Fix a stone house number with a single hidden pin


So you’ve bought a beautiful new stone house number, beautifully engraved with your house number, perhaps with an ornate border or a motif of your favorite pet. You have to fix the sign in your house. You can simply pre-drill the stone and screw the sign in using stainless steel screws and plugs, however this will mean the screw heads will show through the face of the stone. Not a pretty sight! Or you could be smart and fix it with a hidden pin.

You will need: A pencil, Ruler, An electric, cordless or hand drill. A suitable pin, stainless steel, copper or brass. (later!) Two tungsten-tipped drill bits. Epoxy resin adhesive. Cocktail sticks for mixing glue. Cutting blade. A 20mm or thicker stone house number sign.

The sign: For this method, the stone must be at least 20 mm thick or more. Most natural stone house signs meet this requirement. The stone itself should be drillable, not granite or quartzite. If you plan ahead, your sign maker should be able to punch out the sign for you. This single pin fixing will hold a sign weighing up to 10 kilos depending on the quality of the pin.

The pin: The pin should be as resistant to rust and corrosion as possible. The ideal pin would be stainless steel 3-5mm in diameter and approximately 50-75mm long. Some hardware stores sell stainless steel rods. Alternatively, look for a copper or brass rod. Another option is to improvise, use a stainless steel or brass bolt and cut off the head. Or do you have tent stakes? These are often made from a strong rust resistant alloy steel and will be the perfect 5-7mm thick. For a lighter weight sign of 5 to 10 pounds, you can use a 3-inch galvanized nail. You may be thinking that if you cut the head off a nail (which you have to!) the end will rust, it won’t, believe me!

The bits: The first bit should be close to the diameter of the chosen pin, only a millimeter or two larger than the diameter of the pin. The second bit should be larger than the pin. Much larger, twice as large is fine, three times as large is also fine, 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 can be expensive. The two parts are usually mixed in equal amounts and the resin cures in a few minutes. Check packaging for normal cure times, this will vary based on temperature. As epoxies harden they go through a stage where they are dry to the touch but can be easily cut with a knife, this is the ideal stage to clean up excess glue.

A polyester resin based body putty adhesive or even a gunned construction adhesive can also be used. Take a look at what’s on the shelves in your workshop before you attack. Just make sure the adhesive is suitable for outdoor use and is waterproof.

Step 1. Place your number sign face down on a workbench with the top of the sign facing away from you. Mark a small cross in the center of the poster and about 40mm from the top. Put the smaller bit in your drill. You don’t want to drill holes into your beautiful new sign, so wrap some brightly colored electrical tape around the bit about 10mm from the point to act as a depth gauge. (If you have a thicker sign, you can drill deeper!) Start drilling normally at 90 degrees to the stone, then when you have a shallow start, angle the drill towards you and drill an angled hole in the stone at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. . (The exact angle is not critical, don’t worry too much!) Be careful, don’t drill too deep! 10-12mm is enough, watch out for the depth gauge! Do it in small stages, cleaning the drill frequently to remove dust buildup in the hole.

Step 2. Mix a small amount of epoxy, blow the powder through the hole in the back of the sign, and using a wooden cocktail stick or long match, fill the hole with glue. Push the pin in and then pull the pin in and out of the hole twisting back and forth to ensure the pin is covered with adhesive and that dust is no longer covering the hole and acting as a barrier between the epoxy and the stone. If necessary, remove the pin to add more epoxy. Allow to harden, continue to check for hardness, and cut off excess glue when dry to the touch.

Step 3. You now have a pin secured that protrudes from the back of your stone sign at a downward angle. Mark on the wall where you want the sign to be located. I suggest that if you are drilling bricks, try drilling 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 dowel pin. The angle should be as close to the same angle as your pin as possible. Have a friend help you find the correct angle and guide the drill. Now try to locate the pin in the hole, if the hole is almost to the right the sign will drop into the hole and the number will simply hang securely in position. At this point the stone sign is pretty safe and would hang like this for decades!

If the pin doesn’t fit correctly, don’t panic, just use the drill as a router, angling it up and down, reaming the hole more and more until the pin falls into place. You’ll notice that you can rotate the sign left and right as the stone hangs from the pin, it’s simple to get the numbers upright and level them by simply tilting the sign.

Step 4 – Now to fix the sign permanently. Blow excess powder out of the hole, mix in more epoxy, enough to fill the hole, plus a little more. Fill the hole and stir the epoxy in the hole with a cocktail stick to mix it into the brick dust. Put some 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 attached. You will notice that the pin, whether stainless steel or galvanized nail, is completely coated in waterproof resin and therefore will not rust or corrode.

Your number sign will hang there safe and sound as long as the wall survives!