Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ive Been really BUSY!

Well Ive been really busy. Im sorry I havent been able to put much on the blog. So I thought i would give an update to any who are reading this...
This Year I Bought my first house. I have been working on it every chance i get. Even at night. LOL. But Im definitly creating a small master piece. I'm transforming my 1950s house into a 1908 Bungalow. Im extremely influenced by Greene & Greene Architects. Who built a bunch of custom homes in Pasadena CA, during the early 20th century...The Greene brothers defined the Arts & Crafts Movement in California. Most notable house is the Gamble House. I recently got to visit the Gamble house in Pasadena as well as see most of the other G&G houses in the nieghborhood. There too much to see...So Im planning another trip soon to do it again. I also drove up to Sacramento to see the John T. Greene well as the Thorsen house in Berkeley. Its my goal to seek out these remaining homes and to see them in person. Most are all Privately owned.. so really I can only see the outside, from the streets. There are a ton books that show the insides..Im building my collection of them.

Anyways. Check out my Photo album of my house progress.

As well as my Gamble House Trip!

Thanks for your patience with me and my posts! I have some interesting stuff coming up sooner then later I promise!

Thanks for reading

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Improper Use of Cyma Recta (Crown Molding)

I see lots of people misuse crown molding. There are 2 ways that people mess up. One major mess up, is that they install it upside down. The other way which is what I'm most intrigued by and guilty of myself is using crown molding in an improper way. Using the wrong crown for the job. These illustrations are from one of my Favorite books "Get Your House Right" This book really has helped me with my details. You will never design the same way after reading it.

There are 2 types of crown molding, Cyma Recta (self terminating) and Cyma Reversa (supportive). How can you tell which one is which? Start by examining the top of the molding. If it points OUT, then its a self terminating molding. If the profile points UP then its a supportive molding. Why is that important? When your designing millwork you want the details to feel like they belong. Drawing the eye upward and out.
The moldings in a build up should showcase that they are fluid and are uninterrupted all the way to the top and have a graceful finish. In this picture, notice how the Entablature on the top feels cut short or missing something. It also looks very odd and is lacking that finish or ending. Almost making it seem like there is no point. Trim work like this is very amateurish in nature, because there is no thought to the classical orders of architecture.

Now look at the Entablature on the bottom. It just feels right, and complete. Notice also on the lower one the bed molding has the chunk or meat at the top so it can look like its holding all the weight of the corona and terminating cyma on top. Look closely at the miter and see that it invites your eyes to continue looking up and out to see the weight and also the delicateness of the finishing fillet at the top. Very attractive!

Here is another example of using the wrong crown. The eye is seeing a heavy beam detail but with that delicate crown holding it up. That just doesn't work aesthetically, because of the smaller profiles and the outward direction the crown is pointing. It draws the eye out and away from the rest of the beam. The details are still going up so you want your molding to be pointing toward the next detail or where the finish line is..that is Up at the ceiling, or top of the entablature. The natural place the eye wants to go.

See this one is much better...The crown is supportive of the next part of the detail..The Beam. Also, at the top of the beam is a self terminating molding (Cyma Recta) which shows your eye the finish. Knowing when, where , and how to use these moldings appropriately is something that all quality finish carpenters should know. Especially if they claim to be attentive to the details. I have been installing moldings for the past 14 years only recently learned this. I have to admit its a humbling experience learning that details that you thought were correct...are actually Very Wrong architecturally speaking!....That is why its important to take the time and study the craft. I have always had an eye for the details and knowing what looks good. . But it wasn't until I read some books like the one I mentioned that explained the reasoning behind the design. There is a reason why something looks good. It really makes a HUGE difference in the end result. You cant just throw moldings together expecting them to look as good as those from the past.

The main Goal for me is to always try to be architecturally correct when I design. For me that means getting the little details right. Granted most people probably wouldn't even care or think about the details like i would. But I feel that in order to be a better finish carpenter, you need to study the craft. Putting together Millwork that looks and feels good requires that you know the reason why you put those moldings together. Look at Historic and classical architecture to get the details right. Its always something I'm working on..and it can be frustrating at times..but the sense of satisfaction I get from caring about the details is truly rewarding...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tool: Makita SP6000k

Recently, we got to use this new track saw from Makita. Journal of Light Construction magazine invited us to share in their review of all the major brands of track saws. Festool was the staple in the industry as far as these tools go. Now 2 other brands Makita and DeWalt have released their own version of track saws (also called Plunge cut saws).

