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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mantle installation

Monday morning started out with a bang. A new hire, Annie, started this morning. When I arrived at the Fox & Hounds Pub she was waiting and eager to start. Our task was to install the routed mantle on the fireplace and finish framing the upper portion of the fireplace feature. There was lots of figuring to be done, coordination with the electrician and other trades. We would be working inside the pub which was operating. We were the entertainment for the day.

Annie knew the tools well and had done carpentry work before, but never anything quite like this. Nothing was straight and we worked without levels or straight edges. Everything was built by eye. She caught on quickly. While I built one side she would follow along on the other, matching my creations. 

The curves were gentle enough that I didn't need to use the heating pad to bend the Precision Board. I had milled the pieces to be 1/2 - 3/4" thick at most and so they took the bends without breaking. We used PB Bond-240 and it held securely in no time. I'll be using the die grinder to tidy up the corners and match the woodgrain as it transitions from the front to the top and bottom. The curved mantle absolutely works with the curved roof above. the wall of the upper fireplace bows out about 6" and the mantle is almost 14" deep. The london roofline above is now almost tied into the bottom portion. and it WORKS!

We were almost done before the electrician turned on the power to the lights and there was instant magic. In the next days we'll staple on the diamond lath and then start in on the carved concrete 'brick work'. By next week it should be looking like the magical fireplace I designed, what now seems like ages ago.

The guests love the family crest and are curious as to the translation of the latin phrase on the front. We happily translated it for them when they asked. The crest is suspended about four inches off the back face of the sunken circle and throws a marvelous shadow while it catches the light in a spectacular fashion. It will look even better when it is painted up and then aged appropriately. I can hardly wait to see it all done!

It was a fun day with lots of progress.