As many of our customers who have visited our Chicago facilities have witnessed, we have a sign collection in our warehouse from many of our past involvements. This collection has even been a feature article in the Chicago Tribune. One day while walking through this array of corporate identity it occurred to me that we ourselves did not have an interior sign that expressed our heritage.
I have been into woodworking since a very young age when I witness the skills of some master model ship builders who plied their craft in the wood shop of the lower levels of Lawndale Park (now Pictrowski Park) on the west side of Chicago. In 2006 I received a gift certificate from Jim and Howard Newman at our yearly Christmas party, as part of their way of celebrating their employees 5 year milestones. The gift certificate was designated for buying more tools for what they knew was my wood working hobby. With new tools in hand and a project in mind, the Loeb Sign Project was initiated.
The Loeb Equipment and Appraisal logo had developed through the course of the 5 generations of Newman owners and was present on every business card I had ever passed out while inspecting a myriad of plants in the course of my duties as a Certified Equipment Appraiser. It was my vision to create a 3 dimensional replication of this logo to present to the Newman Family.
For a sign to represent more than 130 years of service, I decided to use an aged piece of common wood that would be mostly hand worked. It was designed to be less than machine tool perfect, with a moderation of tool marks, and what could be considered normal aging, wear and tear. The project really started after the December 12, 2006 Christmas Party with the purchase of a 1 x 12 x 6 piece of white pine. That selected piece of wood was clamped to the work bench and left to age in my work shop while being used as a base for other projects and a general area to place tools and other things to achieve a well used appearance. In the meantime I had to figure out all the components size relationships; duplicate and transfer the font for the word “Loeb”; design and fabricate the test tube and gear; and finally work out all the 3D relationships.
By December of 2007 the letters were chiseled and carved out, the test tube was hand fabricated with a belt sander and the gear was designed but not fabricated. In January of 2008 the gear was cut out but the pure blank area of the gear on this scale was overbearing to the overall presentation. After a little thought I decided to take the liberty of inscribing the gear with the Loeb web site address. Making it concentric to the shaft hole changed the appearance of the whole project to something much more pleasing to the eye. The rest of the year was dedicated to more aging and final finishing. I had originally decided on a multi layer staining process which would give the background a translucent weathered appearance. On most of the background surface that effect was achieved but on the right side of the sign the wood would not take the process uniform to the rest of the sign. After multiple tries and changes in the staining process, the decision was made to complete discard that approach. By December of 2008 multiple layers of stain were finally carefully chipped and scraped away. A new approach had to be found.
The letters, edging and shadow portions of the sign retained the staining process but the background, and the flawed wood, worked better with paint. After the right shades were found and applied the project was assembled and then sealed with several coats of satin polyurethane to tie all the hues together and give the sign a uniform look.
On December 19, 2009 Loeb again had its annual Christmas Party. After the recognition of the employees who had reached 5 year milestones, the new “old” Loeb logo sign was presented to Howard Newman as the current President of Loeb Equipment and Appraisal Company.
Stanley Czupryna, CEA
Senior Appraiser, Loeb Appraisal