Sand Casting

FAQ

What is Cast Bronze?

Franklin Bronze Plaques uses Copper Development Association Alloy C9220 when manufacturing bronze plaques. This alloy is comprised of Copper (88%), Tin (6%), Zinc (4%) and Lead (2%). We use a sand casting process to complete your order, making molds from a specific sand mixture in which molten metal is poured. Most foundries in the United States use this method, ensuring a durable end product well suited for outdoor use. Cast bronze plaques do not rust when exposed to the elements, but will naturally oxidize over time, rendering a natural patina as seen on older copper objects.

WHAT ARE SOME USES FOR CAST BRONZE PLAQUES?

Bronze and aluminum plaques are well suited for a wide variety of uses. Below are just a few suggestions:

Memorials – Historic Markers – Corporate Identification/Awards – House Markers – United States Military Seals – United States Department Seals – Military Awards – Parks and Recreation Identification – University Identification/Markers/Awards – Sports Recognition – Golf Course Tee Markers/Awards – Landmarks – Pet Memorials – National Register of Historic Places Recognition – Historic District Recognition – National and Local Preservation

What size plaque do I need?

Overall plaque size is determined by several factors, including the amount of text to be included, as well as any images and/or logos/graphics to be added. There are several general guidelines to consider:

*Minimum text height must be no smaller than 1/4" if using all upper case text. Text height changes to 3/8” minimum if you use upper and lower case text. If these minimum requirements are not adhered to, you run the risk of unclear or illegible text. All raised surfaces (text, graphics, etc.) will get wider during the sanding/finishing process, causing small text or tight lines to become filled in.

*Adding images and/or graphics generally increases the overall minimum size of the plaque. Our graphics department is happy to determine the minimum size of company logos, seals or other graphics necessary to ensure a clear end product.

*In order to determine a general overall size, count the letters and spaces in your proposed text. Divide that total by (4), which will give you a “ballpark” size in square inches. Keep in mind, our graphics department may be able to work with your text to meet certain requirements.

*As previously mentioned, image sizes are based on the overall size of the plaque and the text to be included. A good rule of thumb is generally to reserve 1/3 of the plaque height to accommodate the image. Again, our graphics department is able to make certain adjustments to meet your requirements.

How is my order handled?

Once your request has been received, whether it’s through our website, via general e-mail, over the phone, or through “snail” mail, Franklin Bronze Plaques will provide an estimate, generally within 24 hours, confirming your contact information, shipping address, plaque size, background finish and mounting selection. Plaque pricing is also reflected on the estimate, along with any additional charges that might apply to your specific order. The estimate will trigger a layout from the graphics department, which will be sent in a separate e-mail within one to two business days of receipt of the estimate. Estimates and layouts are both at no cost or obligation, and you may contact us at any time during the process with questions or concerns you might have. Orders are not finalized until we receive written layout approval from the customer. Changes may be made at no charge any time PRIOR to receiving the layout approval. If a layout has been approved and moved into production, and then changes are received, additional charges may apply for work already completed on the approved order.

Payment is expected at time of layout approval, unless previous open account status or other arrangements have been made. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express, or you may pay via check. We require full payment prior to production for all orders totaling less than $1000. For orders $1000 or more, we require a 50% deposit, with the balance being due at the time of shipment. The exception to this is if payment is made via check, requiring full payment to be received prior to production, eliminating the possibility of orders being held in the shipping department upon completion.

Once all approval and payment details are on file, your order is moved to the production department to begin the pattern process. This is followed by pouring the raw casting, and finally moving into the finishing department, which is the longest part of the entire process. Delivery times depend on the overall size and complexity of each piece, but generally run 4 – 5 weeks after final layout approval on smaller sizes without images. An estimated delivery time is included on each estimate.

Each order is packaged with extreme care to protect the final finish. When your order is shipped, you will receive an automatic e-mail from UPS referencing the tracking number. You may also contact our office to request this information or for status updates any time during the manufacturing process. Final copies of the paid invoice and payment receipt for all orders are mailed to the billing address on file after the order ships. Additional copies of this information may also be requested from our office at any time.

When should I expect my order?

