Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hollywood Engraving

We've been looking for a classic, yet unique way to brand the few benches we take commissions for.

We considered a brass or bronze medallion (and we may still do that), but that's a fairly common way to brand a bench. We wanted something different.

I've always like the looks of old engravings. The French monumental works of the 18th century (Diderot, Roubo, etc.) as well some of the tool catalogs from the 19th and early 20th century are chock full of these wonderful works of technical art.

So I sat down one evening and sketched out an "engraved-style" Split-Top Roubo. I had Roubo's German-style bench engraving on the desk beside me for inspiration.

Now to get this drawing onto the bench some way.

Laser engravers have exploded in popularity over the past decade. And so have the number of cheesy trophy shops that use these devices, and, in my opinion, have somewhat stereotyped anything engraved with a laser. Granite tombstones, picture frames, you name it. Every time I see something laser engraved I think "that's been laser engraved", before I even consider the subject matter (usually a trophy buck bounding over a fallen tree, hey its Iowa!). So why not use the laser engraver to duplicate, of all things, an engraving! It just might look "right" instead of contrived.

I also wanted an ivory look to our brand. Something other than metal. I happened to have picked up some rather nice holly recently, and thought I'd give this a try. Holly's characterless grain and white, creamy color was just what I was looking for. (I also tried some ivory Micarta, with poor results). The laser engraver not only did a nice job, but also imparted a beautiful sepia-tone to the medallion, reminiscent of an old photograph. Perfect. We inlaid the medallion into the Glide's chop, just a tad below the surface. It should hold up nicely here, since this area never sees much action.

We're still debating on whether or not to keep this brand, but so far we really like it. Your comments are welcome.


  1. Hey Jameel.

    Have you considered maybe placing the medallion as a cap in the center of the wheel?

    I say this because as much as I love your work, I don't know that I'd want my bench looking like Nascar. Particularly the wood surfaces.

    Just an idea.

  2. Sorry, I missed that small detail at the top of the post--that this is for commissioned benches, not for vises. In general I don't prefer branded artifacts; seems like just about all surfaces are advertising possibilities these days (hence the nascar statement). But when you've built a commissioned bench, it of course makes complete sense to "sign" the bench, and this is a fine way to do it. For me, I suppose I'd prefer something on the underside of the top or the side of a leg; furniture makers often sign the bottom or inside of a drawer or some other concealed surface. But that's me.

    I do like the overall style of the medallion. The BC logo is a bit out of place. Next to the delicacy of the other fonts and the illustration, it's a bit conspicuous. But other than that, it definitely conveys a vintage charm.

  3. I like the concept as well as your treatment. My initial reaction though was T-Shirt.
    If you've noticed over the last few years, car manufacturers are making their logos bigger and bigger. They are no longer dimunitive but they're now in your face...bling.
    And I've always thought that the stuff on t-shirts show more sophistication if they don't shout so loud with large graphics.
    So if it were me, I'd like to see it 25% smaller.


  4. Great use of laser engraving. I am with you on the contrived look of the technology.
    Classic looking logo, correct location. On a bench over 6 feet long a few square inches does not spoil the look.

  5. I like it! I think I'd rather like to see a cast brass or bronze medallion the same size and position as Ulmia uses. ~2"
    I would buy one for my bench if available.

  6. Gives a nice touch to the bench , at first I thoguht brass or bronze would look classier , but I think over time they would lose their look . The holly should hold that new fresh look for years .

    I think the design would make very cool t-shirts too . Stay well my friend .


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