|2006 senior class officers (from left ) Anne Gohmann, Mark Yehl, Elise Renz, Sarah Gearhart and Wittenberg carpenter and foreman Kenny Lake|
Spearheaded by the 2006 class officers, President Elise Renz of Columbus, N.J., Vice President Sarah Gearhart of Wilmington, Ohio, Secretary Mark Yehl of Benton City, Wash., and Treasurer Anne Gohmann of Libertyville, Ill., the creation of the torch required significant time and attention to detail. At the officers’ request, Wittenberg carpenter and foreman Kenny Lake shepherded the project, which included designing, handcrafting and coordinating the entire production.
“It was an honor to be asked to do this,” said Lake, who joined the Wittenberg community in 1981. “Nothing can match the enthusiasm I had for this project.”
To ensure that the torch looked as if it was crafted in the 1840s, the time of Wittenberg’s founding, Lake selected walnut for the handle, torch base and accompanying stand. He then spent days determining the actual design, which resulted in more than a dozen drawings in an effort to replicate the torch depicted on the official Wittenberg Seal exactly.
Once he determined the design, Lake worked closely with John Packer, a tool and die maker in Urbana, to create the blades needed to craft the torch out of blocks of walnut, which Lake and Packer had to glue together. To achieve the required look, the wood was then placed on a lathe for several hours to secure the diameter needed. It then took another six hours to taper the handle followed by at least 10 hours to add the original wave-like flames that encircle the torch base. Using a three-penny finished nail, Lake spent another six to eight hours adding nail marks within each flame to provide dimension and detail.
Once completed, 30 coats of tung oil were applied to give the 30-inch torch a sophisticated yet subtle sheen. He then worked with Ed Charney, Wittenberg associate professor of art and department chair, to create the intricate arrangement of eight brass, bronze and copper petals, which form the torch flame itself. Together, Lake and Charney spent roughly 30 hours crafting the look.
“Ed was amazing,” Lake said. “He loved the project just as much as I did, and I loved working with him.”
|Ryan Deutschendorf, president of the class of 2007, receives the new Torch from Elise Renz, president of the class of 2006.|
“The light we receive from this community, coupled with the light we initially brought here, have made this a time of growth for all of us,” Renz said. “The final part of our motto is passing light to others. Our class has not spent four years stuck in the Wittenberg bubble. We shared our light with people throughout Springfield and the rest of the world. 'Having Light We Pass It On To Others’ is no longer just a motto for me, it’s a way of life.”
In recognition of Lake’s talent and assistance, the class presented him with a certificate of appreciation, which is proudly displayed in his office inside Wittenberg’s Physical Plant.
“When you have the right tools, you can do anything,” Lake said.
Lake will now work with university officials to determine how best to display the torch in the lobby of Recitation Hall, where it will remain until it is once again passed to the next generation during Commencement 2007.
- Karen Gerboth
Send a Message
• Book-Delivering Prof Named Ohio Professor of the Year
• Senior Class Selects Livestrong President & CEO Doug Ulman As 2011 Commencement Speaker
•Communication Program Honored Nationally With Top Award
• Wittenberg University Art Students Finalists For Scholarship Award