Courtesy of JLC we got to use all 3 major brands in the field as part of their testing. You can read the JLC review of all three brands on their website
Also there is a video on their site that I got to help with showcasing the features found on the Makita.

I do have to say, we really enjoyed the Makita. We used it on our current job to rip 45* miter cuts on some hand fluted pilasters. The Fluting on the Pilasters takes allot of time to make so we cant afford a mess up when we miter and biscuit the sides together. Although we could of made these cuts on the table saw...It just was too sketchy. The cuts get wavy and require more than the usual amount of filling.

One of the best features that I enjoyed was the little tab that fits into a slot on the track. This tab holds the saw onto the track so that it does not fall off or tip over during beveled miter cuts. Here is a picture of that engaged.

The other feature that really was nice was the power this little saw has. Now you cant compare it to your skillsaw...These saws are made for Precision cuts, not rough framing. Mostly what you would use a saw like this for is for taking down sheet goods. Or like in our case a really long 45* rips.

Dust collection is just AMAZING! Hook a little vac with an auto switch and you can collect Nearly 100% of the dust! There is a little poof of dust when you break out of your cut..but its so little, you will hardly notice it!

These tracks saws are really just one of those tools that all finish carpenters should have. They really can get you more accurate cuts than your table saw. But they are NOT a replacement of the table saw. With one of these... 1 man can take down entire full sheets of ply or MDF very fast. The cuts are so clean you can slice your hands on them..especially the Bevel be careful. Definitely take a look at all the brands and decide what is best for you. I would love to own anyone of them..but my favorite is the Makita

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Classic Home Styles

If you own a historical Home...then Im sure you already know what a treasure it really is. I have to say that I'm in love with historical architecture. I would say that my favorite style by far is the craftsman bungalow. I really can't decide what variant of craftsman I like the best...There are so many out of the "Arts and Crafts" era. Of course the most notable Greene & Greene style homes like the Gamble house in Pasadena CA is really a woodworkers paradise.

When it comes to designing interior details of these homes...Its really important that one consider the style of the home. Of course within reason. You cant get "historically accurate" in every part, especially when it comes to Modern conveniences. But when it comes to doors, windows and the mill work...Its best to follow the plan of the house. What I mean is... you have a craftsman style home? Do craftsman details. Have a Victorian? Do the house a favor and keep the Victorian woodwork flair. Get the Idea?

I have seen way to many homes that try to be something they are not! like a very colonial home trying to be Mediterranean, because the owners love that look...Well what your doing is destroying a beautiful home. Also making it an eye sore for potential buyers in the future.
Also when restoring or improving a certain part of the home...Use quality materials. For instance DO NOT replace original hardwood floors with Pergo, or for that matter ANY of the floors from Home Depot (HD). Come on, now...Your house was built with Old growth lumber that doesn't even exist anymore, and your putting pergo floors in there??? LOL If you cant refinish the original floor, you can find some engineered products that will work (talk to a good flooring guy) or save up and put Real wood floors back. It really makes all the difference in the world to these homes. Especially in value down the road.

When you go into these homes that are "Style Accurate" they just feel right! Nothing sticks out, looking like its out of place. Also the warm inviting details have a sense of completeness or rightness about them. There is plenty of variants within the main style category. So picking out details can be really fun and enjoyable. I would think that most who buy historical homes buy them for the style.

Moldings often times (along with Paint colors) dictate a particular style. Or compliment the bones of the house. From the front facade down to the little details in the fireplace mantels, you can design details that bring fluidity and harmony to the entire home.
For some Ideas on how to do this check out my links to some cool sites that showcase classic details. Perhaps you can find something that will work in your home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My First Post

Welcome to my new blog. I wanted to start one up that focused on my Interior Molding and Trim Details. I'm a finish carpenter with 14 years experience. I am very passionate about Architectural Details and the craftsmanship it takes to bring to life those details. This blog with be a place where I can share ideas, concept designs, and current or past projects that I have done.
I will post pictures, and Video (eventually) and link to cool sites or recommend a cool book to check out. Also look for posts that share cool techniques and tools that I use. Everything I share in this blog is strictly my own opinion or way of doing things. I'm also very open to learning new and better ways to achieve the best results. Also for the record I'm not sponsored by ANY tool company. So any excitement expressed by me about any said tools is purely from my own professional opinion. I am new to blogging so I hope this works out well. We will see I guess.

Thank you!