restoring the gold
leaf decoration on antique fire vehicles
work with restorers, museums and collectors to reproduce the decoration on antique fire
apparatus. Great care is taken to accurately research and document each vehicle's
unique designs. 23 karat gold leaf is hand applied. Scrollwork, lettering and
pinstripes are painted on in the traditional manner of the original craftsmen.
hand letter gold leaf names on yachts along the coast of
In September 2008 I
gave a lecture at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. about the
shaded gold decoration on American fire engines.
This style of gold work was
also used on Empire and Georgian furniture, carriages, clocks, safes,
signs, etc. My lecture was on the evolution of the decoration from
Colonial times to the present. Many people in the audience were
experienced gilders, so I also described the materials and techniques that
|In 1972 I began my career
in a shop that restored antique cars. The phase of the restoration process that
I enjoyed the most was the detail painting, pinstriping, and
lettering. This led me into the sign painting profession. In the early 1980's I
worked for a wagon shop. I found the traditional decoration on
horse drawn vehicles more interesting than modern pinstriping. In 1985 I
helped on the restoration of a steam fire engine for my local fire department.
The following year I move to Maine and began working for Andy Swift of
Restoration. His restorations of fire apparatus are as fine as I have seen. Most
of the fire engine photos on these pages are of projects from his shop.
click on the links below to go to groups of pages devoted to each topic.
There are over 250
photos here of fire service equipment from 1850 to the present. These pages focus on the
decoration on these antique fire vehicles.
My shop is located on
the coast of Maine. In the spring and summer I am often at boat yards gilding and hand
painting names on boats. There are over 175 photos of boats.
my career as a sign painter. I still make a few signs each year.
The photos here are of
projects that don't fit into any of the categories listed. There are
pinstriped antique and modern vehicles, an antique pipe organ console, and other objects.
This page shows jobs that I am working on
now, or have recently finished. I try to get new photos up here to show my
customers how their project is progressing.
STYLE and COLOR CHOICES
have changed graphic design. Most signs and boats are now lettered with
computer cut vinyl. This area is specifically designed for my customers.
You can use this as a reference to help you pick what you would like on
your boat, truck or sign. Here you will find letter styles to choose
from and color samples.
& PLACES & LINKS
This area shows the
workshop that I built in 2001, designed specifically for fire apparatus
decoration. I also show some of the other people doing restorations.
There are links to
restorers, fire museums, gilders, boat yards, and more.
There are about 56 pages on this
site and over 700 photographs. This map page may be the easiest way to navigate
around this site. You can get
a quick overview of the whole site here. You can get to any page directly
from the Site Map Page. If you prefer, there are page links at the top and
bottom of each page.