|Project by Woodchuck4||posted 03-26-2015 03:00 AM||2067 views||5 times favorited||23 comments|
So, it all started when we were getting ready to have our 2nd kiddo. The nursery and master bedroom are the only two rooms downstairs; all the other bedrooms are upstairs. The other thing that was upstairs was four giant cut outs that are roughly 4ft x 4ft each. The problem was they overlooked (aka open) to the downstairs which means it would be very easy for a two year old to climb up and well…you get what comes next.
The wife then gave me a to-do list. 1) had to keep the kids safe, and 2) It had to be purdy. So after some doodling on paper we came up with a design she liked. I then mocked up the design in sketchup.
Then, since i’m still very much an amateur wood worker, I began the process of frying my brain of trying to turn all the measurements of the 1 inch wide pieces into how many boards I needed. Somehow I got it figured out and off to the lumberyard I went. I decided to go with hard maple since it was barely anymore than the poplar and I was getting a tougher wood.
I decided everywhere a stick met a square that I would connect them together with a bridle joint in an attempt to add more strength. MANY MANY cuts, and 288 miters later I had all the squares and sticks cut.
20 small squares
16 large squares (sitting on a banquette that I’ve yet to finish :-/)
I glued and cross nailed all the miters and bridle joints to create 4 “panels”. I created all 4 panels to the dimensions of the largest opening. Of course each wall cut out was a different size and not arch was symmetrical.
Once the panels were glued up I cut out the frames and arches that go around the square grid. I then assembled the panels and the front/back frames and put them in the cut outs to set up to ensure they would set up to the size of the cut out (and how out of square they were).
A picture of the bridle joints.
I notched out the two frames to go around the outer sticks so when it was painted it would look like they were one with the frame.
Once they were glued up I was able to pop them in and out as I wanted. After a TON of sanding (because I wanted the bridle joints to disappear once painted) I was ready to paint. Well, after wasting a half of gallon of paint I realized that using a paint sprayer was not going to work. 5” spray pattern and 1” sticks/squares means this guy was left to hand painting. So I hand painted and did a final “mist” coat to give it a nice smooth finish. I then popped them back into their holes and attached them to the cutout with 3” screws (2 per side) into the studs. Finally a little chaulk and touch up paint and you have what you see before you.
I know this is a long post, but I hope that it was an enjoyable read. This was one of the more complex (joint, math, finishing) that I’ve done to date.
-- Nathan, Fort Worth TX