Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Artist, At Work- Part 1

I'm sure I've mentioned some time or other, that The Hub is a carpenter. He builds things.

For the last many months, he (and younger son) have been building a pretty spectacular house by a lake in our county. The style of the house is Country Rustic, and the interior trim for three round-top windows has been weighing heavy on The Hub's mind for nearly as long as construction has lasted. The windows are lovely but the ready-made trim was not consistent with the style of the house. He knew early on, that he was going to have to build the trim... somehow... in order to make it work with the rest of the house.

The Hub builds houses the way I write books, nail by nail (you know, substituting nails for words. A book made of nails would be too heavy to cart around, and would make TSA folks nervous), keeping the entire thing in his mind the whole time, puzzling over the hard parts until the solution comes to him (though he does it a lot more often than I do, and he gets paid more than I do... and he has to make it work on a first draft) (and he takes notes on lopped off chunks of 2x4- I prefer 4x4's).

At any rate, he pondered many choices for the curved window trim, considering and rejecting every method. Then one morning last week, he woke up and knew how to do it (again, a lot like writing books, except for the sawdust and all).

I find this fascinating, and the rule of this blog is that if I find it fascinating, I assume you will too (play along with me here). Therefore:

He starts with a plywood jig, cut to the size of the outer edge of the window itself. The jig is screwed to a plastic covered work table- the screws are to hold the jig in place, the plastic is to keep both the jig and the trim from sticking to the table afterwards. There will be glue. Lots of glue.

He cuts very good hard pine boards into thin strips. I wasn't in the shop for this portion, but I've seen this sort of thing happen before- The Hub pushes the larger boards (in this case 1x8, I think) through a table saw which has a jig (guide) set up at the proper width. There is much noise and sawdust and plenty of opportunity to cut off a finger or two.
He applies glue to the wide part of one of the strips.
He slides the glued strip inside a screw placed about 6" from the lower edge of the jig,

and then carefully bends the strip over the top of the jig (here is where the quality of the wood and the thickness of the strip come into play- if the strip is too thick, it won't bend, if there are knots it will break). The strip is tucked into another screw on the other side of the jig.

He repeats the process as many times as it takes to get the trim the width it needs to be.
He wraps a heavy strap over the top of the curve to tighten the strips together (note the little shims- they help to keep the inside strip from sliding up while pressure is applied).
He pulls the ends in tight to the jig, tightens the strap, and then applies a long clamp to hold it in place. He screws lengths of wood over the top of the bent strips (with a plastic spacer, to prevent sticking) in order to keep the strips from sliding up. This is a tricky process, as you can well imagine.
The strap is anchored firmly on both sides.

It doesn't matter whether the ends of the strips match up or not. They will be trimmed off later.

Then he waits... 24 hours...


Connie Peterson said...

Norm says: Okay! A good idea!

Connie says: We'll remember that trick if we ever need it. Thanks for sharing.

AnneMarie said...

Yes - and we find it fascinating too!