Another slightly abbreviated week in the workshop this week due to external commitments. Although we did make good progress Monday and Tuesday with starting construction proper of the ornate mantel - which has now been many months in gestation.
Last week we were able to start by gluing up the sides and centre of the corbels. Monday we glued the fronts into them with a small bit of veneer padding. The alignment was pretty good but I always knew there would be more hand-work required due to the angle that these different components need to be carved at on the CNC. At the end of the week I was able to spend some time cleaning up and blending one of them. You can see this on the left, in the picture below next to the one which is unfinished.
Going back to the rest of the mantel, we decided to glue up the three components that make up the face and sides of the columns that will go on each side, before they would be mitred. The idea is that this will give a consistent mitre angle when they are assembled. Each column includes the base moulding, the carved vertical panels and then the capitals, you can see these laid out in the image below. Once the glue had a full day to dry the next job was to very carefully mitre cut each side and then glue them up. At this stage I was quite nervous as any mistake would have meant a lot of re-work. There was nothing to worry about though as the sawing went well, followed by a dry-fit and then gluing them up back-to-back for rigidity with corner clamps to pinch all the corners together.
In amongst working on these we also started on the top as we realised that the rest of the mantel can effectively be built from this to get everything proportionately correct and to ensure we mitre things like the egg and dart in a sensible place. Things are pretty busy in the workshop so I'm not sure if will continue with the build this week or next now. Its been really nice to start to see it come together though and realise you've made everything the right size and depth.
I've also been finishing up some other pieces this week, one of which is the "funny" coffee themed sign you can see below. In case your not aware Kopi Luwak is the coffee made from beans that civets eat then pass through their system only to have them harvested, cleaned and made into the worlds most expensive/ridiculous coffee.
Finally I started work on modelling a cherub based on a existing carving a client wants me to copy. I made some test cuts which you can see in the final two photos below so I can take them and compare them to the original and make any final tweaks. They are both slightly different with the face on the left having had a bit more sculpting on the hair and cheeks. That's pretty much it for this week, its been great to see the mantel making progress and keep everything else bubbling along too.