We built the sign structure around a heavy-duty horse watering trough. This large tub will hold the soil for the flowers. The sign was routed from 30-lb. Precision Board while the rest was sculpted from fiberglass-reinforced concrete. Matt did the bulk of the welding and sculpting on this piece.
In keeping with the storyline of the farm, the “wood” barrel and sign were painted and then aged heavily. “Rust” was also applied to the metal bits to ensure it fit in with all of the well-used antiques on the farm. Alyssa did the painting on this project.
The sign was installed in the middle of a stone planter on the farm to raise it above the crowds that gather for the delicious cookies. The chicken was sculpted from Abracadabra Sculpting Epoxy then bolted to the top. Two matching chickens were also sculpted for the roof of the coop.
This sign looks like it has been there since the farm was started thirty-five years ago. It will look even better during the operating season as they stack pumpkins around the base for a splash of color.
When I visited the farm, our client mentioned that he liked beefy brackets. To exceed his expectations, we cut them from half-inch-thick steel on our MultiCam CNC plasma cutter. It didn’t take any longer, and the material cost wasn’t much higher than thinner material.
This sign is made of six layers of 30-lb. Precision Board, laminated over a welded steel frame. Details are sculpted using Abracadabra Sculpting Epoxy. The sign was built on a shipping frame which fit into the semi trailer with a fraction of an inch to spare—just as planned.
The Pie Barn sign was placed in the rock garden and looks like it grew there for decades. Colorful mums will decorate the flower bed in the fall season. The bracket and lettering colors of the sign perfectly match the big red barn.

Themed signage down on the farm

Every sign helps tell the story

By Dan Sawatzky

Posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2019

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We’ve long wanted to do farm signs. But even though we live in a farming community, we have done only a handful of farm sign projects through the years. Recently, we were delighted to get a call about doing a bunch of dimensional signs for a large pumpkin farm in Gretna, Nebraska.

We had met the owners last year at a large theme park convention in Orlando. They had attended a presentation which I had been privileged to give at the theme park expo about the “Importance of Story for Small Theme Parks.” They felt we were the perfect company to help them tell the story of their farm.

They first flew me down to Nebraska for three days of meetings. I toured the farm with the family and learned about their unique operation, which they had started thirty-five years previously. I answered endless questions over those days but I was also all ears as they told me about their operation. I was there to discover the story we would tell with the signs.

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Dan Sawatzky's shop, Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation, is in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Dan shares his experience in his Sign Magic Workshops on 3-D sign making, and his Sculpting Workshop.

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