Posts Tagged With: Gamble Ingelnook Sconce

Sconce Update

I had a little time today to play in the shop, and I finished the parts for the sconce body.  I ended up cutting two of the piercings with my fret saw, and I borrowed a scroll saw from a buddy to do the other two.  It was faster, with less cleanup, using the scroll saw.  But if I could saw accurately with the hand held fret saw I don’t think it would have been much faster really.  Most of the work was clean up with a tiny chisel and my little home made sanding sticks.  WIth the scroll saw there was a lot less clean up.

Anyway, I expect a scroll saw is something I might want to add in the future.  I want to do some Greene & Greene style inlay, and I’ll need it for that.  In any case, I’m starting to glue up the parts for this sconce.  I still need to make the top and the hanger brackets for the leather straps.  And the Ebony inlay bits.  And the stained glass.  Plenty left to keep me busy.

I think tomorrow I’ll be able to add the ebony plugs and inlay bars, and glue up the rest of the body.  WIth a little luck I’ll bet the rood shaped, although I’m still scratching my head on how to shape that.

Parts for the Sconce Body

Parts for the Sconce Body

Front and Back Glued

Front and Back Glued (complete with camera distortion)

 

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Forward Progress on the New Sconce

I hate it when I’m at this point in a project — struggling with some new technique that I’m not very good at.  Some days it seems like I’m always doing something for the first time.  And sometimes that’s OK, it’s fun to learn new techniques.  Sometimes it’s more of a struggle than I like.

The specific rock I’m rolling up hill today is the piercing on the sconces.  I could make a slot with a small router bit, but I don’t think that would look right.  I also am not a huge router fan.  I don’t have a religious objection to them (or to any tool, power or otherwise) but when the solution to any woodworking problem is a router I think it shows in the finished part.  Plus, I really want to be good at hand tool work.

So on Friday I called Lee Marshall at Knew Concepts.  Lee is an interesting guy, I met him years ago when he was making hydraulic presses for metal smiths with his company “Bonny Doon Engineering”.  I’ve wanted one of his fret saws for a while, and this was enough justification to push me over the edge.

Here is my secret weapon for the piercing

Here is my secret weapon for the piercing

Here’s a dirty little secret, I can’t saw a straight line with a fret saw.  I’ve known this for a long time.  I took some Jewelry and metal smithing classes years ago and had a hard time with this then.  Lee’s saw helps a bunch, the blade doesn’t deflect or wander like the cheap fret saw I already had.  Now it’s all down to me getting my coordination down.

I made a few practice cuts, then sawed out a new pattern based on my updated drawing.  I’d like to tell you that I sawed this out right to the line, but I’d be lying.  I was reasonable close though, and I used a chisel to trim a few spots.  Then I had a small brainstorm and I sheared off some strips of .080″ thick Aluminum sheet, and stuck some PSA sandpaper on one side.  It is thin enough to fit into the narrow areas, and stiff enough to hold it’s shape.  I was feeling pretty confident at this point.

Pattern Ready

Pattern Ready

Sawing out the actual rails is a bit tougher.  Any tiny variation from holding the saw absolutely vertical and the cut isn’t plumb through the stock.  It doesn’t take much of a mistake to be WAAAAY off on the bottom side.  I sawed one rails as close as I could, then used the .080″ thick mortise chisel I made together with the little sandpaper files to clean it up.  I also cut the grooves in the lower rail for the inlay.  Just three more rails to do the piercing on and I can glue this up.  At the rate I’m going that’s probably 3 weeks…  Good Grief.  I need to pick up the pace here.  Maybe I should have bought a scroll saw.

Note that I planed down the top faces of the rails so I have more of a shadow line between them and the stiles.  I also made a replacement rail for the one I ruined last weekend, and I made several extras.  For all of the struggling though, Im very pleased with the results.  Maybe after I’ve cut the other three rails I’ll have a better handle on this particular skill, which would make it all worthwhile.

One Down, Three to go

One Down, Three to go

 

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Doodled to Distraction

We interrupt the previously scheduled Gamble House sconce build to add a new project to my to-do list.

