Archive for the ‘ architecture ’ Category

I don’t often get a request for wooden spheres – in fact I can’t remember ever making something like this , at least not as big as these.  A contractor asked us to reproduce a number of large wooden balls to fill the “kick space ” under the receptionist desk in the reception area of a children’s clinic.  They were to be painted as seen in the original desk seen below.

Reception Ball

Reception Ball

The balls measured 11 5/8″ diameter and were turned from poplar.  Below are some of the balls during and after finish sanding:

large wooden balls

Finished Spheres

ready to ship

ready to ship

 

Video of turning the spheres:

 

 

This is a 6″ newel that we made for a customer on the East Coast.  The home owner  had an older newel that he really liked and asked if we could reproduce.  The difficulty on making an exact reproduction of any large piece is in either having it shipped to my shop in South Louisiana or in some cases removing it from a finished stairway.  Such was the issue here. The best that could be done was to take a good resolution picture and email it to me.  So after the picture arrived I made a rendering using Google Sketchup.  The original image is below with the model and changes desired by the home owner.

original image and my first model

original image and my first model

 

And finally the finished soft maple newel.  The cap was provided by the home owner.

Soft Maple Newel

Large Wood Turning

 

This is the result of having too much time on your hands.  The sectional vase came about during the winter of 2012 when works tends to slow down.  I began looking at some Youtube videos of what others had done (with too much time on there hands).  The vase is made from gluing 28 rings of twelve pieces.  After making the 28 rings I then glued them together in groups of four (seven groups of four).  After mounting the first group on the lathe I turned the outside of the group and then the inside.  After finishing the first group I then added the second group and repeated the process.
This is certainly not the thing that I normally do and would probably go into bankruptcy if I continued to pursue this line of work.  Nevertheless it was enjoyable and will make a nice addition to my home .

large sectional vase

large sectional vase

Large Sectional Vase

Large Sectional Vase


alder stair newels

These alder stair newels were turned for a customer in the Colorado Springs, CO area. They measure 5 1/2 inches X 44 inches. The newel cap is not shown but will match the handrail sample sent to me (below). Obviously the newels are over-the-post newels. The newel cap (with matching handrail profile) will be mitered to receive the handrail.

alder handrail

These columns (porch posts) were popular in the US in the 18th and 19th century. The chamfered edges terminate in a “lambs tongue”.
By the way, a chamfer is a beveled edge connecting two surfaces. If the surfaces are at right angles, the chamfer will typically be symmetrical at 45 degrees (def. from wikipedia).
You can see the lamb’s tongue in the still image at the end of the video.
The chamfer and lamb’s tongue were not only commonly used on porch post but also on exposed beams.

I suspect that most of my readers are more prone to traditional stair design because that is more of what I have posted about here and at Architectural Turnings. You may, however, like to see what others are doing (other architects and designers that is) in the design arena. At the least, you may have yourself a good laugh and “make your day”. Or you may see something you like or come away with a few good ideas. You see some of these “minimalist” stair designs here: Modern Stair Designs

If you are really into stair design and stair ideas like I am you will get a “fix” on your addition at pushpullbar.com. This site is about architecture and design but has quite a huge number of posts related to stairs. Most of the stair posts, I should add, are “modern” in style and will turn traditionalist off. But even traditionalist should come away with a few clever ideas that will work into the traditionalist mind set. You can see their site here: Pushpullbar.com

I occasionally have customers that request a staircase with large balusters. The challenge with creating a staircase with extra large balusters is two fold:

  • The handrail size required by codes restrictions will not accommodate a large baluster top. As such, most manufactured handrails are designed for 1 1/4″ or 1 3/4″ balusters.
  • It may be difficult to accommodate the four inch rule spacing between balusters if the balusters are attached directly to the stair treads.