Delivery times are based on the size and complexity of each plaque and are scheduled once final layout approval and payment arrangements are on file. For smaller plaques without images, delivery is generally 4 – 5 weeks, plus time in transit, after approval. Larger plaques can take anywhere from 5 – 8 weeks, again depending on size, complexity and images to be included. Plaques with bas relief images, no matter the overall size of the plaque, require a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks after layout approval for completion. These pieces require the extra time for our sculptor to complete the image in clay prior to creating the pattern for casting, which can add an additional 2 – 3 weeks to the manufacturing process.

Orders are generally shipped via UPS ground service, unless other arrangements are made. Time in transit can vary anywhere from one to five business days, depending on the delivery address.

How do I design a plaque?

Designing a bronze or aluminum plaque is something most people have never done and can seem like a daunting task. Franklin Bronze Plaques offers free design service to help take your plaque from concept to finished product. Simply provide your proposed text and any image or graphic files you might have, along with any size or budget limitations we should be aware of. We’ll provide a full color layout for your review at no cost or obligation. Revisions and adjustments are always at no charge and can be made as often as necessary prior to final approval to achieve the “look” you’re striving for.

Text files should be sent as Word files, if possible. Images are best received as pdf or jpg files, preferably at a minimum of 300 dpi. Graphics and logos should be sent as jpg, ai, or eps files when possible.

Do you need specific artwork?

Specific artwork provided by customers is very helpful for the graphics department, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete and forward your layout. Please send logo or graphic files as vector art in an eps, ai or cdr file whenever possible. These file types are generally compatible and do not require additional work from our graphic artists to complete a layout guaranteed to convert into a clear casting. If these file types are not available, please send what you have. We will determine if graphic fees are necessary to convert the artwork for use in the casting process. These changes generally are not made until layouts are approved; the basic file is used in the layout for size and positioning information only and will be “cleaned up” prior to beginning the pattern making process.

How should we send you our logo?

Please send logo files as an attachment via e-mail in vector format whenever possible. You can attached files to your web request or email it directly. These e-mails can be sent to Info@FranklinBronzePlaques.com or Sales@FranklinBronzePlaques.com. If e-mail is not an option, you can burn the image on a CD and send via regular US Mail to our corporate address.

How do I keep the beauty of our plaque?

All plaques will naturally oxidize over time, changing the appearance of your finished project. It’s difficult to say exactly how long you’ll have your plaque before this process begins. However, there are some steps you can take to maintain your plaque’s finish. Periodic cleaning with warm water, a soft cloth and a mild detergent is recommended to keep your plaque looking its best. Never use anything abrasive on your plaque, including bronze cleaners. This will destroy the finish and speed the oxidation process. If, after several years, you decide your plaque needs a facelift, we do offer refinishing services. Please contact us to discuss the options and costs associated.

How can I reach Franklin Bronze Plaques if I have further questions?

Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM till 5 PM EST, except holidays. You may contact us using our toll free number (866-405-6623) or our local number (814-346-7205). Faxes may be sent to 814-345-7047. For those outside the Eastern Time Zone, every effort is made by our sales staff to be available at your convenience. Special arrangements can be made via e-mail for somebody to be available to assist you over the phone if you happen to be in a “faraway” location. E-mails can be sent at any time to Info@FranklinBronzePlaques.com or Sales@FranklinBronzePlaques.com.

What is a Bas Relief?

Bas (pronounced bah) relief is a French phrase used to describe a three-dimensional sculpting. These pieces are sculpted by hand in clay prior to creating a pattern for casting. Our sculptor prefers a minimum of three photos of the subject in order to accurately capture the likeness and character of that specific person. This form of image is not a direct reproduction of a photograph, but is an artist’s representation of the subject. While every attempt is made at an exact likeness, please keep in mind that some details may or may not be captured.

What is a Metal Photo?

A metal photo image is produced by burning the image onto photo sensitive aluminum. The end product is based on an actual photograph, so what you see in the photo provided will be seen in the finished product. The best description might be to visualize a newspaper photo on a piece of metal. This process is generally not recommended for outdoor use due to the risk of fading. This is the most economical image option offered to enhance your plaque.

Can you explain about Mountings and Hardware?

Franklin Bronze Plaques prepares each plaque for standard mounting and provides the appropriate hardware at no additional cost. The type of hardware necessary is based on the type of surface you’ll be mounting on. Beyond our standard hardware, we also offer tamper-resistant hardware, welded stake mounts in three different lengths, post mounts with tamper-resistant hardware for larger plaques, and mechanical garden stakes for aluminum plaques.

You may view our mounting options on that specific page of our website, or contact us at your convenience. We’d be happy to explain the different options for your specific application.

