Sunday, September 29, 2013

77, Front Door, part 8, Modillions.

The 'Modillions', the carved brackets sitting on the capitals, supporting the 'Corona', ultimately proved to be one of the biggest sources of frustration on the project. I had left them till last, partly because they were in the 'too hard' basket and partly because they would need to be made to fit in the remaining gap.
Early in the piece, I had selected some bits of Jarrah, from which to shape them. I had cut the rough profile out on the bandsaw and had them sitting around in my way for some time, before final dimensions could be ascertained.

The plan was to emulate the foliage pattern on the originals on the 'Foynes' frame. It was quite pleasing to the eye and looked relatively easy to carve. As I was to learn, appearances can be deceiving.

I rounded up my old 'budget' set of carving chisels, which were scattered around the limestone cutting shed. The kids, before discovering computers, had been using them to shape some of my offcuts. Having been left in the open sided shed, they had grown a fair amount of surface rust, which took some work to remove, before they could be resharpened.
To say I was a bit disappointed with my initial results would be quite an understatement. After many hours of shaping and reshaping, the above picture shows the result. I could only describe it as looking like tongues, sitting on some 'pointy bits'!.
I conceded defeat and opted to get someone else, skilled in this field, to make them for me. Over the following week or so, many hours were then spent on the phone, talking to all my local contacts and clubs, attempting to find someone willing. My efforts proved futile, all the known woodcarvers in the area, bar one, were not interested in doing commission work, it was all only for hobby. The one exception, unfortunately, was on the verge of heading overseas. He was willing to assist on his return, but that was to be a couple of months away.
Much advice was also received, suggesting I search the demolition yards in an effort to locate "something suitable". This I felt would be a waste of time and didn't even bother, given the profile required and the need for them to be the correct size.
As the brackets were all that was needed to complete the frame, ready for painting, it was back to me to complete them. I was able to obtain some guidance from one of the more notable Geelong woodcarvers. His two main recommendations were; "Get some better carving timber" and "Get some better chisels"!, so these I done!.
I sourced a piece of Jelatong from which I cut the blanks and paid a visit to Carba-tec, where I parted with a couple of hundred dollars and departed with a small selection of Pfiel chisels!.

A decision was also made to individualise the carving with something a bit more recognisable. The obvious choice, given the motif on the door, was the Oak leaves. I shrank them to a suitable size and layered them sufficiently to fill the space. The inside of the cove, although lightly carved on the originals, I opted to leave plain, for reasons I'll mention in a later post!.

After much deliberation and consultation, I chose to follow on with the Oak theme and the relief carving on the sides contained a pair of acorns. More complex and detailed designs were toyed with, but I felt they would look too busy. Too much detail would be superfluous anyway, as it would tend to be flattened with the paint.

Completion of the Modillions took a quite a while to achieve. I had to force myself to find time to work on them, being rather lethargic after not being being able to farm this project out. It was a huge relief when they were done. Although being rather insignificant, they proved to be the most difficult part of the frame.
For extra insurance and piece of mind, I gave them a good soaking in some timber preservative, as Jelatong does not have a good durability rating.
With their placement, the colouring in could start!....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, the carving is beautiful. You must be rapt at how it turned out in the end. Really nice work!