No job is too big or too small — or too different — for Kuhn Fabricating in Lorain, a third-generation family-owned business that started in 1951 making ornamental porch railing, storm doors and windows. Since then, the company has expanded into welding, forming and laser cutting. Plus a new laser-cutting machine with intricate programming capabilities has opened up a creative outlet for Kuhn. 
That’s because one evening, Lewie Kuhn, president, came home with a custom fire ring. 
“I realized the kind of projects we could do with the new laser cutter,” says Shari Kuhn, the company’s sales and marketing representative. 
Others noticed the fire rings, and so they made several more — including navy-blue fire rings with cutout anchors to support fundraising at a silent auction for Vermilion Boat Club’s Leukemia Cup Yacht Club Challenge. “We made it, donated it, and people were going crazy over it,’ Kuhn relates, adding that they took some orders and continued to make the nautical-themed fire rings for others. 
Though what’s special about these specially fabricated outdoor features is that they can be customized. Clients ask for them with cutouts of their family names. Another depicts imagery of the woods since that natural scenery is the backdrop for the fire ring. “We hand-drew trees using CAD,” Kuhn says of its computer-aided drafting technology. First, the designs are completed in CAD and then the advanced Trumpf 2030 Fiber Laser. 
“Everyone wants something different,” Kuhn says of the industrial-strength fabricated fire rings — a far cry from the flimsy metal ones you can buy and assemble. The fire rings are made of 12-gauge steel, a single band with one welded seam. 
In the last few years, Kuhn Fabricating has produced commissioned steel fire rings and other artistic pieces, including a stainless-steel statue for Richard Nord of the Nordson Foundation that is on display at Kendal at Oberlin. Kuhn also created the 12 stainless-steel, triangle-shaped cutout structures that were assembled as public art in front of the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. The company also has made stainless-steel signs for businesses. 
Kuhn Fabricating’s days are mostly dedicated to fabricating parts for steel mills, foundries, energy plants and other manufacturing partners. But the creative possibilities of modern laser-cutting technology are intriguing. “We can create one-of-a-kind artwork,” Kuhn says, relating that regardless of the job — whether it’s industrial or commissioned art — Kuhn Fabricating is “always making something different.” 
“We have the versatility to move with the market,” Kuhn points out. “I’d like to see this area grow — it’s a specialty segment.”
Meanwhile, the family tradition at Kuhn Fabricating continues, with Lewie Kuhn’s son Kevin planning to join the business once he graduates from West Virginia University. Shari Kuhn says she and Lewie have been working on a custom-fabricated steel sign for Kuhn Fabricating with its new logo depicting the spark. Their tagline: “Spark something amazing.” And that’s exactly what Kuhn Fabricating is doing.