Monthly Archives: August 2013

Gamble House Inglenook Sconce – Dimensions and Scale

I spent some time last night working out a quick CAD model for the “Inglenook Sconce” I want to build.  My goal was to work out enough of the dimensions to be able to build this., but no more than necessary.  I didn’t want to get caught up in modeling all of the details like the inlay bars and ebony plugs, which can take a lot of time for little benefit.

One of the open questions was how deep to make this.  I decided to try making it square in cross-section, and that actually seems to work visually for me.  It has a definite pagoda shape, which feels right.  What do you think?  I left the cloud lift details off from the side – which I believe is how the originals were.  I wish I could spend 5 minutes staring at an original right now.  Without the cloud lift detail I have desire to make this shallower, but visually I think it looks ok.  I’m not sure that makes any sense, but hey – I haven’t had my coffee yet this morning.

I’ll have at least one more cad session before I start cutting wood.  I want to sort of “live with” this level of design for a while and compare it to pictures before I make chips.  For example, I can see the roof profile is a bit too aggressive compared to the original – I’ll want to adjust that for sure.

I need to pick up some Mahogany today, hopefully I’ll be making the parts for this tomorrow.

3D Model of Sconce

3D Model of Sconce in SolidWorks

3D Model of the Sconce in Mahogany

3D Model of the Sconce in Mahogany

 

Front and Side Views

Front and Side Views

Front VIew with Key Dimansions

Front VIew with Key Dimansions

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Gamble House Inglenook Sconce

I’m so pleased with the “Blacker sconces” I made that I decided to make another Greene and Greene inspired sconce.  When I started on the Blacker sconce I’d imagined it in my entry hall.  I made two instead of one on a whim, and along the way I decided to use them above the stairs going upstairs and downstairs.

That’s great, because the existing sconces there were anemic.  But I still had an ugly sconce in the entry hall as a result.  After staring at a number of G&G fixtures I decided to make something like the pair of sconces in the Gamble House Inglenook.

The Inglenook at the Gamble House

The Inglenook at the Gamble House

I really like these sconces.  The upturned ends really shows off the Asian influence, and the wandering vine design on the glass is both balanced and organic.  The Gamble house is a BIG house, and mine isn’t.  In the inglenook these sconces are not overpowering, but at full scale it might be too much in my tiny entry hall.  I expect I’ll need to scale them down a little.  They are also roughly square in design — that is the width and depth look to be about the same.  I’m expecting that I’ll need to have that aspect be slightly different too.

Closeup of the sconce

Closeup of the sconce

I’ve looked at every picture of this sconce that I can find to get a sense of the style and proportions.  I loaded this particular image into a CAD program, and scaled it so that the stiles measured about 3/4″ wide, then I picked up the measurements for all of the different dimensions from the image.  I think the stiles are actually closer to 5/8″ wide, based on when I saw this in person several months ago.  I need to make another trip to LA I guess.

But, with the stiles scaled to a known dimension, and everything scaled relative to that I figured I could at least get a 2D drawing cranked out with the right proportions, even if the scale was off from the original (or from what I’ll need to fit in my house).  I drew it up and printed it out full size.  It was too big for the hall, but at about 80% of full size the front view looks like it will work just fine.

There are some interesting details I haven’t put in the rough drawing.  For example, look at the shape of the cut out in the upper rail.  It’s not a straight, square slot.  It tapers slightly towards the ends and the tips are slightly scooped out.  Look too at the lower rail, it looks like the small step in the cloud lift at the bottom flares out slightly as it meets the stile.  There are small ebony bars on the top and bottom of the “roof”, almost like breadboard ends.  As I recall, they are pinned in place with brass brads.  Also, there are two inlay bars in the lower rail that almost disappear.  When I saw this in person they looked like oak strips.  There are lots of little details like this that will make or break the final look of my interpretation.

I’m not sure about how deep to make it, but my inclination is to have it be about 80% to 90% of the front width.  The sides don’t have the same cloud lift detail in the bottom profile of the rails, although they do have the piercing in the top rail.  Plenty of little details to sort out.  I’m going to update my 2D sketch to the scale that I think will work, and do a side view too.  That should be enough for me to model the whole sconce and determine the dimensions for the joinery – at which point I should be able to start making kindling.

