Monday, January 2, 2017

Interior work in the chapel


This is going to be long because I'm just going to get it over with in one post :-)  Now that you've seen the design, here is an update on my construction progress in the chapel (as always, you can click on any pic to enlarge). The first item I needed to get out of the way was a trim piece for the circular window. I built a simple circle-cutting jig for my router and cut this out of 1/2" sanded plywood. Fortunately I only needed one try to get this right (which is a rarity for me when doing something new).

Here's the window trim installed, and the backing for the entablature (area on top of the columns).

Getting the entablature area square took a lot of planing...

Next began the laborious process of creating the woodwork that would go all the way around the chapel, which consists of 11 separate layers. There's other ways this could be constructed but this was my design in order to get the layers as close to stock thicknesses of wood (poplar for nine of the 11 layers) and minimize complicated cuts and routing on each layer. 

I started the construction from the thin strip that forms the bottom layer, which I needed to ensure was level all the way around the chapel. 

Layer 2 involved five passes with different router bits to create the right profile:

Layer 3 also involve routing as well as gluing and stapling a thinner strip to the larger board:

Layers 4, 5, and 6 are fairly straightforward rectangular pieces (layer 4 I did in poplar and layers 5 and 6 in plywood since they can't be seen).

Next layers 7 and 8:

Layer 9 (more routing, with helpers :-):

And then there was the bane of my existence, layer 10. I dreaded it for a long time :-)  It's a cove like I used on the door trim and involves a lot of set-up and precision to get it right, much less repeatably right across many boards. Not to mention a lot of time and effort to create and a mountain of sawdust clean-up. Here's the process:

Glue-up boards:

Trim edges:

Cut ends to square:

Set up the angular cut across the table-saw blade (set-up shown below next to the finished product). Need to get the angle right in order to get the right height and width of the cove. Each board involves about 30 passes over the blade, raising the blade 1/32" each time. 

Now cut down the middle to create two halves:

Final trimming:

Some of the finished product after hand sanding:


I left layer 11, the "dentils," for last because it involves dozens of small pieces which I could pre-cut and install over the winter after closing down my garage shop. 

Buckets O' Dentils:

But I really wanted to finish the details on the entablature before Christmas, which I am happy to say that I was able to do. This involved creation of some detail pieces and installing some of the dentils.

Ta da!:

Remember this image from my 3D model?

It's definitely coming together! Progress!

Some of you may be wondering, "When does he do all this stuff?" To which I have two answers: 1) Late at night, 2) There's a reason it was almost 18 months between posts on this blog. It's a long, slow process. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Chapel interior design


For the chapel interior we definitely wanted something timeless and classically-based. The first thought was to hire a classical architect or church architect but there's a couple disadvantages with that: 1) It's likely to be outside of our budget, and 2) Even if designed by someone else, there would be the task of translating that design to something that I could try to make or hiring someone else to install ($$$$!). In the end, better to try to design and construct it myself so that we save money, take our time, and if it doesn't turn out OK I'll have no one to blame but myself :-)

One of the best thing about Classical design is that there are so many resources online, including detailed dimensioned drawings. Once I start with a style or order, and I have the height of the wall I'm working with, everything else is related to that height. Here's some of the specific drawings that helped me:

Next step, translate these details into designs and dimensions for our chapel. This includes not just the final form of everything, but each step on how it could be constructed. Here was a spreadsheet I used to figure out how to construct the entablature:

Eventually I modeled everything in SketchUp. This helps avoid major errors because I modeled every step I would need to do and had to solve numerous problems that would have been awful to deal with in reality. 

Anyway, here's pics of the (mostly) final design! I will be tweaking a few things yet by the altar, but everything else is final. You can click any of these to enlarge. 

Here is a front view, with places noted for statues and a crucifix:

Here's a 3D modeled view. There will be rope lighting up above all the way around. 

A side view:

A view looking at the back:

A 3D closer view of the altar, which will be walnut. The altar follows the highest Composite Order in design:

And a view looking up from the altar:

We will also have pendant lights (shown white below) and a speaker system (purple rectangles below) in the rear of the chapel:

The model above I actually needed during the structure construction so that the lights could be properly located in the ceiling, we could properly locate all the outlets up above for the rope lighting, and locate the speaker wire in the rear wall for the speakers. 

Next post I'll show the interior construction progress up to today.