Recently Christopher Schwarz blogged about making some wooden try-squares based on the ones in the Benjamin Seaton tool chest.  They have an interesting construction detail, so I pulled out my Seaton tool chest book and thumbed through it.  I noticed another interesting tool in it called a “Bolting Iron”, which is a form of a drawer lock chisel.  It caught my fancy.  People that know me well realize that is an early warning sign and they should run quickly in the opposite direction.

I had a few minutes while I was waiting for a meeting to start, and I’m an unrepentant doodler, so I started laying out my ideas for making one of these.  Now, realize, I don’t have any projects in mind that need a lock mortised in.  But, it’s officially on the “someday list”.

The Dangerous Doodle

The Dangerous Doodle

And a couple of extant examples

Bolting Iron

Bolting Iron, and a More Common Style Lock Chisel

Another Example

Another Example

 

 

 

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Planning the Next Step on the Sconce

I haven’t had any time in the shop since last weekend, but I’ve been thinking about the next step on the “Inglenook Sconce”.  I’m convinced that cutting the slot with a fret saw is the way to go.  It could perhaps be done other ways; perhaps with a carving chisel or small gouge, but it’s a pretty narrow slot and the seems like an inefficient way to get the job done.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time staring at pictures of the original, and I think my original layout for the piercing is too square and flat.  See what you think:

My Original Layout for the Piercing

My Original Layout for the Piercing

The Original Gamble House Inglenook Sconce

The Original Gamble House Inglenook Sconce

I’ve looked at this photo a lot.  I googled for better pictures and found someone that makes a reproduction.  For comparison, here is their interpretation.  It’s a nice piece, but it doesn’t capture some of the important details in my opinion.  The wall bracket they added is a clever idea, and I think the shape of the roof is nice.  What is missing are the rounded, irregular, organic details of the original.  But specifically, look at the treatment of the piercing.  On it’s own, it’s fine.  But in a side-by-side comparison with the original it’s mechanical and bland.

Commercial Reproduction of the Gamble Sconce

Commercial Reproduction of the Gamble Sconce

In my search of the internet I found a slightly different perspective of the sconce.  Notice how the “wings” of the piercing appear to taper slightly?  And the size of the opening isn’t consistent anywhere.  The radius around the outline of the cloud life shape has the outside corners of the profile more rounded than the inside corners — look closely at the tab in the middle.  And the ends of the opening are slightly scooped out.

Detail of the Piercing on the Sconce

Detail of the Piercing on the Sconce

I probably tend to over-think some design details like this, and under-think other things.  This particular problem has been on my mind all week as I’m commuting back and forth to work.  So last night I sat down at the computer and tweaked my layout for the piercing.  I’m really pleased with the revised shape I came up with.  I think after I gently round the edges of the opening and slightly scoop out the ends it will be pretty close to the original, and certainly captures the same feel.

Now the trick is to be able to execute this design accurately.  I have a plan for that.  The good news is that it doesn’t depend on a megawatt CNC laser, that’s the backup plan.

Updated Layout for the Piercing in the Top Rail

Updated Layout for the Piercing in the Top Rail

 

 

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Gamble House Sconce, Half Step Forward…

…and two steps back, dang it.

I did a little work on my new sconce yesterday, but also screwed up a piece and was so frustrated I had to walk away for a while.

My goal was to do the piercing on the upper rails and cut the rebate for the glass on all of the parts.  I didn’t get past the piercing unfortunately.

First, the good news.  I need to cut some small, shallow groves in the lower rails for the front and back.  While I could do that with a tiny router bit, I don’t have one and didn’t want to spend money on something like that if I could avoid it.  I had an idea to use a beading tool to do this, and I have an old Stanley 66 (?) that had a cutter.  I ground the cutter to about .080″ wide and sharpened it.  It worked really well.  Amazingly well.  I also have a really narrow (.080″ wide) chisel I made a while back when I made some plane floats, which was perfect for squaring up the ends of the groove.

