Using Primer to Make Wood Grain Texture on Precision Board HDU

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 used our FSC-88 WB Primer and some bristle brushes to create a faux wood grain texture on his Precision Board HDU mermaid statues.  These statues will eventually get a weathered look and be installed next door at The Hazelnut Inn.


In Dan’s own words…

The mermaids we routed last month from massive blocks of PBLT-30 Precision Board on our Rotary axis MultiCam turned out fabulous. The two figures were routed to steel structures with some 2” x 2” tubing down the back. These steel structures will be used to mount the figureheads permanently over the bed in the Hazelnut Inn in due course. For now they served as a sturdy temporary stand while we worked on the pieces. We knew there would be a fair amount of handwork to finish things off, but that’s the fun part!

We used a grinder and air powered hand die grinder to take away the bits we didn’t want and also to add a bit of basic textures. The patching and additions of clothing were done using sculpting epoxy.

Then it was time for some more magic. The perfect product for this step was some FSC-88 WB Primer. We generally have two gallon cans on the go in our shop. One is new and just as the folks at Coastal Enterprises sent it to us – a thick bodied primer. The second gallon we keep is much thicker because we’ve had it a while and have been using it. The primer thickens up marvelously if the lid isn’t nice and tight when it is stored. This super thick primer was brushed on generously and then various stiff bristle brushes (think pieces of broom) were dragged through it to form the woodgrain.

In key areas we drilled out a section, sculpted in a knot using sculpting epoxy and then formed the woodgrain around it. After the primer had dried we went back with a thin bladed grinder and die grinder to cut in some deep slits in the woodgrain. A teeny bit of sanding was done to knock off some lumps and even things out a tad. Our goal was to make the figureheads look like they were 200 year old weathered artifacts.

Then it was time to begin the painting magic. We began – as always, with three hand brushed coats of acrylic house paint.

Once the base coats of paint were in place and thoroughly dry it was time for blending on more colours. The two figureheads will still get more blended coats of paint onto the woodgrains. We’ll age things down considerably and then go on to the glazing to make it all look like an ancient artifact. Those wonderful woodgrains created using Coastal Enterprises FSC-88 WB Primer will shine through when we are done.

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.

Duratec Coatings and Precision Board Tooling

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to host guest blogs written by some of the industry’s biggest movers and shakers, posted to the Precision Board Blog.  This guest blog is written by Jody Wyse, Western Regional Sales Manager for Hawkeye Industries, manufacturers of Duratec polyester and vinylester coatings, headquartered in Bloomington, California.  Jody talks about trying different Duratec coatings on smaller size samples of Precision Board tooling board to decide the best finish possible and avoid costly hiccups before ordering materials or starting on a new tooling project.


In Jody’s own words…

Almost every time I meet with a customer about building new tooling out of Precision Board, they say they want the best finish possible. “The best finish possible” has a different meaning to almost every customer, so this is followed by a somewhat lengthy conversion about how they can achieve their individual desired result.

Depending on the exact product being built, they may need to make hundreds of parts that need a near perfect mirror-like finish, or it may be a one-off, sanded and post-painted part. “The best finish possible” is very different for each of these projects.

My suggestion is for them to make small Precision Board samples using several products and methods to determine exactly the finish they want prior to doing any actual building, or ordering materials for the project. Coastal Enterprises offers no-cost or low-cost samples in all their densities, which can be used for this purpose. I normally make these samples with them to ensure the tooling department understands each product and how it fits into the quality of the finished part. In tooling, unexpected results and surprises are not a good thing.  The tooling department should know exactly how each product works and what the finished tool will be like before they take the first step in building the tool.


Many tooling products require different techniques or handling to achieve the desired result when compared to similar products typically used in production. Understanding them can be the difference between a very successful first tool, and starting over from scratch with lengthy delays and cost overruns. Small investments of time in testing and training upfront can lead to huge savings of both time and money quickly. Training and assistance is normally provided at no charge by the supplier, so I always recommend that a representative from each supplier all meet at the customer’s location at the same time at least once prior to starting the project to discuss the available product options.

After the customer has used these products a few times and understands them, the interactions with the suppliers become less frequent, unless new requirements come into play.


This was built from Precision Board tooling board and cut to the shape of a hull.  I then coated it with our Black VE Primer. 1/2 of it was then coated with our Clear VE Top Coat. Left side of pic is the sanded and polished primer, the right side is the Clear VE Top Coat.

Both will achieve a gloss.  The Top Coat’s gloss will be better, and an important aspect is that the Top Coat will retain that gloss after multiple parts are made from it. The primer loses its gloss quicker.  This can work well for one-off parts, or situations where a high gloss isn’t needed.

Still have questions about using Duratec with Precision Board tooling?  You can reach out to our team at 909-546-1160 or send us an email.

