Sawatzky Blog: Adding Texture to Precision Board with a Die Grinder

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to announce a series of guest blogs written by Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corporation, which will be posted on the Precision Board Blog each month. This month Dan Sawatzky shows us how he quickly adds a hand-chiseled texture to Precision Board projects using an air-powered die grinder.  He says it adds value to their work while actually saving fabricating time!

In Dan’s own words…

One of the things we are renowned for is texture. We incorporate textures into almost everything we do. Texture creates a wonderful look and in our opinion is a way to add value to our work while actually saving us time in fabricating our creations. Even though we often use modern machines and tools, our work looks and feels hand-made.

A while back we created a sign for a chiropractor. I textured the good sized project using the method I describe below. On a whim I timed the process as I worked. The six foot by four foot sign took me about 18 minutes to accomplish the texture using an air-powered die grinder. When I delivered the sign the customer was extremely impressed I had textured the sides and back of the sign. As he gently rubbed his hand over the beautifully textured surface he commented to me that it must have taken FOREVER to accomplish the task. I smiled at him and said ‘You have no idea!’ He happily accepted his sign and paid his bill knowing he had received excellent value.

Most sign makers finish the sides and backs of their signs by sanding out every imperfection, filling any holes or dings and sanding some more as necessary. That’s perfectly fine as Precision Board sands easily. We take a different tact on most projects. Rather than sand things smooth, we instead deliberately introduce texture to these surfaces. I love the hand-chiseled look but I do it with a die grinder. It is a whole lot faster!

We are currently creating an order for a mini golf that had forty signs in all. With forty signs and three layers of Precision Board in each sign it made an impressive stack.

We routed the top 1” thick layer of Precision Board with a woodgrain texture and raised lettering and edges. The centre layer was 3/4″ thick PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU with a hole in the centre. We inserted a piece of 3/4″ plywood into these centre holes so we had something secure for our mounting screws (from the back). The third layer was another piece of 3/4″ 30lb Precision Board. I glued these layers together using PB Fast Set glue. To keep things together while the glue set up I used lots of clamps and a couple of screws in the corners to keep things aligned.

Once the glue was set I took off the clamps and fired up the die grinder. I did the top outer border first using random strokes to quickly take off just enough material to leave a texture.  Then I did the side edges before adding small quick 45 degree bevel to the top corner.

The backs of the signs were then textured and another small bevel on the back corner edge at a 45 degree angle. In less than two minutes this sign was ready for paint.

Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation is a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous national and international awards.

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force and visual storyteller extraordinaire. His art career spans almost fifty years of magic. Dan’s passion is to design and create imaginative places that take people from the normal world to a setting of delight and wonder.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane sign material that is particularly effective for making professional-looking indoor and outdoor dimensional signs.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.