Sunday, June 12, 2011

Antique Japanese Gates

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most wonderful gardens in a city of wonderful gardens. The Japanese garden, of course is very special in its devotion to authenticity of plantings and the built environment.

The Garden asked me to rebuild their antique entry gates. These are original from Japan apparently they were the entry to a samuri's home garden two hundred years ago.

When I came to be involved in the project the gates were showing alot of age, they were sagging with the large corner joints gapeing open. Some of the massive door frames were dry rotted.

Nonetheless they radiated power and greatness. Each door is basically an outer frame that is about 3 inches thick and 8 inches wide housing a panel that is a single piece of wood over 4 feet wide and about 6 feet tall.

I'm going to repeat myself. a single piece of wood 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

The tree it came from 200 years ago must have been about 8 feet wide.

When I got these doors into my shop I slowly removed the damaged wood and exposed very complex joinery that was cut by a master craftsman two hundred years ago.
That is humbling and intimidating.
I'll let the photographs tell the story..........

This last picture is of a prototype joint in the header over the doors.
Nice fit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Newel Post and Handrail

The artists studio I built a few years ago needed a new handrail and newel post.
Patricia had been given a large irregular billet of western maple. We  both went at it with aggressive power tools.  I used a small chainsaw to do the rough forming and Patricia used a power woodcarving chisel.

Patricia pulled an antique glass fishing net float out of deep storage and we incorporated at the top of the newel.

The handrail and guardrail are made of 1 1/2" diameter copper plumbing pipe. the connections and transitions I formed out of scraps from the original billet.
Downstairs, we kept with the organic style and put up coat hooks and a small rail.


Friday, March 11, 2011

My Own Fireplace Project

A couple posts ago I wrote about my own fireplace remodel.  I have now finished the work outside.
It took a long time to get to this point.
The old chimney was tipping away from the house severely.  All of the stucco on this, the south side of the house had long ago failed.

The domino effect was in full swing in this project. I had anticipated most of the scope of the project. Out came the old chimney down to and including the minimal foundation. the failed stucco mostly fell off of its own accord. I stripped the lath off to expose and examine the sheathing.  Everything looked pretty sound.
The block and brickwork all went up pretty quickly. Building the chimney on a new foundation took about a week in all.
While the masons worked on that I installed diagonal strapping over the old sheathing as part of my siesmic upgrade.
After a new electric panel base I was only too happy to cover everything back up and stucco. I didn' like how the stucco wall terminated along its bottom edge so I designed a skirt that I intend to carry around the house as I remodel it. In the bottom left corner of this photo you can see the 5"steel "U" channel (in grey) that is epoxy bolted into the concrete wall and attaches to that diagonal steel strap I showed earlier.
The chimney pot is a flower pot we've had around. I cut the bottom out of it and stuck it on top of the chimney.

The herringbone tile is cheap Home Depot carrera 1' x 1' floor tiles that I sawed into small rectangles and set as herringbone. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
The bracket is forged iron, I had Arnon Kartmazov make for me a long time ago. I plan to hang a future lantern from it.
We found the chicken at Pratt and Larsen seconds and couldn't resist bringing it home.