Here is a list of the materials and tools we used:
- Drill press
- Biscuit joiner
- Table saw
- Mitre saw
- Crown Stapler
- Scribes, pencils
- Tape measure
- Panel saw
- Pin nailer
- 1" thick x 8" wide x 96" long smooth oak plank
- various types of trim
- various clock parts
- wood glue
- 1 1/4" crown staples
- #20 biscuits
- MoldStar 30 Silicone
- SmoothCast 325 Resin
Step 1: Sketching
The sketch with the red arrows was to show our client the actual parts that we selected from a manufacturer, to get approved.
Step 2: Cut the Six Sides
Next, we calculated that for six sides we would need each piece to be cut 6" wide with an angle of 60o. I set my table saw to 30o (30o + 60o = 90o) and ran the pieces through. Now they should all fit together to make a hexagon.
Step 3: Joining Biscuits
To make sure that the slots line up I've used a scribe and marked a line on each piece, three inches from both ends.
My oak wood planks are thick enough that I can use the largest standard biscuit, a #20. Once it's time for glue up I will likely put painters tape on the outside surface to catch any glue that squeezes through.
Step 4: Mold-making (casting the Antique Details)
There is a great shop here in Toronto called Sculpture Supply Canada; they advised us to use the Smooth On product Mold Max 30. Because the frame is quite thin, Tina added a 1/8" layer of red wax to the back. The wax raises the frame 1/8" above the clay bed inside the plywood frame; this will create a deeper cavity in the silicone mold.
We don't own a vacuum chamber so we're hoping that the Mold Max 30 doesn't get too many bubbles trapped in it when it is curing.
Step 5: Making Fake Porcelain
In the photo below the thing that looks like a toilet seat is actually a small plastic bathroom mirror that I got at the dollar store. I leveled it on the 2x4s, sprayed it with mold release and then poured Hydrocal 50 on top of it. My hope is that I can pop out the hardened Hydrocal, sand it with emery paper and then treat is with a topcoat.
Step 6: Router Your Wood!
Now, I read that during glue-up you can put painter's tape on the face of your project to catch any glue that squeezes out. I've decided to try it here. As you can see in the photo with the biscuit I may have used too much glue. What I found is that the tape got in the way of me seeing what the seam looked like. I decided not to use the tape method with the rest of the joins and to just clean up the glue as it squeezed out. I'm going to sand it all down in the end so I'm not too concerned about the glue.
The seams were not as nice as I would have liked them to be. Using oak I found the crown staples didn't pull the wood together the same way it does with softer wood like pine and spruce. I've had to put ratchet straps around the piece to help squeeze it tightly together.
I was quite happy with the lunar phase graphic Tina made on Illustrator - we took it to a shop to get etched on sheet brass. Sadly we had to cut the lunar phase disc in half in order to make it fit; we had it laserjet cut before we had the other measurements so we made it too big. I had to very carefully drill very tiny holes in the face place - any hard pressure and the brass would kink.
Step 7: Trim and Stain
Once it was ready I hit it with a dark maple wood stain. Tomorrow I'll start throwing varnish on it.
Step 8: Scenic Painting the Resin Cast Details
First Tina will clean of any bubbles and mistakes with a dremel (she sands them on a super special sanding vacuum box!!) then she sands the backs of each frame flat on a belt sander. While that's getting done I am spray painting the dome and the other details. Tina then starts to apply various paints to the resin frames to make them look like the original brass frame.
I glued two small wood finials together to make one super one. Then it gets spray painted to make it look like metal.
Step 9: Final Details