Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fitting the compass rose

Chris has cut out the compass arms and glued the segments together. As a reminder, the light wood is birch, the dark is walnut. Even without any stain or finish on it I think it already looks amazing.

Fitting the pieces
We took a compass reading so that the arms would actually point the correct directions. North is, appropriately, at the top. It makes the compass rose crooked on the landing, but we think it's much cooler than just centering it.
Positioning the rose to point North
Once the rose was positioned, Chris had to start piecing together the floor boards so they'd fit around the arms. I suppose technically this is marquetry rather than inlay since the pieces go all the way through. The North symbol and the copper ring will be inlay as they'll just barely be inset in the wood. At least that's the plan - we've got a lot of practicing to do before we try that for real. The thought of messing this up after all the work that has gone into it is enough to make my stomach hurt.

The floor boards are white oak. We got them from a friend who'd had the wood stored in his basement for the last 30 years (a very dry basement fortunately). He didn't want it anymore and was going to burn it (no!!!!) so we scored a good deal on it. None of them were tongue and grooved however, so Chris used the router to do so.

Each floor board is custom fit to the compass points
It's painstaking work fitting all the pieces together and there has been a bit of cussing when something has to be done over. But it's really coming along much faster than I ever expected. 
Almost finished
I'll be testing different finishes on scrap lumber so we can get the tones just right. The color variations you see from photo to photo are just tricks of the light (taken in daylight, with or without flash, or under the work lamp).

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