Molten Metal Brought To Life In A Canadian Foundry

Behrends is a Canadian foundry and sign shop that has specialized in bronze, aluminum and brass plaques since 1952. A recent article in Sign & Digital Graphics showcases their talented processes and end-result creations.

Precision Board Plus plays an important role at Behrends, being utilized whenever they require patterns or finished products that require a high degree of detail and consistency. Other applications include concrete stamps, cast plaques that feature photo sculpts, and cast 3D crests.

This project features Precision Board PBLT-40 that was CNC cut into a pattern for a bronze crest for the Tacoma Police Department. Years ago, Behrends used MDF for these types of patterns, but MDF wasn’t stable enough to retain the levels of detail they needed when cut on the CNC machine, meaning a lot of extra time was spent in the finish stage hand-tooling the final products. Switching to Precision Board Plus alleviated this problem.

Please visit to see more of their amazing projects.

Additional information about the bronze casting process can be seen in the Sign & Digital Graphics Article on page 88.


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Click here and navigate to page 88 for a behind the scenes look at Behrends Bronze.

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Smaltz & Gold-Leaf: The Mark of A High-End Sign

As the proprietor of a sign shop, having a nice-looking sign for your business is a good rule of thumb. Dave Correll, owner of Brushwork Signs in Faribault, MN, recently decided to make a new sign for the outside of his business – a sign that was featured on the cover of SignCraft magazine!

According to Dave, “I started out making this sign for my business by CNC routing a 2′ x 4′ panel of Precision Board Plus PBLT-15 on my ShopBot. Next, I backed it up with MDO to give it enough strength to stand up to the sometimes harsh weather we see in Faribault. Because we wanted our sign to represent the quality and service of goods that can be expected from Brushwork Signs, I decided to go with a combination of 23K gold-leaf and smaltz to accent the sign.”

*A great step-by-step article by Sign & Digital Graphics on the time-honored tradition of gold-leafing can be seen here. 


As many sign makers are aware, smaltz is the technique of adding a crushed glass background to a sign, providing an eye-catching, unique texture. “In order for the glass to properly adhere to the sign, it is necessary to add a binding agent to the glass mixture. Through my years of adding smaltz backgrounds to 3-D signs, my binder of choice has become a custom mixture consisting of West Systems Epoxy mixed with Ronan Paints lettering enamel, because I’ve found it provides the best adherence qualities,” says Correll.

*An excellent SignCraft article on adding a smaltz background can be seen here.

The sign was finished with layers of Novacolor acrylic latex paints with a satin sheen to give it nice reflective qualities.

Dave got his start in the sign industry after attending the now-defunct hand-lettering course at the Detroit Lakes Vocational School. Throughout the two-year course he mastered the art of sign painting, and also met his wife Ann. After graduation, they each spent time at different sign shops for several years until the opening of Brushwork Signs in 1988, continuing to this day and specializing in all types of signage.

Look for a special project from Dave that will be on display at our booth #1347 at ISA Orlando this year!

Additional pictures of quality signs by Brushwork Signs can be seen at:

Mural Painting Examined

Mural painting is an art form few can claim to have mastered. Sign & Digital Graphics recently printed an article featuring Larry Polzin, owner of Stargazer Creations in Arvada, CO, showcasing his mural painting talents – which are definitely something to admire. Take a look at some of his recent work in Colorado and New York on page 131 of Sign and Digital Graphics magazine.

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An American Eagle’s Perch

KDF, a full-service sign shop out of Rockleigh, New Jersey made an awesome eagle for the Norwood Fire Company out of Precision Board Plus HDU not too long ago.

Designed to replace an antique wood eagle that sadly had started to fall apart after miraculously surviving a massive fire, the new eagle is made out of Precision Board Plus. Featuring an impressive array of red, white and blue LED’s, the new eagle is the epitome of elegance at night. Steve Hoey, owner of KDF was kind enough to send over additional pictures and a video not seen in the excellent Sign & Digital Graphics article from a few months ago.

Enjoy the video and pictures and be sure to check out the original magazine article for a full back story on the sign and the story of the antique wood eagle it replaced due to a fire.

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24k Gold Leaf Masterpiece!

Have you ever wondered how gold leafing is done? We had the opportunity to speak with Francis Bastow, Owner of Donehere Inc., located in Newark Valley, NY and he shared a couple of his most recent projects, and some gold leafing tips with me. Having been involved in the signage/bronze industry for most of his life, he is now retired and strictly does high-end work for churches.

Many of the projects he does involve gold leafing and lots of it. Francis has done work in churches all over the country, and most recently completed 2 separate Seraphim’s for churches in Warren, OH and Binghamton, NY.

Historically, many of the art pieces inside churches are done using basswood. Unfortunately, over time, humidity changes cause basswood to crack. On these last two churches, Francis opted to try Precision Board Plus HDU because it holds up well in extreme temperatures and will not absorb water.

These particular Seraphim’s were designed using ArtCam and routed from Precision Board Plus PBLT-18. Francis then primed them using FSC-88WB Primer/Filler. He then proceeded to the gold leaf stage. While many sign makers use 17k gold when gold leafing signs, Francis prefers to use 24k, which is pure gold. The benefits of using 24k gold leaf are that it will not tarnish, especially when touched by people.

Starting out, he applied sizing to the primed Precision Board Plus – he prefers a “slow” sizing, giving him more time to work. Once the sizing was applied, he knew when it was ready to apply the gold leaf by pressing his knuckle against it, and feeling it slightly stick to the surface. According to Francis, this is an old-timers trick. He then painstakingly applied the 3.5″ squares of 24k gold leaf until the Seraphim was completely covered. Once it was finished, he then applied raw umber to highlight the darker areas for definition.

You can see a  great guide on gold leafing by Sign & Digital Graphics here.

Additional info can be seen on Francis’ website at: