Sculpted Concrete Stone and Precision Board Plaque

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to host guest blogs written by some of the signage industry’s biggest movers and shakers, posted to the Precision Board Blog.  This guest blog is written by Jim Dawson with Synergy Sign & Graphics, based in Strasburg, Ohio.  Jim shows us how he created a memorial plaque out of steel, concrete and Precision Board that looks so much like one piece that you can’t tell where the rock ends and the urethane foam begins!  Read on to see how he crafted this masterpiece of mixed media!


In Jim’s own words…

In the fall of 2019, I was contacted by Kent State University Tuscarawas to come up with a memorial plaque to be placed near their walking path on the campus. They wanted to honor John Demuth for his service to the campus. They also mentioned they liked one of our previous sculptures that was produced for the owners of a local Harley Davidson dealership.


With that in mind, we developed a design that would use the same basic construction for the stone and embedded plaque. Once the proofs were submitted and approved, we started construction. The base plate and ribs that make up the framework were cut on our Multicam V-Series Plasma. We then assembled them using our Miller 212 Autoset Mig Welder. The framework was then wrapped in 1/4” pencil rod to frame out all of the stone geometry.

The plaque was programmed in Enroute Pro 6 software and then sent to our Multicam 3000 series router. The X-Edge XV2006 60º V groove bit handled all of the carving into the 2” thick PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU. The plaque was then mounted to the steel plate using PB Bond 240 urethane adhesive and stainless steel screws.

With the framework and plaque mounting complete, it was time to wrap the frame with galvanized metal lath in preparation for application of the fiberglass reinforced concrete.

Concrete application was next. We troweled on our special mix of fiberglass reinforced concrete and the waiting game began. Wait time was roughly 3 hours before we began to carve. As you can see from the pic, we leave the application very rough on purpose. It’s not until the carving stage that the details really start to show.

Once carving is complete, we allow the piece to dry for several days. It all depends on temperature and humidity.

We then paint the piece with three coats of exterior grade latex paint and allow it to completely dry between each coat. Once the base coats are dry, we apple a series of glazes that deposit colors into the cracks and pits in the piece. This step is when the pieces truly come alive.

Once special thing we did on this piece was add sand to the paint to blend the area where the plaque is. It worked beautifully!

We think that Jim Dawson and his team do some really excellent work. Synergy Sign & Graphics has a highly experienced staff whose backgrounds include graphic design, marketing, trade-show design, print media, branding, point of purchase design, fulfillment, and more. Check out their website or give them a call at (330) 878-7646 to see about your next project!

Coastal Enterprises offers free samples of Precision Board HDU.  Already have a project in mind for our material?  Request a quote and get started today.  Sign up for our monthly blog roundup so you don’t miss any of our informative blogs.  Have a special project fabricated with Precision Board HDU and want to know if it could be featured in a blog on our website?  Give us a call at 800-845-0745 or drop us an email with details.  We’d love to hear from you!

A busy 2 weeks.

After collecting my award for Best Novelty Sign at the EnRoute summit and meeting some super amazing people, it was time to return home and get ready for our first Sign Alchemy class.

 People started arriving for the class on Wednesday night and we spent some time hanging out at the shop and preparing for the days to come.  Everyone arrived Thursday morning eager to get started learning how we do what we do. Doug Haffner and Myself ( Jim Dawson ) spent time lecturing, demonstrating, and helping our attendees learn as much as possible over the 3 day class time. Each evening, we took the class out to dinner and then came back to the shop for more 1 on 1 instruction and sharing. The funny thing about teaching is that typically the teacher will learn as much as the student by trying things different ways.

I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we all learned a lot and never strayed too far from the spirit of fun that makes us who we are.

Here are some highlights from the class.

30lb Coastal Enterprises Precision Board Plus name plaques were carved for all attendees to customize and learn on.

Smooth-On is our official supplier for Mold Rubbers, Casting Resins, and Epoxy Clay materials. Here you see a mold we made at the class using Smooth-On Platinum cure silicone.


We also provided everyone with some awesome sample boxes filled with Smooth-On products and Coastal Enterprises coatings and Precision Board Samples to take home and play with.

Carved concrete demo panel.



Everyone finished out the 3 day workshop with some amazing pieces to take home. We are already busy planning workshops for next year.

Drop us a line if you are interested in attending one or both of our 2018 workshops we are planning.

Special thanks to the following sponsors who made this year’s workshop and overwhelming success!


Published with permission from Synergy Sign & Graphics. Source.

Enroute Summit 2017.

A couple of years back, I attended my first EnRoute workshop in Denver Colorado. I had and amazing time with some old friends and made some new friends along the way. When EnRoute announced it was holding a competition leading up to the 2017 Summit in Salt Lake City, I climbed all over it. Up for grabs were cash prizes, advertising opportunities, and free trips to the summit.

I’m happy to say that we placed 1st in the Novelty category with our gear set.

So, for the next 3 days, I get to hang out with the best of the best. I can’t wait to see what new things I learn.


Published with permission from Synergy Sign & Graphics. Source.