First Draft Sketch

First Draft Sketch

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Finished Pics of My “Blacker House Sconces”

OK, this is the last time I’ll blog about these particular sconces.  I learned a lot in the process, including how to do simple stained glass.  I’m pretty sure I could make another of these in less than 20 blog posts…

I was Googling for images of the sconces in the inglenook in the Gamble house (which I’m thinking about as a next project) and discovered that Marc Adams is now offering a class in making a reproduction of the Blacker House sconce.  His is a more accurate reproduction (wider back panel and pegs in the sconce body).

Anyway, without further ado, here are the finished pictures.  It actually looks better in person, it was tough to get a good picture.  I’d originally planned to use a compact florescent bulb in these (for less heat) but it looked terrible.  I’m using a 40 watt refrigerator bulb and that seems to work pretty well.

Front View

Front View

 

Side

Side

Powered Up

Powered Up

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 6 Comments

Sconces Are FinishedBlacker

The sconces are done. I finished up the stained glass this morning, and assembled them this afternoon. I don’t have a “finished” picture yet because when I went to install them I realized I needed to patch the wall and touch up the paint…so I’m waiting for the “quick dry” wall compound to dry. The can said “paintable in 30 minutes”, but the fine print also said “allow to dry for 2 to four hours”. So, I guess it’s paintable 30 minutes after it’s been drying for 2 to 4 hours? I remember going to the 1 hour photo place and the guy asked me when I wanted the pictures back. I said “in an hour” and he he looked surprised. Really?

Anyway, as soon as the patch drys I’ll get some glamor shots.  Apparently, watching joint compound keeps it from drying so I’m sneaking peeks out of the corner of my eye.

Keyhole hangers installed

Keyhole hangers installed

Epoxying in the lamp sockets

Epoxying in the lamp sockets

All the glass finished

All the glass finished, patina applied and polished

One of the things I was not sure how it would work out was attaching the sconce body to the top and wall bracket.  I used some thin 1/2″ aluminum angle extrusion and long wood screws to go through the lid into the support bracket.  It seems to be very sturdy.

Aluminum brackets

Aluminum brackets

Aluminum brackets installed, keep them just below the surface of the top rail!

Aluminum brackets installed, keep them just below the surface of the top rail!

Long screws installed, it's rock solid.

Long screws installed, it’s rock solid.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Glass for Sconces Almost Done

I got a couple of hours in the shop this afternoon, and am very close to finishing the glass for the sconces.  All of the parts are cut, ground and fit together.  The next step is to add the copper foil to the edges, solder, clean and apply patina.  I completely finished the panels for one scones and they are ready to install.  I should be able to foil and solder the other panels pretty quickly tomorrow, then I can do the final assembly on theses sconces.  It’s taken a long time to figure out the scale, the joinery and the stained glass, but I’m happy with the results.

One of the things that was a bit of a struggle was cutting the darker glass colors for the sconces.  I couldn’t really see the pattern through the glass.  I tried gluing the pattern to the glass, but with only mixed results.  I used a glue stick, and the pattern didn’t stay in place very well.  Maybe a different glue, or maybe if I let it dry for 20 or 30 minutes, but that’s pretty inefficient in practice.

Gluing patterns to the glass

Gluing patterns to the glass

A light table is the usual way people do this I think, but I don’t have one.  Oh, wait… I used to have a light box for when I took pictures for articles I wrote for hot rod mags.  After a pit of searching, I found it buried in a closet.  And there was happiness and dancing in the streets.

Light box with the amber glass

Light box with the amber glass

The light box really helped.  I find tracing the pattern onto the glass with a fine point sharpie helps  me score the glass.  I found some instructional pages on scoring glass, but mostly it comes down to practice for me.  I tend to push too hard, which kills any control (or finesse).

Light table with the dark red glass

Light table with the dark red glass

Last side panel cut out and fit

Last side panel cut out and fit

All the parts for the sconces cut, ground and cleaned.  Ready for foil,

All the parts for the sconces cut, ground and cleaned. Ready for foil.

