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November 19, 2017

Archives for June 2011

Front Doors of Florence Italy

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” …Christopher Reeves (1952-2004) Actor, director, and producer.

Front Doors of Florence Italy 1

 

Front Doors of Florence Italy

 

The Front doors of Florence Italy simply caught the attention of the woodworker and carpenter in me. Fortunately, my camera captured these images to share with you.

Front doors can say a lot about a residence and the resident as well. The first photograph reveals a section of a massive front door that could quite possibly date back to the 14th or 15th century. What catches your eye in this image? Is it the number of metal studs that creates a unique design on the stiles, rails, and panels? Could it be the the mitered mortise and tenon joints where the rails meets the stiles? There is a lot for a woodworker to discover in this photo. Notice how the left stile varies from the right side stile. There a vertical line on the left stile underneath the latch meaning a wood strip was added to the exterior door at some point in time.

When looking at the right side rail, notice how it is made with two pieces of wood to give the rail its full width. The lower strip of the rail is cut at a width to coincide with the long point of the mitered joint. We can readily see that the left wood door rail is made from one piece of timber.

The Front doors have wrought iron hardware. Look how the door bolt fits thru five metal rings to secure the entry doors. The door bolt handle is flat so that the bolt can be turned and slid thru the rings. Here we can see how a carpenter used chisels or gouges on the door stiles and mouldings to allow clearance for the door bolt to pass thru the metal rings. There is also a wrought iron door pull to open this massive door. If we look closely it appears that there is a star shaped metal escutcheon between the door pull and the doors panel. Plus, we can also see where the keyhole is along with another smaller hole. Just imagine what the hardware would be on the interior side of the front doors.

The moulding of the front doors was obviously crafted by hand and has mitered joints at the corners. Can you imagine creating a door like this back in the 14th or 15th century. Imagine the tools that woodworkers and carpenters were using. What type of measuring devices did they use? (I don’t think they had tape measures back then.) What type of saws were used back then to cut these timbers? What type of hand planes and moulding planes were used? What type of drill was used to create all the holes for the metal studs? Needless to say, the men who built these front doors way back when were great mechanics and highly talented craftsmen. I would have loved to see them hanging and fitting these front doors as the doors are still functional after all these years.

 

Front Doors of Florence ItalyThe front doors of Florence Italy in this photo appear much newer than the previous image. However, we can see similarities in the usage of the metal studs which pierce and decorate the doors. There are many panels in this door which also adds to the overall design. Take a look at the location of the key entry. This is about 32-36 inches above the ground and this clue will give us an idea of the overall height and width of the front doors. Also, we can see the four heavy duty hinges on each side of the doors. Needless to say, these hinges are supporting a lot of weight when we take into consideration the amount of wood and the number of metal studs being held.

 

There is something incredibly unique about these front doors pictured. Can you see it? These are actually bi-fold doors. There are four vertical sections. There are hinges on the backside of the doors that allow for the doors to fold. If we look at the bottoms of the doors, we will notice four individual pieces of wood that allow for the folding of the the four vertical sections of the doors. Again, this is another wonderful example of fine woodworking skills and advanced carpentry craftsmanship.

 

Feel free to share your thoughts, insights, and questions.

Recommended Articles:

Custom Inlay Designs for Arts and Crafts Woodworking

Woodworking Ideas & Patterns from Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo

Decorative Woodworking Patterns of Architectural Millwork & Custom Moulding

 

Woodworking Power Tools


 

 

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Band Saw Woodworking Safety Tips

“The way we communicate with others and ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”
Anthony Robbins…(1960- ) American self help author and success coach.

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Band Saw Woodworking Safety Tips

 

Learn two Band Saw Woodworking Safety Tips to make your band saw woodworking safer, more productive, and more enjoyable. Work confidently. Work with safety

Band Saw woodworking safety is often overlooked. In this article we will focus on two simple band saw woodworking safety tips for the band saw that can make a big difference for us in the long run. However, do not underestimate the importance of these safety tips. Many accidents on the band saw could easily be prevented if the following safety tips were followed.

Band Saw woodworking safety tips

Push sticks…use them.

