It is hard to believe that it was only seven years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research I quickly found out that with the relative simplicity of EnRoute, CNC routers were capable of just about anything imaginable. This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as we continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful software... -dan

Friday, September 9, 2011

Key piece installed

Today I had my heart set on finishing the outside concrete work. But when we arrived at the site the plasterers had staked out the territory for their work. I wasn't about to work under them. So we instead worked on the archway we had started last week. I showed how I built the routing file for the keystone with the letter 'D'.

The concrete work is started at the top, with new concrete gingerly hung from the previously applied mud. It takes practice to lay on a heavy coat of wet concrete without a whole bunch hitting the floor from time to time. It took about two hours to lay on the Mud. It was Hailey's first time mixing and she did a great job! We had time for some delicious pub food before we began the carving process. We started on the top on the oldest concrete. laying out the lines for the brickwork freehand and then carving in the grooves. Like all the other brickwork we had done it flowed in sweeping lines instead of being deadly straight as is most traditional brickwork. Carving is a slower process than applying the concrete - especially once the chemical reaction kicks. With the warm temperatures of today it was a race against time to get it done. At the end both Hailey and Sarah were helping me to carve in the details. 

I'll still do a little detail work on the keystone, filling in the seam lines and mounting screw holes and evening out the texture with the die grinder. Then we'll apply some base coats of paint. But before the glazes go on it is time to work some more sculpting magic. Two or three knarly grape vines will wind their way around the old worn bricks, looking like they have grown there for many decades. These will be sculpted over a welded steel armature to make them plenty strong. Then we'll paint the vines and glaze and age everything so it looks as old as the pub we are crafting. All of it is working hard to tell our story.