It is hard to believe that it was only six years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated with what I saw and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research and LOTS of hands-on practice I quickly found out that my MultiCam router was capable of just about anything imaginable.This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as I continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful tool... -dan

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pictures of finished park - part two

Everywhere one looks in the Cultus Lake Adventure Park there is a great photo to be had. From the road the park looks inviting. We carefully layered the elements to maximize the space but also to show great from the road.

Everything is designed to integrate and work together. Space was tight in this facility and yet we managed to squeeze room in for long cue lines that will hold lots of guests and still leave the main pathways free of congestion. No detail went untouched. The signs, posts and operator booths  all are fully themed to tell the story.

The Wilderness trail is already a hit with our young guests and their parents. 

The gold panning is in this area and the sign is on the water tower.

Kids enjoy working the old pump handle to make the water come out. In the background is the old rail inspection car with a crank they can turn there as well.

 The bicycle rental area is outside the park gates..

I have plenty more pictures to show in the next post. Stay tuned...


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pictures of finished park - part one

Cultus Lake Adventure Park is now finished and open to rave reviews by the public. It's great to see everyone enjoying the project we worked on for so long! Since the park has opened I've been doing my best to get good pictures. The key is to get there at different times each day as the light changes every hour. I'll be posting pictures of the final project in the next few posts.

We built Giggle RidgeAdventure Golf fourteen years ago. Back then we planted a high hedge on the south side of the park to block the views from the golf as the neighbor attraction wasn't very pretty. As we designed the Adventure Park our plan was to take out the bordering hedges and instead integrate the new features and attractions into the old adventure golf. The trees were trimmed of their lower branches to offer a fabulous view from the old attraction.

The park is small but packed with features. This sign started out as a directional sign but we instead changed it to point FUN in every direction.

A new entrance on the east side of the park has this giant balloon photo op for guests.

Another very popular photo op is the horse and wagon. It's not often that there isn't someone perched on the horse or sitting in the wagon.

One of the more popular rides is undoubtably the Buckin' Bronco.

In hot weather Bucky's Bumper Boats always has a long line. I love the contrast of the warm colors with the cool blues of the pool.

The Carousel and Balloon Adventure is also popular.  The landscaping made a huge difference all through the park, adding life to our concrete sculptural work.

 Almost everyone stops and points out the laughing horse on the Saloon sign. The sign does exactly as I hoped.

I'll be posting lots more pictures in coming days. The park looks so great!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The magic of light

I design all of our signs to take full advantage of daylight. The textures, with the glazes are oriented to capture the highlights and the shadows are designed to create the illusion of even more depth. But we have to go further. When the skies darken and the lights come up we can also create wonderful effects without much effort. The secret is to plan our lighting to enhance our signs and features.

With the opening of the park this week we could finally see how everything would look as the lights were installed and hooked up. While the park looks great at night, when the sun slides behind the mountain and the light fades the lighting adds a whole new level of magic to the signs and features.

The electricians are still finishing things off and as they do I'll be taking more pictures to show the result. Stay tuned...


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Landscape by design

Many sign makers I know think mainly of the signs they create. A few try to incorporate some nice posts of perhaps a base. I like to go much further. The surrounding builds, structures and landscape are often part of our projects. The actual planing of the plants, is also an area of concern. Plantings can do so much to soften the edges, tie the sign into the whole picture ald also extend the effectiveness of our designs.

Them theme park is now starting an extensive planting phase. While we worked so hard on the hardscape the plants dramatically bring it all to life and tie it together. I'll be posting many more mixtures as they finish up the landscape for it changes the project and completes it in a wonderful fashion.

I'll be posting many more mixtures as they finish up the landscape for it changes the project and completes it in a wonderful fashion. Stay tuned...


Thursday, June 26, 2014


Today our team finished the creative work in Cultus Lake Adventure Park. It has been an exciting and busy ten month journey.  From the start we anticipated we would still be painting after the park opened it's gates but through the hard work (and lots of overtime) of our crew we managed to finish two whole days ahead of the park opening. Final pictures of the park will have to wait until next week as the park crew is still hauling in the landscaping materials and finishing their work. Final cleanup of the site will not happen until just before the park opening.

In the meantime I have been taking pictures of the completed signs and other features as I am able.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Last week of Cultus Lake Adventure Park construction

The Cultus Lake Adventure project is massive by most shop standards. The project started back in the middle of September of last year. Now we are in the final week of production with the gates to swing open to the public next Saturday. That leaves five working days to complete our work. While we have been putting in about an hour of overtime per day and two saturdays of pure overtime the pace in the last weeks has been steady - not rushed. We are actually ahead of where I thought we would be at this point. And that is a good thing!

The signs we have been working on over the last year are now pretty much all in place and looking mighty fine with all of the supporting theme work around them. In the next week we have plenty of painting to do while the owner's crews add soil to the planters, water to the creeks and ponds and even some sidewalks to pour. It is going to be a week of high energy. This will be combined with the operational crew also coming on site for their training to run the rides and handle the expected crowds. Excitement builds.

I thought I would share a few pictures of the project as it finally comes together. This is the very same vision I imagined back before the first shovels hit the dirt.

The carousel and balloon ride are now fully functional and ready for our guests.

The saloon is ready for the operational crew to move in and start serving guests.

The western themed trading post got it's last paint on Thursday

The rides are being tested, sometimes with our crew as eager volunteers. I snapped this picture from the top of the Windmill Drop.

We finished the paint on the western gate on Friday. I'll install the entrance sign on the upper cross beam tomorrow.

Bucky's Bumper Boat area was finished on Thursday. I was at the site today for a planning walk through and the pool is full and ready for the bumper boats.

This will be the last week I am out of the studio and I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things there. As the current worksite is cleaned and polished in preparation for the opening I'll be taking plenty more pictures of the project and I'll be sure to post them here. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More signs installed

As the project nears completion the pace is certainly ramping up. Today the last of the concrete walkways was poured inside the park, leaving only sidewalks around to go. Our crew is now down to paint and details with eight more workdays before the gates open to the public.

We installed two dimensional signs today. The first was on the Happy Horse Saloon. It sure is good to se the sign out of our studio at last and on the wall where it belongs.

We also welded the Pedal Power by the Hour sign into place on top of the pole. We'll be doing the last of the sculpted concrete work tomorrow to finish it off.

There's only a few routed signs left to install including the washroom signs and the signs over the entrance. They'll go up later this week. Stay tuned for lots of pictures of the finish project soon and I'll include a walkthrough video of the park to show everyone how it all fits together. Stay tuned...