How about some Helpful Hints?

The best way to begin the process is to consider the text, graphics and images to be included, along with the space available for mounting. It’s also helpful to have a budget in mind and provide that information when sending your request. If we have that information before-hand, we can generally simplify the process.

Take a look at the various pages on our website for design ideas. While we can’t always exactly duplicate a previous design, we can certainly provide something similar.

When you’re deciding on the overall size you’d like, cut a piece of newspaper that size and tape it up where the plaque will be mounted. Sometimes, when you see the actual size in its location, you’ll find the need to adjust for a better overall appearance.

If we’ve provided a few different layout options and you’re not sure which you prefer, tape them to the wall in a place you’ll pass by fairly frequently. One of the designs will naturally catch your eye more so than the others, making your decision a little easier.

Forward as many details as possible with your request, including the mounting surface and billing/shipping address. It’s much easier to have that information at the beginning than to try to chase it down when the order is approved, which can lead to potentially missing certain details, delaying the processing of your order.

What is the difference between a standard plaque and a custom-ordered plaque?

The difference between “standard” and “custom” can sometimes be a gray area. Several different details come into play when determining the difference. For instance, you might have a “standard” size plaque with “custom” text and/or graphics; or just the opposite. Generally speaking, all text is “custom”. And, as with everything, there are exceptions. The exception to this would be a National Register of Historic Places plaque with “standard” text. These pieces have standard verbiage, as created by the Department of the Interior. However, you can create one of these plaques with “custom” text (the name of the individual property that has been listed, along with an address, architect, builder, date, etc.).

Borders, background finishes, graphics and mounting options can also be “standard” or “custom”. We’ve tried to give explanations of each on the various “Options” pages on this site. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding “standard” or “custom” aspects regarding your specific project.

Can you send me a catalog?

Yes, we would be happy to. You can request one by going to our "Contact Us" page or send us an e-mail with your address to info@frankinbronzeplaques.com

Do you manufacture Military Seals?

Franklin Bronze Plaques manufactures flat relief seals for all branches of the military in bronze and aluminum. We offer many different sizes to accommodate the various uses for these pieces. All military seals are prepared for mounting with studs, and standard hardware is supplied. Seals can be ordered with any of our standard background finishes or with our brown patina finish. These pieces are hand polished with a satin finish, providing a more natural look than the standard machine-sanded finish.

Along with our military seals, we also manufacture seals for several different governmental agencies.

What does your price include?

Generally speaking, our pricing is all-inclusive, meaning the text, border, background finish and mounting hardware are at no additional cost. Each plaque size has a pre-determined text allowance based on 1.5 characters per square inch. Additional costs are incurred when text exceeds these allowances, and this charge is part of the initial estimate sent. Custom borders or graphics are also quoted at the beginning of the process, sparing the customer from any surprises when it comes time for final order approval. We do offer several non-standard background finishes, and these costs are quoted as part of the initial request. Most mounting methods are included in the price of the plaque, with the exception of welded stake mounts, posts, roadside brackets/poles and tamper-resistant hardware. These items are clearly listed on the estimate for your review, along with shipping charges.

What type of payments do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express, generally processing full payment when layout approvals are received. For orders exceeding $1000, customers have the option of splitting the payment into a 50% deposit at layout approval, with the balance to be processed at time of shipment. Customers may also submit payment via check, which requires full payment in our office prior to the beginning of production. We do accept fully executed purchase orders from government agencies, municipalities and/or educational institutions.

Why Franklin Bronze Plaques?

Franklin Bronze Plaques is one of only a few plaque retailers in the United States that manufacture most of the products they sell. When you call our office, you are speaking directly to the people responsible for producing your design, as well as casting, finishing, inspecting, and shipping your plaque. There are no middlemen to contend with; you won’t wait days for a response to your inquiry; you won’t have to wonder where the product is being made. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service, quick response times, and timely delivery schedule. We pay close attention to each detail of every order, making our customers feel as if they are the ONLY customer we’re working with at that time. With us, it’s personal….

Can I get my plaque with a patina finish?

We offer several different patina finishes, the most popular being the brown patina. This is a chemical-based hand rubbed finish, instead of a standard painted background finish. This particular finish lends itself to a more antique or aged look with natural variations in the bronze possibly being noticeable. There is an additional cost associated with this finish, which is available on plaques up to size 36” x 24”.