many issues to be addressed. After confirming that the lighthouse material was in fact antique wrought and cast iron, we made a priority of repairing the broken railing sections in the crows nest at the lighthouse’s top.

Damaged Antique Metalwork

Damaged Antique Metalwork

The next phase was to identify all of the issues weakening the metalwork on the lighthouse and propose a strategy to the lighthouse keepers. Significant problems were found at the joining of the antique cast iron stair treads and the brick lighthouse walls, where the limestone in the mortar between the bricks caused condensation which lead to significant rusting.

Antique Wrought and Cast Iron Stairs

Antique Wrought and Cast Iron Stairs

The approved recommendation included a full scraping and removal of loose rust flakes and chunks, and a rust treatment with a tannic acid-based rust neutralizer, followed by weld repairs and replacement of any metalwork that was beyond repair. Finally we treated every inch of the metalwork with a coat of red rust preventative oil-based primer and a topcoat of an oil-based black enamel.

With proper maintenance the restored antique wrought and cast iron metalwork at the Pensacola Lighthouse should hold up for at least another hundred years.

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Aluminum and Canvas Tension Awning at the Sunset Grille

sunset grille steel aluminum canvas awning

View from Dining Deck

The aluminum and canvas tension awning developed by Kevin Marchetti and Tim Campbell is a good fit for many projects due to it’s combination of economy, ease of use and sleekness of design, and the Renaissance Man Metal Fabrication team were recently called on by the Sunset Grille at Holiday Harbor Marina (14050 Canal A Way, Pensacola, FL 32507) to add a set of stainless steel and aluminum frames stretching bright golden Sunbrella® fabric canvas (which holds a 7 year warranty).

Tension Awning Detail

Tension Awning Detail

One of the benefits of this aluminum awning design is the ease by which any slack in the canvas tension can be pulled out simply by rotating the nuts on the steel tension bars. The curved bracket not only adds esthetic appeal, but the added strength of an oblique arch.

This particular job required a workaround at the point where the stainless steel awning brackets are secured to the building’s structural framework so as not to interfere with the clear curtain enclosure.

Workaround for Clear Curtain Enclosure

Workaround for Clear Curtain Enclosure

So we used small T-shaped brackets which attach flat behind the plastic curtains, then thin out to come between them, and spread into the platform in the picture, to which the awning brackets themselves are secured.

The striking visual transformation achieved with the addition of these aluminum and canvas tension awnings can be measured in the comparative before and after photos at the bottom of the page. Please feel free to add your comments below and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or if you are looking for an affordable option in custom awning work.

Sunset Grille Before and After

Sunset Grille Before and After Awning Addition

 

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