Once all of the parts were cut and ground so they fit nicely  it was time to put copper foil on the edges.  The copper foil is thin copper strips, 3/16″ wide in this case, that is adhesive-backed.  You apply it to the edge and fold it over both faces.  Big pieces are pretty easy to do, small and irregular pieces were a little tricky, but after doing several of them it was starting to go a little more smoothly.  In my (extremely limited and nearly nonexistent) experience, the fit between the parts and the evenness of the foil that overlaps onto the surface are with dictates how tidy and even the solder seams will be..

First part foiled

First part foiled

First part soldered

First part soldered

Next two parts ready for soldering

Next two parts ready for soldering

After I soldered all the parts I cleaned them with flux remover, and soap and water.  The next step in the process is to apply a black patina to the solder, then wax the parts.  And that’s as far as I got today.  Tomorrow morning I’ll solder the other three panels, and then start assembling the sconces.

All parts for one sconce soldered and ready to apply  black patina.

All parts for one sconce soldered and ready to apply black patina.

Patina and wax applied, ready to install.

On the light table

On the light table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments

Blacker House Sconce, Glass Fitting

I got a couple more hours of work in on the stained glass panels for my sconces yesterday, with only 3 or 4 interruptions from work.  I’m pleased with how these are coming together, and I’m learning as I go.

When I took the 1 day class with my son I had two issues with my work.  My skill with scoring the glass is not great.  I mean, how could it be?  I’ve never done this before.  It’s gotten better, but I’m still not to the point where I can accurately follow a line with the glass cutter.  The other problem was my pattern.  As I ground my cut out pieces and tested them against the pattern I found that my pattern lines were too wide and getting the piece in the same location every time was a challenge.  If the part is slightly shifted (or all the parts around it shift) then it’s impossible to tell if the fit is right.

So I glued my patterns to a scrap of plywood and covered them with clear packing tape to protect them from water (the glass grinder uses a wet sponge to lubricate the little diamond grinding wheel).  Then I positioned the MDF mockup of the panel I made for test fitting in the sconce over the pattern, and framed it in with some scraps of MDF.  Now I have an accurate frame to help position the parts.  This made a huge difference for me and I was able to get a nice tight fit.  Maybe too tight, we’ll see when I add the copper foil to the parts and solder them later today.

Pattern for the main panel, waterproofed and guide frame in place

Pattern for the main panel, waterproofed and guide frame in place

The grinding isn’t too bad, it’s not as fast as grinding wood (or metal), and maintaining a straight edge with a small round grinding wheel is a little tricky – but I’ve ground loads of stuff and have a decent eye for this.  The trick is to check the part to the pattern, identify where material needs to be removed, grind a little and check again.  I over-ground on two or three pieces and decide to cut new parts.  They were little, tiny bits, so the mistake was more obvious and not much material was wasted.

First piece ground to fit

First piece ground to fit

Here is the first main panel all ground and together.  The next step will be to apply copper foil tape to the edges of the pieces and solder them together.  I’m going to get all of the glass for all six panels cut and ground before starting on assembly.  By the way, this is the back of the glass.  Since the front is moderately textured I have to score it from the back, and since the design is symmetrical I’m also grinding and assembling these face-down.  Less chance of making a mistake this way.

First panel completely ground and test fit

First panel completely ground and test fit

Both front panels ready for assembly

Both front panels ready for assembly

Starting on the first of four side panels

Starting on the first of four side panels

I don’t have any planned emergencies at work today, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy an uninterrupted day of vacation.  At least until my wife and son get home from their Tahoe trip, then I expect all hell will break loose.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Stained Glass Panels for the Blacker House Sconces

Between several new work crisis this morning I started on the stained glass panels for the Mahogany sconces I made, inspired by a sconce I’ve seen from the Blacker House.

Let me put a giant caveat here: I’m just this side of clueless in terms of doing anything with glass.  Anything beyond spritzing it with Windex and wiping it off is new ground for me.  I took a one day class on stained glass recently, and splurged and bought a glass cutter, running pliers and a little glass grinder.  Trusting in my ability to proceed without having a clue, I’m on my way.

Basic Stained Glass Setup

Basic Stained Glass Setup

I started by cutting some patterns (templates?  mockups?) from 1/8″ MDF to make sure I had the sizes just right  Because of some small variations in my woodworking the CAD patterns for the glass I drew up were slightly too tall, and one of them was slightly too narrow.  I adjusted the fit of the MDF mockups until they fit both sconce bodies without any problems.

