The creative minds and hands behind East to West Metal Works are Al Erickson and Kim Coish.
Al, a welder by profession, built his own CNC plasma cutting table for fun in 2017. After building it, he cut Kim a simple metal sign with their dog’s name in it. They explored the idea of powder coating to weatherproof their sign and rather than send it out elsewhere, they simply bought their own equipment and learned to sandblast and powder coat themselves.
They didn’t stop there though. They started trying new designs and found there was a demand for them in their friends and family so they started going to markets to see if the greater public would be interested in them and they saw an incredible response. Before long, it became a full time gig.
Their attention to detail and quality set their signs apart from the crowd. Kim and Al make all the pieces themselves in their workshop. They primarily use 16 gauge steel because it’s light enough to hang indoors on drywall but sturdy and strong enough to hang outdoors. Each piece is sandblasted after being cut and then powder coated. Powder coating is not just a different way to paint. It’s an electrostatic spray process where the powder particles are given an electrostatic charge while being sprayed which attracts it to the grounded metal. After being applied, the powder is cured in an oven which creates a chemical reaction that creates a strong, durable finish over the metal. While their most common request is black coating, they are able to do any colour a customer is interested in. When they’re doing a multi-colour piece, each colour has to be a new powder applied and baked on. Another one of their most popular finishes is heat treated. Here they polish the steel until it’s shining then burn it with a torch. The burning creates different colours with purples and blues and gold. After it’s burned, it’s powder coated with a clear powder coat so it’s good for indoors or outdoors.
One of the things Al and Kim love about what they do is that there is always something new and different to be working on. They like working with the challenges their customers bring them for custom pieces. More and more people are looking for personalized signs and so Kim and Al are used to guiding customers through the process for custom designs. Not only that, their turnaround time for a custom piece is only 2 weeks which makes them great options for wedding, anniversary or housewarming gifts.
You can find East to West Metal Works at Bountiful Farmers’ Market, Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market and Callingwood Farmers’ Market.
Did you know?
East to West Metal Works has 50 different dog designs to choose from!
Products at Market
- Powder coated metal signs