|Project by wuddoc||posted 03-25-2008 04:59 AM||2093 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
The Journey Begins:
The future grandchild, I have been informed, must have for all of five months a sleigh cradle to reside in. Since I have a long lead time of nine months the process begins with locating a sleigh cradle picture, and I found one. I start all my projects with the least expensive wood based materials I am able to locate since I will build a prototype first.
I used a scaling method on the picture since the overall height, width, and length are displayed in most catalogs. A little investigation on mattress sizes and federal regulations concerning children’s furniture allowed me to conclude the research process.
I did a full scale drawing on white butcher paper, cut it out and fastened it to the wall to get a sense of size and proportion. Do not be fooled with a drawing on a flat sheet of paper that looks pleasing to the eye. When it becomes three dimensional the whole look will change. I just try for what I call, “the balance”.
The first picture of the legs tells only a small portion of the story. I have to date created 10 different legs with a variety of curves, thickness, and height between curves. I am a great believer that each person knows what is inherently pleasing to the eye. The change of 1/4” in a curve may achieve not only a monumental look but imprint the look for decades to come. When you see the red curving ribbon on the side of a truck you may immediately think of a famous beverage. That’s imprinting which leads to branding, to me that is another word for remembering. I do want the cradle to be remembered and past on for generations to come.
With the legs I wanted the top sweeping curve to resemble a swans neck. Once I had the legs shaped I began the cradle sides. This does not necessarily mean the entire cradle part sizes are built around the selected leg(s). Once I get the sides, ends, and rockers in place the entire cradle may look out of balance, out of proportion, and just not pleasing to the eye.
Then it will be back to the drawing board, so to speak, to add here and take away there until the overall cradle looks pleasing to the eye. The prototype cradle then will be built in it’s entirety and finished. During this stage patterns and fixtures will be created and use to produce the African cherry wood parts with the minimum of mistakes.
While all this was going on I started looking for a species of wood based on size, color, and grain (character). I found some nice 8/4 African Cherry. Since I know I have to do a infants rocker based on an elephant and a high chair I guesstimated all the part sizes and laid them out on a sheet of butcher paper. Now I had an idea concerning the amount of wood I needed to order from the importer.
Soon I will resaw a piece from the African Cherry and use it to create a finish step panel. This allows me to see each finish step I used. My step panels are normally 6” wide by 36” long since I use a variety of finish steps from the raw (white) wood to final wax polishing. If I was combining different species and/or veneers in a project I would glue long edge to long edge all the types of wood material. This would allow me to adjust each step, if the outcome is to be a final uniform color among all the species and veneers in the project.