 

Finalizing the size for the glass panels

Finalizing the size for the glass panels

Then I did the next easiest thing I could do, which was to cut a blank glass panel for the back of the sconces — I’m not going to make a stained glass panel for the back as it won’t show.  I’m just using a piece of the same glass as the main part of my pattern for the sides.

Blank panels for the backs cut and fit

Blank panels for the backs cut and fit

Now the hard part, cutting all of the little bits of glass according to my pattern.  The cuts I made on the practice piece at the class were sloppy, so I ended up with several big gaps, which meant big, wide solder joints.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t really nice either.  I feel like my cuts are better already, although this glass is darker than what I’d used previously so it’s hard to see the lines through the glass.

I cut the big section at the bottom first, the little indent cut came out pretty well.  Not perfect, but the next stop will be the grinder.

Starting with the front panel...

Starting with the front panel…

This top background pieces are really tricky, I did my best with them, and then marked them where they will need to be ground.

Tricky cuts

Tricky cuts

For the tiny little pieces in the middle I cut them close and will have to grind them to fit.  And that is my next task.

All parts for one sconce front panel rough cut

All parts for one sconce front panel rough cut

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

My Bench is Finished!

Well, this took me forever to get done, but my workbench is finished and ready to go to work.  I’m pretty excited to be able to off the old wobbly pseudo bench.

If you are a beginning woodworker, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and want my old bench speak up now.  It’s yours for a song.  Litteraly., a song.  Just hum a few bar of “taps”, load it into your pick up truck and take it home.  I’ll even help you load it and offer my opinion on how you could make it into a more robust work bench.

After the big glue up I let the bench sit for several hours (it was hot yesterday), then cut off the wedges and planed the top flat.  I installed the chop on the end vise and planed it to the level of the bench, and also planed the top of the leg vise level with the bench top.  I used to be afraid of flattening the bench top, but it seriously took me longer to sharpen the blade in my #8 jointer than it did to flatten it.  Having to work a nick out of the blade took the most time, but I got it razor sharp and it cut the top (knots and all) like butter.

First pass with the jointer plane, traversing.  Note the low spots in the middle.

First pass with the jointer plane, traversing. Note the low spots in the middle.

Second pass - I'm taking pretty light cuts and the low spot is quickly diminishing.

Second pass – I’m taking pretty light cuts and the low spot is quickly diminishing.

Flat.  It took about 4 passes to get it flat.  one traversing directly, three cutting at a 45 degree angle.  Then I made two more passes lengthwise to remove any tear out.

Flat. It took about 4 passes to get it flat. one traversing directly, three cutting at a 45 degree angle. Then I made two more passes lengthwise to remove any tear out.

Leg vise final installation, top trimmed flush with the bench top.

Leg vise final installation, top trimmed flush with the bench top.

Laying out and drilling the dog holes.

Laying out and drilling the dog holes.

Masking off the clamp area - I'll glue leather in here after the finish dries off tomorrow.

Masking off the clamp area – I’ll glue leather in here after the finish dries off tomorrow.

Finish Schedule: Mix equal parts of BLO, Poly varnish and mineral spirits, slop on, let soak in, wipe off.

Finish Schedule: Mix equal parts of BLO, Poly varnish and mineral spirits, slop on, let soak in, wipe off.

First coat of finish, soaking in

First coat of finish, soaking in

Done!

Done!

End Vise, Done!

End Vise, Done!

Leg Vise, Done!

Leg Vise, Done!

What’s next?  I’ll glue leather in the vise jaws, slop on more finish tomorrow (maybe) and add a shelf between the stretchers (some day).  Mostly I’ll clean up the shop, and start a new project.  And I’ll help *you* load up my old workbench when you come to pick it up.  You know you want it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 13 Comments

Bench Glued Up!

I did it, the bench is glued up.  It’s down to just a few details (flattening, bench dog holes and finish) and the bench will be DONE.

I wanted to take care of as many details as I could before gluing up.  I got the threaded block for the vise screw installed.  I used blue tape to center the screw in the hole, then threaded the nut block on the back, marked and drilled holes for lag bolts to attach it.  While I had it all assembled, I fit the brass garter and drilled the mounting holed for that.