The solution to using larger balusters is also two fold:

  • Use a custom handrail with a larger base that also accommodates the “grasping” requirement of the stair code.
  • Use a closed stringer system that will eliminate the need to attach the balusters directly to the stair treads. The images below clearly demonstrate both design features.
    The baluster size in the drawings below is 3 1/2″ at the squares – a much larger baluster than the more common 1 3/4″ balusters.

    closed_stringer_detail

    closed_stringer_detail_2

    The image below is a cross section showing the handrail with the large base which enables it to “receive” the large 3 1/2″ baluster.

    closed_stringer_detail_31

In my last post I discussed column mantel surrounds and a few specific related ideas. In this post I would like to discuss the pilaster style mantel surround and some of the possibilities related to pilasters. Defined, a pilaster is: a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall most commonly flattened or rectangular in form. Pilasters are commonly designed to simulate the column on a building. As such many are designed with the same sort of fluting you would see on a Greek or Roman column. Some of the ornamental elements used in pilaster style mantel surrounds include corbels, scroll centers, drops, rosettes. Plinth blocks and capitals are useful for completing the pilaster columns. They help to simulate the Greco Roman classic look.

pilaster_mantel

The mantle above displays the simple pilaster type mantle surround, The pilasters are capped with bandsawn brackets though carved corbels could be used here.

shallow_pilaster_mantel

What is neat about the pilaster mantel surround above is that the bracket (or corbel) overlays the pilaster quite a bit unlike the first image where the bracket overlays just the top of the pilaster. The corbel below would make quite an impression mounted on this style mantel surround.

36" high X 9" deep X 10 3/4" wide

36 inch high X 9 inch deep X 10 3/4 inches wide

shallow_pilaster_mantel_w_corbels

And lastly the pilasters on the mantel surround below are offset by 45 degrees. Note also that the top of the opening around the firebox is an “eyebrow” arch – a nice touch I think.

angle_pilaster_eyebrow

OK this is really my last design: I thought I would add this wrap around style pilaster mantel surround. It is similar to the column type wrap around in the first article except the pilasters make up the corners instead of the columns. Lots of possibilities here as well for ornamentation including fluting, carved appliques (or wood onlays), recessed panels, etc

wrap around pilaster mantel surround

wrap around pilaster mantel surround

Hopefully if you are indeed in the beginning stages of designing and building a mantel surround then these brief articles have been a help. If so let me know your thoughts.

Fireplace mantle surrounds provide one of those settings in a residence where your creative imagination is put to good use. Fireplaces, like stairways and cabinetry provide a unique place to focus the attention of both homeowners and guest. With this is mind, I have put together a series of graphics to help my customers with design ideas for their fireplace mantels. I have listed these mantle surround graphics in three different categories and so will post these in separate posts.

In this first post I will illustrate a few design ideas for the mantel surround with columns. Remember to observe your local fire codes for the clearances necessary for home safety.

Column Mantel Surrounds

Column Mantel Surround

Column Mantel Surround

The mantel surround shows a full round column or leg (It happens to be a Greek type column but many turning profiles are possible). This type is possible if you have a lot of room to work with. Since the columns are full round, the mantel shelf will accordingly protrude out into the living space quite a bit. Makes for a beautiful show doesn’t it.

If you don’t have enough room for a full column mantel surround you might want to consider the split column
mantel surround. See below. This design doesn’t protrude as much into your living space. I should add here that these drawing are very simple and really no ornamentation is included but certainly possible. For example, hand carved scrolls or centers would look really nice in the center section of the mantel.

split columns mantel surround

split columns mantel surround

Corbels would also be a possibility particularly on the split column mantel surround.

A variation on a theme which I particularly like is the wrap-around mantel surround. See below.

corner-column-mantel

corner-column-mantel

You need a lot of room for this surround. Note that the columns in this version are three quarter turns. Or another way of saying the same thing is that a one quarter section is cut out of the columns.

And lastly, another variation of a theme is to leave the surround part off altogether with the face (brick, stucco, etc) of the fireplace exposed. The connecting points on this surround is the mantel shelf and the plinth blocks of the columns.

double_column_mantel

double_column_mantel

This surround has double columns which is a possibility for the other surrounds as well. Are your creative juices going yet?
And finally this column mantel surround is one I built for a friend several years ago. The columns are six inches in diameter X 50″ high. They are salvaged cypress turned with a barley twist. We first wrapped the old unsightly brick with plywood panels and then added the mantel shelf and columns afterward.

spiral column mantel surround

spiral column mantel surround

For further reading you may find these resources helpful:
Fireplace Surrounds
The Balanced Mantel: 10 Ideas