Friday, 27 September 2013

Turnips of Destiny Reach Their Destination

It's embarrassing to admit that it has been over a year since I made this post about a couple of finials I made to top the gate posts outside our house.  Finally though I have them in place.

Because the finials were a little smaller in diameter than the width of the posts I needed to taper the tops of the posts so they wouldn't look silly.  A straight taper wouldn't look right either, and that would have been too easy.

The round tenons at the bases of the finials are 1" in diameter.  I allowed 1/4" on either side. which made the top 1 1/2" wide.  since the posts are 3 1/2" wide, that left 1" on either side for the taper.  With the width set I picked 6" for the height, made a grid, and used my French curves to sketch a few profiles.

It quickly became clear that 6" was too tall and 4" was too short. 

After trying a few different curves I chose the last one on the right. The next step was to cut a piece of cardboard from the side of a cereal box and fold it in half.  Then I glued my curve to one side and cut along the curve. I left tabs at the top and glued them so they were at 90 degrees to each other to make my template.

I cut the posts off at 7" above the top of the fence and then used the template to mark the curves.

Here is the post after the first cut with the coping saw.  A coping saw is not really the right tool for this job, and I hate my coping saw to begin with.  Over the course of the next seven cuts I broke 2 blades.  Did I mention that I hate my coping saw?

I smoothed the surfaces with a Microplane rasp and sandpaper, then drilled 1" holes in the tops of the posts.  I glued in the finials and finished the job with white stain.  Now if you come to visit these posts will welcome you to our house.