Practice cut for the inlay bars

Practice cut for the inlay bars

Now on to the disaster du jour.  I made a template for the piercing on the front and back rails by gluing a full scale print out onto a thin piece of MDF, then cut it out with a coping saw.  I squared up the edges with a chisel, and a small file.  Then I traced this onto the rails, drilled a hole and cut out the slot.  I didn’t take a photo of the results, but it wasn’t acceptable.  The main problem was that I didn’t hold the saw exactly vertically, so the walls are crooked.  I tried to use a thin chisel to pare inside, but ended up splitting  the rail.  Rats.

So, what went wrong?  I probably need to make a few practice cuts to get my technique dialed in.  I also think the coping saw is a failed proposition.  The pins on the ends are really too big to fit through the slot, and the blade deflects too easily.  I have a jeweler’s saw frame that is a bit more stout, I should be able to put a jigsaw blade in that and hopefully make a better cut.  I’d like to buy a Knew Concepts saw for this job, but it’s not in the budget this month.   I need the finished cut to be pretty close to perfect as there just isn’t much room in it to fit a file to do any shaping.  Since I have to re-make this part I’m also going to make all of the rails 1/16″ thinner to get a better shadow line at the joints with the stiles.

Beginnings of a pattern

Beginnings of a pattern

Layout on the upper rail

Layout on the upper rail

 

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Gamble House Sconce, From CAD to Mahogany

I spent a bit of time yesterday morning tweaking my CAD model to sort out the problems I was still seeing.  I fixed the critical issues — the glass rebate, joinery allowances, and the exaggerated cloud lifts.  I added the bracket on the top and decided it was close enough to start cutting parts.

Gamble House Inglenook Sconce Version 3

Gamble House Inglenook Sconce Version 3

I didn’t have any Mahogany wide enough to make the roof,  even after a stop a Global Wood Source.  They have a ton of Honduras Mahogany, but short of buying a 12′ stick of 8/4 material I didn’t see any that was 10″ wide.  I bought one 6″ wide by 8′ long piece of 4/4, although it had more cathedral grain than I wanted.  I hope it isn’t too noticeable.  I wanted nice, straight grain on this project.  For the roof I re-sawed a scrap of 8/4 I had in the shop, bookmatched, and glued it up.

Scrap Re-sawn for Roof

Scrap Re-sawn for Roof

Then I started milling up stock for the rails and stiles.  I’m concerned about the cathedral  grain in this board, although I like the color a lot.  The other mahogany I’ve worked with has been very pale when freshly machined, even the heartwood that was a a bright rust-orange before cutting.  The piece I bought has more orange-ish color even when freshly machined, and had nice dark flecks in the grain.  I think it’s going to be pretty when finished, although I think I’ll likely use a darker dye on it rather than just oil as I did on the Blacker Sconces.

Stiled Machined

Stiled Machined

Since I was able to print out full scale drawings for the parts I could transfer the location for the joinery directly from my drawings to the stiles.  I left the stiles long at the top as that mortise comes to within 1/8″ of the top edge.  This way I can make the mortises (I’m routing them, then squaring then ends with a chisel) without worrying about breaking the end out.  I *should* have done this at both ends., although I didn’t have a problem with the mortise blowing out I did need to clean up a bit of damage to the end of one stile and then all ended up a tiny bit shorter than I wanted.  Rats.

Transferring the location for the mortises from the drawings

Transferring the location for the mortises from the drawings

Mortises Done

Mortises Done, Stiles Cut to Length

With the stiles done, it was time to blank out the rails and cut the tenons. Pretty straightforward stuff.  I damaged the blade in my table saw recently.  Twice.  Don’t ask…  Anyway, it leaves a rough edge that I need to clean up after cutting.  Gotta replace that soon.

Rails cut to width and length, including the tenon allowance, saw marks planed out.

Rails cut to width and length, including the tenon allowance, saw marks planed out.

I cut the tenons and test fit a front and a side.  I’m not happy with the way the grain runs in these pieces, and I wish I had a bit more set-back from the stile to the rails.  1/16″ isn’t enough.  Maybe I can plane the faces a bit and get a little more shadow line at that joint.  But the joinery fits wall and the tenons are all snug in the mortises.  That’s a good thing.

