Introduction: Porthole Sign

About: Ex: Business Analyst, IT Manager, Terminal Manager, Shipping Key Worker, Stevedore, Production Manager, Farmhouse Inspector, HGV Mechanic, Rivercraft Mate, Bread Salesman, Van Salesman. Now retired working mor…

The eldest son asked me to make a sign for his newly completed garden bar and barby area. As he is an ex sailor I decided to make him a themed sign. I decided to try and make a porthole type sign with a sea scene in it.

The internet provided many suitable pictures and I finaly decided on this victorian brass one as a model.

Step 1: Good Idea But How to Do It

I tried a few ideas using metal but finally decided on plywood as I intended to paint it with brass paint and it didn’t need to be functional only decorative.

After cutting a few plywood circles I realised I needed to make a circle cutting jig for my bandsaw which I have put up as a separate instructable. just using a jigsaw freehand did not produce very good circles.

Using the photo as a ratio guide I made the two main pieces. these start off fairly rough as the ply isnt furniture grade but it will be painted anyway. I realised that the bottom one could be just a circle and the top one a ring. I cut the ring on the bandsaw and then pinned and glued it together where the blade had entered and exited the center circle.

Step 2: Plywood Pieces and Positioning

I made the hinge pieces and locking tabs from furniture grade plywood for strength, then glued and pinned them together. I used wooden pegs to locate the front to the back so that the picture could be removed or replaced. Its essntialy two pieces screwed together from the back.

Step 3: Construction

after trying metal bolts and eyebolts I decided to just make the locating screws out of wood also.

When pinned and glued they are quite sturdy. The tightening pins are wooden dowels. the main pins are 20mm dowelling and go into the back piece without glue so they can locate the front piece but be taken apart to access the picture. the hinge assembly is also located this way but using dowel pins.

Step 4: Finish Off

when glued and pinned up it started to look ok.

with computer printed graphic and some 20mm chrome upholstery studs as rivets it came out ok.

The finish was a spray can of brass paint two coats. It could have been done with a much better finish if better plywood had been used but I used all scrap stuff including the perspex. I also cut the perspex on my circle cutting jig.