Sawatzky Guest Blog: Zoe’s Pizza, Part 2

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 gives us a look into how he incorporates sturdy welded steel armature into his laminated Precision Board signs.
In Dan’s own words…
In our previous blog, we discussed the design and initial routing of the Zoe’s Pizza sign, including insight into how we constructed the welded steel frame. Today we’re going to look at how we create the final textures, colors, and glazes for the finished piece.
Once the PB Bond-240 adhesive had cured, it was time to add extra texture. Most people use their CNC machines to make everything perfectly square, perfectly straight, or perfectly smooth. We instead like to intentionally add texture to make our signs look handcrafted. This adds extra value and extra profit to our product. When we add texture to the edges (the CNC does a great job on the faces) we use an air-powered die grinder. It makes quick work of this dusty job.

In about twenty minutes I’ve finished about half of the edges, getting rid of the glue that expands out of the joint, while adding a beautiful random texture to the surface. We use a little sculpting epoxy to fill in the screw holes before we begin painting.

After one day of work (plus routing) we have made great progress. Another hour or so will have this portion of the sign ready for painting.

While our crew worked on that, I welded up a steel armature using 1/4” pencil rod. Steel lath was formed and tied over this framework. Then the sculpting process began using a polymer sculpting epoxy. Each feather and detail were formed individually and then pressed into place.

We prime each section using Coastal Enterprises’ FSC-88WB thick-bodied primer, and by not reducing with water we can purposely leave brush strokes in place. Once this has dried properly (with a fan) we triple coat using a good quality acrylic house paint. We use Sherwin William A-100 semi-gloss.
We do our blends on the second and third coat, followed by a series of subtle glazes to bring out the textures and make things really pop.

The finished sign was very striking with a lot of kid appeal. This was important as the pizza restaurant is situated next to a large play structure at the farm. The sign is now ready (we’ll bolt the sign to a sturdy steel pallet) for shipping along with a trailer load of other projects bound for our client in Nebraska. The signs will be installed at the end of July, well ahead of their season which begins on Labour Day.

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.