Hawkeye Industries is proud to be the master distributor of the Duratec line of putties, primers, sealers, and topcoats.  Duratec Polyester and Vinyl Ester products are famous for their ability to cure completely when applied to plug/pattern surfaces.  That thin-film, air-cure capability makes Duratec ideal for the composites industry.  Check out their website or give them a call at (909) 546-1160 0r (800) 977-0060 if you are interested in more information on how Duratec products work with Precision Board tooling board.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane material used extensively in the tooling industry.  It is a closed-cell, rigid, dimensionally-stable substrate that is ideal for use in a number of different tooling applications.  Request free samplesget a quote or sign up for weekly e-blasts packed with helpful information.

Priming High Density Urethane – Did You Know?

Did you know Coastal Enterprises manufactures a water-based primer that is high in solids, which is perfect for HDU, but can also be used on wood*, metal and concrete?

*Priming wood? Reduce FSC-88 with water by 25% to increase absorption and improve adhesion.

primerFSC-88 WB is a sprayable, brushable, rollable water based primer/filler that is used on Precision Board Plus HDU or any number of substrates prior to finishing with paints and coatings.

Use FSC-88 WB when a smooth surface is desired or when a seam line or small area needs to be filled.

It can also be used on any type of background, like sandblasted or routed textures as a primer. Make sure to dilute with water as necessary to obtain appropriate spray pattern. It dries quickly and can be sanded easily.

FSC-88 WB Primer/Filler is not just used for signage, but a variety of applications, including modeling and prototyping.

We have some helpful blogs on priming of Precision Board HDU:

There are resources available on our website for priming and filling with FSC-88 WB under the How To/Training Tips section.

Watch the how-to video for using FSC-88 WB Primer/Filler under the Training Videos section.  While there, check out other how-to videos for using the full line of adhesives, primers and coatings available from Coastal Enterprises.

In addition to free samples of Precision Board HDU, you can get free samples of our companion products, including FSC-88 WB to try for yourself.  Try a sample of FSC-360 WB Filler, which works well in conjunction with FSC-88 WB.  FSC-360 WB is a water based crack filling and repair material specifically formulated for use on Precision Board Plus High Density Urethane (HDU). It also works well on wood, metal, and adheres to most plastics. FSC-360 WB Filler dries quickly and sands easily. Use FSC-360 WB Filler for repairing scrapes, holes, or any type of damage.

Quality Signs come from Quality Material

With over 40 years of experience as a Sign-maker Danny St.Clair, owner of St.Clair Signs Inc., knows that quality signs come from quality material. That’s why when he and his son/business partner Matthew St.Clair were contracted by The Pete Store of Raphine to create these beautiful dimensional signs, he knew he had to use Precision Board Plus and Companion Products.

Priming back panel             Cut pb

The frame inside was for added rigidity, but mainly used as a frame to attach four bolts through the rear of the sign for mounting purposes. You can see the detail of this in the photographs.

The frame inside was for added rigidity, but mainly used as a frame to attach four bolts through the rear of the sign for mounting purposes.


For this project they used two 1in. thick pieces of 15 lb. Precision Board Plus, FSC-88 primer, PB Bond 240, FSC-360 WB. The CNC machining they outsourced to Harbor Sales (who also supplied their Precision Board Plus). “They did a great job of machining the material and have great customer service as well!” Says Matthew St.Clair.

Perspective view of final unmounted Final Mounted Service(1)

“This was our first time working with Precision Board Plus and Companion Products, we were very satisfied with the end results. We have been very impressed with the reputation of Precision Board and its versatility. One of our heroes is Dan Sawatzky, so we have been greatly impressed and educated by his experiences. We wanted something lightweight with the ability to be routed and this was it.”

Parts Final Mounted Front

Full Front sign

Mounted Final Exterior Sign

If you’d like to talk with Matthew or Danny at St.Clair Signs, please call 540-258-2191 or send an email to

If you’re interested in more information on Precision Board or to be featured in one of our blogs, contact us today!

A Sign Is The Welcome Mat For A Business

Having a nice sign at a restaurant is imperative – it is the welcome mat for passersby and one of the best representatives of the business.

Vic Holt, owner of Rev Art in Decatur, AL sent in some pictures of a sign he made for the “Back Alley Bistro“, a restaurant also located in Decatur. When the customer came to him wanting an old-fashioned looking sign but with a modern edge for their business, Vic knew he could create the sign desired using his CNC router coupled with Vectric Aspire CNC Software.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 1.36.13 PM

Using Precision Board Plus PBLT-15, Vic used his CNC machine to carve the double-sided sign before priming it using FSC-88WB Primer/Filler. After the primer, Vic applied the initial paint coat, starting with the color which belonged in the deepest recesses of the sign. Using a combination of rollers, foam brushes and bristle brushes, Vic applied separate colors of Sherwin-Williams Exterior Latex/Acrylic, using a foam roller on the highest parts of the sign while taking care not to over-saturate the roller to avoid drips.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 1.45.35 PM

After the paint is complete and the sign is installed, Vic makes an on-site visit to inspect for any imperfections that might require touch-ups which may be more easily visible in the sunlight. Giving his customers the best is not enough – his goal is to ensure his customers are permanently satisfied with his work.

Be sure to visit: for more info!

photo (2)