Getting the vise screw centered in the hole

Getting the vise screw centered in the hole

 

Four 3/8" x 5" lag bolts to hold the threaded block in place

Four 3/8″ x 5″ lag bolts to hold the threaded block in place

Check!

Check!

I decided it would be easier to install the end vise now, while the bench top was upside down.  I got new lag bolts, and added some shims behind the face so that the inner face was perfectly flush with the end of the bench.  It was about 1/16″ shy on one side and maybe 3/32″ on the other.  It’s just right now.

End vise installed, Check!

End vise installed, Check!

I glued up and pegged the short stretchers, and then I was ready to put the top on.  The big question was how was I going to get the glue applied and the bench top in place by myself?  It’s HEAVY.  I decided to position it on top on top of the legs, slather glue on and then scoot it over so it would drop onto the tenons.  It worked OK.  The fit (read “sloppy fit”) on the through mortises worked to my advantage here.

Once the top was on I drove in wedges in all the gaps to close them up.  I’ll let this dry for a few hours and then saw the wedges off and flatten the bench top.

Gluing up the short stretchers, everything is nice and square

Gluing up the short stretchers, everything is nice and square

Manhandling the bench top, first I set it on edge, then down half way onto the legs, then walked it into place

Manhandling the bench top, first I set it on edge, then down half way onto the legs, then walked it into place

Bench top ready for glue

Bench top ready for glue

On your mark, get set, GO!  Getting glue onto 8 mortises and 8 tenons (and not everywhere else) by yourself isn’t a relaxing process.

Glued & Wedged

Glued & Wedged

Forest of wedges

Forest of wedges

Time for a lunch break now, I should probably leave this to dry over night before I do anything else to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 7 Comments

Crisscross Installed

Wow, a major milestone, measured in baby steps.  I got the Crisscross guide installed, and it works like a dream.  It wasn’t hard, I got it done in about 4 hours while dealing with several work crisis.

The first operation was to clear out the “mortise” for the Crisscross mechanism.  I made a template yesterday, so it was just a matter of figuring out where I could put the clamps and routing out the waste.  I did it in about 5 steps down, vacuuming out the chips before going deeper each time.  Then I squared up the corners with a chisel and installed the hardware.  Tapping holes in wood felt weird, but it seems to work OK.

My template for routing the Crisscross mortise

My template for routing the Crisscross mortise

Template clamped in place and ready to go

Template clamped in place and ready to go

Done!  Check out the fit on that tenon!

Done! Check out the fit on that tenon!

Hardware test fit

Transferring the location of the hole and mortise to the chop

Unclamping the glue-up for the leg vise chop was anti-climatic.  I half expected it to make a springing sound and twist itself into a double helix.  I bandsawed the Walnut overhang off, and planed the edges square.  When laying out the location for the holes in the chop I made sure it would end up about 1/8″ proud of the bench top, after I’ve flattened the top of the bench I’ll trim the chop to match  For what it’s worth, that Claro Walnut isn’t real hand plane friendly.  It’s hard and has lots of twisty grain.

Tast fitting the hardware in the chop

Tast fitting the hardware in the chop

Side-by side, bench leg and leg vise chop

Side-by side, bench leg and leg vise chop

Installing the mounts for the Crisscross glide requires tapping holes into the wood, I used Tried & True Oil/Wax finish to lubricate the tap, and a bit on the threads of the machine screws that go into the threaded holes.  It should lubricate it if I need to take it apart, and should set up and provide a little extra strength over time.

Installing the mounts for the Crisscross glide requires tapping holes into the wood

Tapping Holes

The Crisscross mechanism works really well.  It’s smooth and completely supports the vise chop.  The hole in the chop and leg for the screw line up *exactly*, so there won’t be any weight or binding on the vise screw.  With the other mechanisms (parallel guide and pinless guide) the collar on the screw is required to help maintain alignment.

Smooth as silk

Smooth as silk

What’s left?  I have to mount the threaded block for the vise screw to the back of the leg, install the garter on the chop, glue up the short stretchers and glue on the top.  By this time tomorrow it will be a done deal I think

Mockup

Mockup

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 11 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.