Tenons cut, test fit

Tenons cut, test fit

I rough cut the cloud lift detail in the front and back rails, then used a small rasp and sandpaper to shape it.  I could do this with a router, but I’m trying to match the slightly uneven, slightly organic shape of the original.

Cloud Lift Details

Cloud Lift Details

Today I need to cut the rebates for the glass and the pierced detail on the top rails.  I’m nervous about both of those.  The recess for the glass isn’t just a rebate along the edges, on the top rails it has to extend behind the pierced detail.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do that detail yet.  I guess I’ll make a pattern to lay out the shape, then cut it out with a coping saw.  Although I have *terrible* luck cutting anything with those.  Maybe because mine is stamped out of pot metal in a third world country.  I also need to decide what to do about the inlay bars in the lower front rail.  I have a 1/8″ router bit, but that is too big for that.  I need something smaller.  Sounds like I need to buy a few little tools, maybe a Knew Concepts saw and some tiny router bits?

Sconce Dimensions, V3

Sconce Dimensions, V3

 

 

 

 

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Inglenook Sconce Design Tweaks

Sadly, between errands, helping my son with his homework and the heat wave I didn’t make it into the shop yesterday.  But I did correct a few problems with my design for the Gamble House Inglenook Sconce.  And I’m definitely heading out to the shop as soon as the sun comes up, although I think I have one more design change I need to make…see what you think.

Here is my updated model compared to the actual sconce.  The two main changes I made were to reduce the depth (front to back dimension) by 3/4″, and to flatten out the curve of the roof ends.  I also added the rebate for the glass and a radius on the edges.

Sconce Model V2

Sconce Model V2

Comparing it to the Hall brothers 3D model I still se a few problems.  Rats.  At least it’s easier to fix them here before I cut any wood.  Here are the issues I see:

  • The stiles, which I have at 3/4″ thick are too thick when compared to the original.  I’m inclined to leave this alone as there just isn’t much material there by time I add the rebate for the glass and cut mortises.  I need a 1/4″ rebate to be able to fit the adjacent glass panels in, and I’m using 3/16″ tenons which is about the thinnest I can deal with.  I need at least 1/16″ set back for the rails from the face of the stiles for the appearance.  Do the math, there just isn’t much room there.
  • The roof, while much better than previously, needs to be thinned out toward the ends.  It comes to a sharper edge in the original.  I may still have a touch too much curve there too.
  • The cloud life detail in the front rails is too big of a step.  It looks like a big tab hanging in space.  It’s only .200″, but compared to the original it sticks out like a sore thumb.  I’ll need to play with that some more.  I’ll try 3/16″ but I’d bet it needs to be a bit less than that.
  • The lower rails on the sides are currently the same height as the short ends of the front lower rails.  I think they should be as wide as the wides part of the front lower rail where the cloud lift is.  That looks more accurate according to the picture.
  • I need to add the cloud-lift bracket that holds the leather strap, I think that will make the comparison a bit more favorable.
  • The glass rebate is too small at 3/16″.  With the two side glass pieces in place that only leaves 1/16″ per side (at most) to hide the edge of the front and back panels.  That won’t work.  Fixing that screws with the joinery, and I made that mistake in wood on the Blacker sconces.  Definitely need to fix that in CAD!

I should also get the sconce model into the same viewing angle as the photograph.  That would make comparisons easier.  I really don’t want to spend too much time fussing with the CAD model, but I know that if I take a short cut here I won’t be happy with the end result.  It doesn’t need to be a perfect copy of the original (indeed, working from one view in a photograph I don’t see how it could be) but I want to make sure any deviations from the original are understood and intentional — and aesthetically pleasing.

I’ve also been unsure how I was going to mount the bulb socket inside, and how I’d then attach the top (roof?  lid?).  I think I have an idea for that now.

3D Model of the Sconce in Mahogany

3D Model of the Sconce in Mahogany

Here are front and side views of the current model.

Current Front and Side Views

Current Front and Side Views

 

 

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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

 

 

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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

 

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