Push sticks come in all shapes and sizes. They can easily be purchased online or they can be made out of scrap material in the woodworking shop. It’s always good to have a variety of push sticks available for different situations. Push sticks provide the woodworker with a greater margin of control over the workpiece as well as keeping one’s fingers and hands away from the band saw blade.
In the photos we can see a simple push stick that is made from scrap plywood. This push stick can easily be made on the band saw in just a few minutes. Yet, it can serve the woodworker for a long time. Notice how this push stick lays horizontally on the band saw table. There is a notch in the push stick that can push the material thru the band saw blade. However, the push stick has plenty of width where one’s hand can confidently control the cutting action of the workpiece. The material needs to be pressed alongside the clamped fence while being propelled forward. Obviously, it would be too risky to attempt this type of a cut without the aid of a push stick.

Band saw woodworking safety tips 2

Roller Bearing Guides…adjust them properly.

Proper adjustment of the band saw roller bearing guide assembly is often overlooked by woodworkers. Too many times woodworkers leave the guide assembly high above the workpiece and this is an invitation for disaster. Yet, how many times do we see woodworkers making cuts on the band saw while the bearing guide assembly is high above the workpiece?  There is just too much band saw band exposed and one mistake could be quite regrettable. It’s not an error that we want to make. It only takes a few seconds to prevent an accident like this. (A major woodworking magazine recently had a photo on its front cover with the band saw bearing guide high above the workpiece. )

Band saw woodworking safety tips 3

What is a good distance between the roller bearing guide assembly and the workpiece? As we can see in the above photos there is a space of about 1/2″.  This way the work can easily be seen and there is a minimum of band saw blade exposed. The answer to the question may vary according to the thickness or height of the material being cut. For example, if a thin veneer is being ripped, it would be a good idea to have the guide assembly even closer to the material. The important thing to remember is to use good common sense. Make these band saw woodworking safety tips a habit. Working safely allows for working with confidence. It’s a good practice.

Recommended Videos & Articles:

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

How to adjust for Band Saw Drift

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Custom Inlay Designs for Arts and Crafts Woodworking

“Some old things are lovely, warm still with life … of the forgotten men who made them.”
D.H. Lawrence…(1885-1930) English novelist, poet, essayist.

Custom Inlay Designs for Arts and Crafts Woodworking

Custom Inlay Designs

Custom inlay designs are found throughout the facade of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (Duomo) in Florence, Italy. As a woodworker who enjoys creating various forms of wood inlay, I felt the urgency to capture the custom inlay designs that this spectacular church offers. The photograph clearly reveals a well thought out and  beautifully balanced marble inlay pattern.  The contrasting marble colors and varying geometric shapes invite one eye’s to pan across the design to understand the simple complexities of this elegant inlay border. As a trained woodworker, I find myself also listening to the thoughts of the skilled craftsmen who created these custom inlay designs back in the 1870’s. Perhaps these artisans were somehow inspired by other men such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo who had lived in Florence centuries ago.

Custom inlay designs such as this example reveal years of training and experience. As much as I enjoy the finished product, I would have loved to have witnessed seeing the various colors of marble as they were pulled from their quarries. Moreover, it would have been a joy to see how the apprentices worked alongside the journeyman while learning the craft. One can only imagine how the individual pieces of inlay were cut and fit. As we can see in the photo, all inlays were cut precisely for perfectly tight fitting joints.

 

Arts and Crafts Woodworking

Arts and crafts woodworking draws from countless ideas and influences from the past. For example, we can see how a woodworker named Gustav Stickley was influenced by the British arts and crafts movement while he visited England. It was this exposure to the English crafts movement that fired Stickley’s imagination. Obviously, we as woodworkers draw inspirations and influences from woodworking magazines, woodworking forums, and numerous books on the craft. However, if we keep our eyes and ears open as Gustav Stickley did, we can find woodworking ideas and inspirations where we least expect it.

Custom inlay designs on the facade of the Santa Maria del Fiore send a convincing message of pride in craftsmanship. Decorative inlays such as this example take plenty of time and patience. Yet it requires more than that to do a job like this well. It takes love of the craft. It is more than likely that the best marble inlay craftsmen in Florence were working on this project. Keep in mind that this is the face of the Cathedral and at eye level where every detail can be viewed and appreciated well beyond the lifetime of the craftsman.

Arts and Crafts woodworking in my shop takes on a new meaning after visiting Italy. My thoughts and ideas for wood inlay have shed their old limitations. I now look forward with enthusiasm to creating new hardwood inlays based upon the custom inlay designs from the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo. Without a doubt, I’ll be listening for inlay advice from the men who worked the craft from years gone by.

Recommended Videos:

Let’s install Wood Inlay Bandings
Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw
Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw
Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter Sled


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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