Making Stuff and the Cranks Arms Pub Sign

There’s been a bit of interest in the Cranks Arms pub sign, and I was asked to write up a little bit about how it came about. Now, I’m not really a blogger so it’s taken me a while to get around to it.

Some small back story is needed first. Way back when, before we became Cranks (see How the Cranks got their stars), a group of us on a motoring forum got together to take part in the inaugural Revolve 24 at Brands Hatch in 2015. As a bit of fun, I made up a batch of race plates for us all to have on our bikes.  These proved quite popular, and so stuck the tag that I was the chap who makes stuff.

What I’ve made so far:

PistonHeads race plate for Revolve 24, 2015
Gruffy’s (the Adventure Capitalist) tri bar bridges for TCR No.4
PHUK race plate for Rad am Ring 2016
Event bike rack for Rad am Ring 2016
Laurence’s (Hobo Hobbit) tri bar bridges for Tour Aotearoa 2018
Cranks race plate for Rad am Ring 2017
Cranks pub sign for Rad am Ring 2017

So why a pub sign? There was a lot of banter/discussion after the first Radamring about what to do next time. We joked about having a English pub, what with the event being so dominated by Germans, a little piece of England for us would be a bit of fun. Now, building a “pub” and transporting it 500 miles to the Nurburgring is logistically a bit tricky, so what could I do to keep the theme, but transportable? A pub sign idea was born.

This killed two birds with one stone, it kept the theme, but it could also be used as an easily identifiable pit marker. We learned from our first Radamring that pit ID could be troublesome, you know roughly where you are on the trackside, but exactly where is a bit more difficult, especially so at night. We saw that the old hands at this 24hr racing malarkey had flashing beacons, or flags to show their pit and so I wanted to go one better and have the ultimate pit marker.

So, onto making the sign. I had some old pressure treated timber left over from building a fence, and some off-cuts of MDF in the garage from various other builds, and so on one quiet day at home I set about building the sign. I wanted “rustic” like the sign had been around for years, and my only brief to myself was that it had to break down for transportation, so there were no real dimensions in mind, just “half scale-ish”

A few cuts, some chopping out to make joints and an hour or two later the main structure was built. Going at it with low grit sanding disks in the angle grinder aged the structure well.


Then onto the sign itself. By this time we had agreed on the name Cranks for the club, and so playing on that theme, and carrying it over to pubs, the cranks arms stencil was formed. To keep it rustic the stencil was only stapled into place rather than glued to ensure the edges bled to keep the aged look. A can of black spray paint and then a tea stain to age the MDF the sign was looking quite good.

Now I had to make the sign stand out at night. Onto Ebay and cheap as chips 12v LED strobes were bought and at first placed around the hanging sign. That wasn’t quite what we wanted, and so the strobes were moved to the vertical post, and some more cheap as chips “Knight Rider” strips were added to the sign.

The end result? A pit marker that could be seen from a good ¼ of a mile away as we came around Michelin Curve and Bit Curve onto the straight before the pit entry loop where we were camped. RESULT!

Pit marker by night
Pit marker by day

The sign has been out and about since. We used it at Revolve24 in 2017 as our Garage marker, and I took it to my local roads when the 2017 Tour of Britain came reasonable close to me.

As it stands I’m not sure where it will come out in 2018 yet, as our planned adventures don’t really fit the situation, but I do intend to get out to the ToB again this year, so all being well it will get on TV again. If you see it, be sure to wave.

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