How To Make Prismatic Letters Stand Out With Synergy Sign & Graphics

1901341_10153802809240368_785612181_n“If I were to have used a lower density, the prismatic letters wouldn’t look half as sharp,” says Jim Dawson, owner of Synergy Sign & Graphics. He’s talking about a sign he made recently for F.S.R.C. Tanks, Inc., boasting prismatic letters that came out sharp as a knife.

Jim is the previous builder of the custom gearbox made from Precision Board Plus PBLT-30 and is well known for his creativity and innovation.“I wanted this sign to scream something different, something that would make it stand out from the normal signs people see every day. The owner of F.S.R.C. asked us to build him a sign that would be unique, but would also last forever, and we came up with the perfect idea,” recalls Dawson.

Jim started this job with two sheets of 2″ x 4′ x 8′ Precision Board Plus PBLT-30, cutting them both on his 5′ x 10′ MultiCam CNC machine with software. “We CNC routed the 30lb. Precision Board, which is twice as dense as the 15lb. and can hold an extremely high level of detail. I knew if I were to try 15lb, the prismatic letters wouldn’t have the same pop as 30lb, which weighed in on my final decision,” explains Jim. “After we CNC-routed each face, we tig-welded an aluminum frame and attached it to the back of each sheet to provide strengthening and reinforcement.”

The pillars, as you may notice, are neither identical, nor entirely uniform. “As a graduate of Dan Sawatzky’s sculpting class, and thus, an amateur sculptor, I decided to shape the fiberglass-reinforced concrete posts entirely by hand. By doing this we hoped to give part of the sign a truly man-made aspect, as opposed to using cardboard forms as would most often be the case,” states Dawson.

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Of course, the detail on the substrate isn’t the only thing that stands out on this sign. “We used a pretty bright color combination for the sign to add to it’s ‘wow’ factor,” reveals Jim. “After we primed the sign with Coastal’s FSC-88WB Primer/Filler, we used Sherwin-Williams Acrylic Latex Paints, Incredible White and SW6967 Frank Blue, to give it a really vibrant finish.”

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Synergy Sign & Graphics is not your ordinary sign shop! See more of their beautiful designs here.




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.

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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.

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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!

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A Hand-Carved Crawdad Creation

When speaking with our latest Facebook contest winner Jon Peterman about his very unique “Crawdad Festival” sign, I found out that the sign was not made for a customer, but as a sign he keeps in his shop for customers to see (his town has an annual “Crawdad Festival”). For this showpiece, Jon was able to make this sign appear to be made from aged wood, when in reality it was Precision Board Plus coupled with some clever finishing techniques.

Jon started by laminating 2 pieces of 1″ PBLT-18 HDU together. Once bonded, a die grinder was used to simulate knots and deep grooves into the board, with a small wire brush for the finer grain lines.

The “Crawdad” letters consist of 1/2″ Precision Board HDU attached to 1/4″ PVC with Magic Sculpt (which can be used as an adhesive or a texture.), and the “Festival” letters were also cut out of 1/2″ Precision Board Plus HDU. All letters were cut out by hand using a scroll saw.


The “aged wood” look was achieved by paint techniques Jon acquired while attending one of Dan Sawatzky’s Sign Magic Workshops. After priming the sign using FSC-88WB, Jon prepared a glaze using a Sherwin Williams ultra deep base and adding bluish gray paint. While another glaze was created by taking the same base and adding red-brown. The darker portions of the wood were finished by alternately wiping the separate glazes onto the board and wiping them off, leaving it in the deeper grain lines and knots.


The happy looking crawdad was also made by creative, inspiring techniques. Using a styrofoam ball attached to the Precision Board HDU with Magic Sculpt, Jon shaped it and applied tin foil in several locations to form the crawdad. The antennae were made by taking a piece of tie wire he had in his shop and tying one end to his work table, attaching the other end to a wood screw hook he chucked into his drill, turning it on and watching it twist. The wire was primed using FSC-88WB and painted with Ronan Aquacote paint, marking the finish of this hand-crafted masterpiece.


Jon Peterman is the owner of JP Graphics, located in Grants Pass, OR. For more information, please visit his website our check out his Coastal Enterprises Directory Listing.


Signs With Authority – A 55′ long Precision Board Sign

Talk about a sign with some authority! Jeff Wisdom, owner of Oregon SignWorks in Springfield, OR, sent in some pictures of a particularly impressive project he recently completed.

Suspended under a massive 11,000 lb., 85′ long, 36″ diameter Douglas Fir timber is a 55′ long Precision Board Plus sign. Built for the Oregon Garden Resort, the sign consists of 6 full 4′ x 8′ sheets of 1″ thick PBLT-18 and one additional 36″ wide piece. The words “Oregon Garden” were spelled out using 1″ thick PBLT-18 letters cut on Jeff’s MultiCam CNC router. Dibond was used as a core material for additional strength.


Using some critical thinking and elbow grease, Jeff was able to hand-carve realistic looking wood grain into the sign. To accomplish this, several custom tools were used: a 3-prong garden hoe Jeff bent into a custom shape for the larger grain lines and a Nu-Pride Adhesive Spreader with the teeth filed down for the finer grain lines. The knots were shaped using a traditional v-groove wood carving tool. After the wood grain simulation was finished, Jeff primed the sign using FSC-88WB Primer/Filler and painted it with Sherwin-Williams acrylic paint. As you can see, the sign turned out beautiful.

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Supporting the sign is a massive timber structure that was constructed by Nash Logworks, located in Cottage Grove, OR. Each upright log was held in place by two 1/2″ thick x 6″ wide and 8′ long metal plates attached to each side. For structural strength, 4′ of each metal plate was tied down into the concrete and secured with rebar. Coats of Sikkens exterior stain provided weatherproofing and coloring. Total dimensions of the timber structure are 22′ tall x 85′ wide!

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Not to be overlooked is the beautiful 3-d sign located beneath the larger, hanging sign. Cut on Jeff’s CNC router out of PBLT-18, there was a whopping 6 different layers of Precision Board used to create a sharp 3-d look. The finer details were carved into the CNC cut sign with hand tools, and it was finished with the same primer/paint process as the larger sign.

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Jeff started making signs out in Los Angeles, CA in 1987 and eventually opened his own sign shop in his home state of Oregon in 1994. After spending a couple of years making vinyl signs, a visit to a trade show sparked his interested in dimensional signwork and he has specialized in them ever since. As a big fan of hand-carving, Jeff likes Precision Board Plus because of the absence of wood grain and the ease of cutting/carving.

Be sure to check out his website at: to see more amazing signs!