Letterheads: Keepers of the Craft – 40th Anniversary

For generations, men and woman designed, carved, lettered and painted signs by hand. In today’s world, machinery is taking the lead in signage with its ability to mass produce or “set it and forget it”, but what about the flowing subtleties and unique touches that lead to a top-notch sign? Letterheads ‘Keepers of the Craft’ are all about keeping traditions alive and Coastal is proud to be a part of the 40th anniversary.

This special 40th anniversary will be held, appropriately, at the American Sign Museum in a few weeks on September 24th through the 27th. This four-day event will offer two days of formal workshops – aka, Letterhead University, and two days of informal sessions such as panel jams, murals, impromptu demonstrations, and more. The workshops offer a range of topics with an emphasis on traditional techniques and design.

Coastal Enterprises has sponsored the Letterhead Meets, with Precision Board HDU, since the early 90s, and still to this day, we are very honored to be part of it. Kellie Miller will be in attendance for all 4 days of Letterhead40, and besides having a table, she will be available at the workshop offered by Noella Cotnam and Shane Durnford, “Letter carving and Then Some”. She’ll be there to help with any and all questions regarding HDU and finishing products (Primers, adhesives, texture coatings, etc.). This is a 2-day class offered on the 24th and 25th among the 28+ classes available, but time is of the essence as these classes fill up quickly.

If you don’t have time for the workshops, stop by Coastals table for free samples and demonstrations.

Online Registration ends on September 10th so be sure to register ASAP!

Letterhead40 Registration


Noella Cotnam, 2009. Don’t forget to sign up for her carving class co-taught with Shane Durnford.


Cam Bortz – Callander, Scotland, 2006


Stewart McLaren, Brenda Daley, Mike Meyer – Winter Muster, 2004

photo 1.1

Mozeppa Muster, 1999



Terry Colley – Callander, Scotland, 2006

letterhead timeline

Bring a piece from a past letterhead meet to share with others and place on the 48ft display shelf!

Check out their website, www.letterhead40.com, or look for them on Facebook! You’ll find more details about the meet and see more pictures that will give you an even greater appreciation for the craft. Hope to see you there!


Signwriters Unite in Mazeppa!

Mazeppa Mardi Gras Letterhead Meet was held last week at Mike Meyer Signs in Mazeppa, MN. Representing 4 countries, 100 sign makers braved the cold Minnesota weather for sign seminars, music, meals, and fun. Kellie Miller, Customer Relations Manager at Coastal Enterprises was in attendance and has provided a recap of the festivities:

There was so much amazing talent in the small town of 850! All the beautiful panels, gold leaf, signwriting,                   3-dimensional signs, glass gilding, and truck lettering made it a plethora of the senses. The energy, laughter, conversations, and talent were overwhelming!  It was such a great environment to learn, practice, and try techniques for the first time. (Not to mention build relationships with people from around the world!)

IMG_1213Doug Haffner of Haffner’s Fantastic Creations carves into Precision Board Plus.

A donated sheet of Precision Board Plus PBLT-15, along with numerous samples, provided a great opportunity for attendees to hone or experiment with their carving skills, with many painted, gold-leafed and smaltzed signs coming to life as the event came to a close.

Mike Meyer always puts on such great meets and if you haven’t attended one, you must sign up! www.mikemeyersigns.com

I had an absolutely brilliant time with so many wonderful people whom I’m honored to have as friends.  Thank you Mazeppa! ~ Kellie

IMG_1334Kellie Miller (right) and Cheryl McLean (Blackboard Art) of Australia

For a great local article about the event please click here.

IMG_1246Michael Clark, owner of Clark Signs applies gold-leaf onto a sign made out of Precision Board Plus.

Unknown-1The finished sign!

IMG_1394Another beautiful sign from the meet, built by Rick Dolphens and Adam Scholljegerdes.



Dan Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation

Perhaps one of the most innovative forces in the signage industry today, Dan Sawatzky and his Imagination Corporation are a household name among many sign makers. Dan has been a friend of Coastal for many years and is a huge fan of Precision Board Plus, especially the higher densities such as PBLT-30 and PBLT-40.

Kellie Miller, our Customer Relations Manager has been friends with Dan since the late 90’s after meeting at Rick Glawson’s Letterhead meet. Dan was interested in incorporating HDU into some of his creations, and proceeded to test out different brands, with Precision Board Plus emerging as the winner.

Since then, Dan has used Precision Board Plus HDU exclusively and has won many awards for his work. One of the coolest things about Dan is also his willingness to help and teach others. This is evident in the sign and sculpting workshops he holds at his shop in Chilliwack, BC Canada. In addition to Precision Board Plus HDU, Dan also uses FSC-88WB Primer/FillerPB Bond-240, and Abracadabra Sculpt.

Besides signs, he is also heavily involved in interior and exterior architectural theming and readily incorporates Precision Board Plus into his themed environments. Dan routes most of his projects on his MultiCam 3000 Series 4-axis CNC router using  software.

His blog is updated frequently and has extremely detailed tips on how he makes the magic happen with his signs, sculptures and themed environments. We host it on our website in addition to this one, so if you have a second, be sure to check it out!

****Update: Dan Sawatzky’s next Sign Magic workshop will be held this November 6 – 8 in Hackensack, NJ. Full information available here.

Here is some of the award winning work done made by Dan:

2012 International Competition – Signs of the Times

Fox and Hounds Pub – Second Place in the Sign Systems category


2011 International Competition – Signs of the Times

First Place – Commercial Sign Systems – MultiCam Western Canada

 Second Place – Commercial Monument Signs – Dhillon Farms

 Third Place – Commercial Building Signs – Shmyer’s Harbor Sign

2010 Sign Media – Canadian National Competition

Best in Show & Winner – Unique Signs – Sextant